Istanbul Islamic History Tours
Istanbul Islamic History Tours – Ottoman Empire Mosques, Tombs to Visit
Turks met Islamic religion in 8th century due to battles between Arabs and Turkish clans In Central Asia. They embraced Islam in the following centuries. Turkish clans established many states in Central Asia, and had lived there for centuries. Some Turcoman Clans started to immigrate to west afterwards.
Turkish Islamic History In Seljuk Empire Period
Turkish tribes which immigrated from Central Asia to the West in 11th Century founded a militarily strong, culturally developed and religiously tolerant state in Iran’s Isfahan city.
Known as Great Seljuk Empire, this state was declared the protector of Islam by Abbasid caliphate who was living in Baghdad and it ruled over the holy lands. They became the neighbors of Byzantine Empire.
The first mosques built in what is known as Turkey today date back to 11th century. Seljuk Turks having won the Battle of Manzikent, penetrated into Anatolia. In this period, many mosques were built there. These mosques looked different than the mosques of today. Turks migrating from the Central Asia had an architectural style similar to that of the Mongols. If you want to see miniatures of these mosques, you can visit the open air museum called Miniatürk.
Further reading for Seljuk Empire of Turks
Blue Mosque Also Known As Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Turkish Islamic History In Ottoman Empire Period
Ottoman Empire which ruled after the Seljuks adopted a different architectural style after capturing Istanbul. This new style was heavily influenced by Hagia Sophia. This influence can clearly be seen in the classical structures built between 1501 and 1703. The works of the most important architect of Ottoman Empire, Sinan The Great, give a clear indication of Hagia Sophia style. The clearest distinction of Ottoman mosques is that they are a social complex, not only a place of prayer.
Further reading for the Short History Of The Ottoman Empire
Historic Islamic Sights To Visit In Istanbul 2018
Majority of them are imperial mosques. There are countless numbers of sacred tombs and madrasahs as well.
Architect Sinan Or Mimar Sinan
Architect Sinan (Mimar Sinan) was the greatest architect of Ottoman history. He left magnificent mosques to Istanbul and Turkey. Majority of the must-see mosques are his works.
Sinan embraced the cultural inheritance of Ottoman Empire from Seljuk Turks and devoted himself to a prodigious output of atchitecture. He was involved in the design of mosques, tombs, fountains, hamams, aqueducts and schools.
Istanbul’s world-famous Blue Mosque is built by Sinan’s apprentice, Sedefkar Mehmed Agha.
Further reading for Architect Mimar Sinan
Historical Ottoman Mosques To Visit-See In Istanbul
Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)
It is the most popular and visited mosque in Istanbul. It is known as Blue Mosque due to blue İznik tiles inside. This mosque is definitely included in a must see list of Istanbul for everyone visiting the city. But it is definitely recommended to visit another mosque because Ottoman classical architecture cannot be appreciated well enough due to the crowd inside this mosque.
Further reading for Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Süleymaniye (Sultan Suleiman’s) Mosque
Süleymaniye Mosque is the first mosque that comes to mind in terms of dimensions and glory. Built on a dominant hill in Istanbul, this mosque is built by the greatest architect of Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan for the biggest emperor, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Although the mosque is impressive with its size, it is also fairly modest. It is a calming place with its large gardens and elegant architecture.
Further reading for Sultan Suleyman Mosque
Şehzade (Prince Mehmed) Mosque
This elegant mosque is one of the three most beautiful mosques in my opinion. It is claimed to have been built by Sinan The Great, the famous architect, in the name of Sultan Suleiman. When the crown prince of Suleiman died at the age of 20 due to smallpox, Suleiman buried his son in the garden of this mosque and dedicated this mosque to him. After this event, Mimar Sinan took his art even further for Süleymaniye Mosque.
Fatih (Sultan Mehmed) Mosque
This elegant mosque is located at the heart of Historical Istanbul. It was built in the name of Mehmet the Conqueror who conquered Constantinople for Ottomans. A 15th century building, Fatih Mosque was rebuilt after being damaged by earthquakes. The mosque was built over the foundations of the Church of Holy Apostles, built by Emperor Constantine. It is located on a less touristic areas therefore local life can be observed around the mosque.
Eyüp Sultan (Abu Ayyub al-Ansari) Mosque
Located on the upper reaches of the Golden Horn, Eyüp is the regarded as a holy site; perhaps the holiest after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Eyüp Camii (Eyyub Mosque) is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in the Islamic world. Locals think that Süleymaniye Mosque is glorious, Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) is beautiful but Eyüp Mosque is holy.
Further reading for Istanbul Golden Horn Map & Location
The Turks began to adopt and use calligraphy after they became Muslim. One of the characteristics of early Turkish carpets that spread to the museums all around the world during Seljuks was that Cufic calligraphy was embroidered on the corners of the carpets.
During Ottoman Empire, Turkish calligraphy had its golden days. During Ottoman Empire, some masters lived who dominated Turkish calligraphy.
Further reading for History of Islamic Caligraphy
Istanbul Imperial Ottoman Mosques To Visit
Islamic Heritage Tours With A Private Tour Guide
I recommend you to spend at least three or four days in Istanbul to discover the Istanbul’s diverse Islamic history. It’s recommended to book a private tour guide and have him accompany you through the busy sightseeing. Booking a guide help you manage the time efficiently. Besides you learn the local culture and history accurately.
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Islamic Heritage Tours With A Private Tour Guide Blog Post By Serhat Engul