The New Mosque or Mosque in the Valide Sultan is surely an Ottoman imperial mosque located in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is found on the Golden Horn at the southern end on the Galata Bridge. It is among the best-known sights of Istanbul.
The construction of the mosque first started in 1597. It was ordered by Safiye Sultan, who had previously been the wife of Sultan Murad III. The first architect was Davut Ağa, an apprentice on the great Mimar Sinan. However, Davut Aga died in 1599 and was replaced by Dalgıç Ahmed Çavuş. The construction took more than half century and was completed by another valide sultan Turhan Hadice. The project was hampered by political disconnect, and it is location and monetary implications created dissent inside the court. The Eminönü neighborhood was the city’s foremost commercial center, and you will find a predominantly Jewish population. In situating the mosque there, Safiye Sultan hoped to give the sphere of Islamic influence in the city, capitalizing on the growing discontent of local and foreign merchants due to the growing power and influence with their Jewish counterparts, which gave the Sultan an easy justification for confiscating their home. However, the vast monetary outlay drew sharp criticism. In particular, the Janissaries resented the growing political power with the Valide Sultan, and believed the mosque to become an unnecessary expenditure. Safiye Sultan was forced to abandon the project upon Mehmet III’s death. The brand new Sultan Ahmed I had no involvement in pursuing the project after Safiye Sultan was relegated on the harem plus the construction was abandoned.
The partially constructed structure fell into ruins and was largely destroyed by way of a fire in 1660. Later that year, the imperial architect Mustafa Ağa suggested that Valide Turhan Hadice, mother of Sultan Mehmet IV, should complete the project being a work of piety. The mosque was finally finished in 1663, and inaugurated in 1665.
The exterior of the mosque itself boasts sixty-six domes and semi domes in the pyramidal arrangement, in addition to two minarets. The leading dome measures thirty-six meters high, and is particularly sustained by four flanking semi-domes. The dome plan on the New Mosque will depend on the earlier Sinan’s Şehzade Mosque and Sedefkar Mehmed Agha’s Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Like with other imperial mosques in Istanbul, the mosque itself is preceded by the monumental courtyard (avlu) on its west side. The courtyard of the New Mosque is 39 meters over a side, bordered on its inner side by way of colonnaded peristyle included in 24 small domes. A classy sadirvan (ablution fountain) stands in the center, but is merely ornamental. The actual ritual purifications are performed with water taps around the south wall in the mosque. The façade with the mosque beneath the porch is decorated with İznik tiles. Stone blocks supplied from the island of Rhodes were used in the making of the mosque.
The within in the mosque is a square 41 meters on them. The central area is based on four large piers that are the main support to the dome. Within the sides and rear in the central area are colonnades of slender marble columns connected by arches in a number of styles. The dome is 17.5 meters in diameter and it has a height of 36 meters. The within space is extended with semi-domes across the east-west axis with the building, with smaller domes above each corner from the nave and in some cases smaller domes above the corners from the galleries.
The northeast corner on the gallery carries a gilded screen, behind which members of the imperial court could attend services. This Royal Loge is connected by way of long elevated passageway to some Royal Pavilion inside the northeast corner of the mosque complex.
The inside of the mosque is decorated with blue, green and white İznik tiles, that happen to be considered somewhat inferior in quality to tiles in earlier imperial mosques. The mihrab is decorated with gilded stalactites and also the mimbar were built with a conical canopy with slender marble columns.
Just like other imperial mosques in Istanbul, the newest Mosque principal purpose is like a kulliye, or complex with adjacent structures to service both religious and cultural needs. The first complex was comprised of the mosque itself, a hospital, primary school, public baths, Türbe, two public fountains as well as a market. For this complex was added a library during the reign of Sultan Ahmet III.
The big L-shaped market survives today since the Egyptian Bazaar (alias the “Spice Bazaar”), a nicely-known Istanbul tourist attraction.
The mausoleum (turbe) props up graves of the Valide Sultan Turhan Hadice, her son Mehmet IV as well as five later sultans (Mustafa II, Ahmet II, Mahmut I, Osman III and Murat V) and various members of the court.
Ongoing restoration and maintenance works are implemented by the Turkish General Directorate of Foundations.