New Mosque (aka Yeni Cami) is located in Eminonu, one of the liveliest districts of Istanbul. Adjacent to Spice Bazaar, the mosque was built in the 1660s as part of the same complex.
Eminonu has been one of the busiest port districts of the city for centuries. For this reason, some of Istanbul’s most famous local restaurants and dessert shops are located here.
Eminonu is also one of the districts where locals shop the most. Since the New Mosque is located in the middle of Eminonu, tens of thousands of people pass through the streets around it every day.
NEW MOSQUE (Yeni Cami) in Istanbul
The construction of the New Mosque (locally known as Yeni Cami) actually started in the 1590s during the reign of Safiye Sultan, one of the most famous Valide Sultans (the Sultan’s mother) of the Ottoman palace.
However, when Safiye Sultan died unexpectedly, the construction of the mosque also stopped. The foundation of the mosque, which remained as it was for half a century, was severely damaged by a fire in the area.
Later, Hatice Turhan Sultan, mother of Mehmed IV, who ruled the Ottoman Empire in the 1660s, decided to complete the mosque. Thus, the structure called New Mosque (Yeni Cami) today was erected.
During the Ottoman period, mosques were designed not only as places of worship, but also as a public center. For this reason, there were many structures around the mosques that would contribute to the daily life of the people living in the surrounding area.
For this purpose, the L-shaped bazaar built next to the mosque stands out as one of the most touristic historical market places in Istanbul today. Known as Egyptian Bazaar by locals and Spice Bazaar among foreigners, this market is next to the mosque.
If you want to spend some more time exploring the surroundings of the mosque, you can also visit the tomb of Valide Turhan Sultan, who we refer to as the founder of the mosque in the upper lines. Next to the Ottoman mosques, there was always the tomb of the person who built it.
New Mosque Opening Hours 2023
New Mosque opening hours are between 09:00 in the morning and 18:30 in the evening. During this time frame, you can visit the building outside of prayer hours.
There are big differences in prayer times in Istanbul between summer and winter seasons, so I recommend that you review the current prayer times before visiting the mosque.
You can find prayer times for mosques on the official page of Religious Affairs. Mosques usually close half an hour before the prayer time and open half an hour after the call to prayer.
For example, if the specified time for the noon prayer (Dhuhr) is 13:00, you can predict that the mosque will be closed between 12:30 and 13:30. I share these hours as an example to give you an idea. Of course, it may change according to the rules of the mosques.
Things to Do around The Mosque
Things to do around New Mosque include visiting the local bazaars, having lunch at traditional restaurants, and exploring the back streets of Eminonu like a local.
1. Spice Bazaar
Spice Bazaar is located very close to New Mosque. Spice Bazaar was the place where spices from Asia were collected through trade routes during the Ottoman period.
Spices would go to Egypt with caravans from India and from there to Istanbul by ship. For this reason, the bazaar is also known as the “Egyptian Bazaar” in the local language.
Spice Bazaar is one of the most popular shopping places in Istanbul today and a place that everyone visits. Here you can buy Turkish delight, saffron, local nuts, tea leaves and of course spices.
2. Hamdi Restaurant
Hamdi Restaurant is a great stopping place for those who come around Eminonu area. If you want to take a lunch break when you get tired of visiting the mosques and bazaars in Eminonu, you can try this place.
Hamdi Restaurant is among the traditional restaurants that I prefer as a local. You can find many varieties of Turkish kebab here, and you can also try the baklava made by the restaurant.
3. Rustem Pasha Mosque
Rustem Pasha Mosque is one of the relatively little-known but most beautiful mosques in Istanbul. The mosque, which houses the most distinguished Iznik tiles from the Ottoman period, was chosen as one of the “100 hidden gems of the world” by Newsweek magazine.
Rustem Pasha Mosque was built by Mimar Sinan, the most prolific architect of the Ottoman Empire. As a person who lived during the peak period of the empire, Mimar Sinan also built the largest mosque in the city, the Suleymaniye Mosque.
4. Grand Post Office
The Grand Post Office is one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Eminonu. Built in the 19th century, this Ottoman work refers to the roots of the Turks from Central Asia.
In the 19th century, Ottoman architecture was rapidly westernizing. Two architects named Vedat Tek and Mimar Kemalettin wanted to reverse this trend by blending Seljuk and Ottoman architecture.
Another example of this architectural style, called the First National Architectural Movement, is the building of the Legacy Ottoman Hotel (located in parallel street). Under this building is also Brew Coffee Works, one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul.
5. Galata Bridge
Galata Bridge connects Eminonu, the seaside transportation hub of the Old City, with Karakoy. After visiting New Mosque and Spice Bazaar, you can cross the bridge to reach Beyoglu district.
Beyoglu’s seaside transportation hub is Karakoy. By going up from Karakoy, you can reach Galata Tower, which is a museum, Istiklal Avenue, which is a lively walking street, and finally Taksim Square.
The New Mosque is one of the must-see places in Istanbul. If you go around Spice Bazaar, I recommend you to visit at least the courtyard of this mosque.
When you want to get away from the crowds while visiting one of the busiest districts of the city such as Eminonu, the courtyard of this mosque will take you to a spiritual atmosphere.
You will be surprised that you can get away from the thousands of people walking around Spice Bazaar with a few steps and reach such an old and fascinating place with its architecture.
Written by Serhat Engul
Leave a Reply