Mimar Sinan designed this mosque in 1571 at the height of his architectural career. Besides its architectural harmony, the mosque is unusual because the medrese (seminary) is not a separate building but part of the mosque structure, built around the forecourt. The interior walls and mimber (pulpit) are decorated with spectacular red-and-blue İznik tiles – some of the best ever made.
Though named after the grand vizier of the time, the mosque was actually sponsored by his wife Esmahan, daughter of Sultan Selim II. Inside are four fragments from the sacred Black Stone in the Kaaba at Mecca: one above the entrance framed in gold, two in the mimber and one in the mihrab.