Mosques and Mosque Complexes in Istanbul

Mosques are places of worship for Muslims. Praying five times a day with special services on Fridays and religious festivals the congregation gathers in the mosque.

As well as being places of worship the mosques fulfill social and educational needs. Playing an important part in the life of an Islamic city, the mosque is also a place to discuss problems, to meet and where religious men give lectures and Quran lessons. Believers encouraged and praised by lslam to build mosques adorned the cities with mosques of varying style and design. Mosques with their graceful minarets rising skyward are the most important feature of the lslamic city’s skyline. In lstanbul, built by state leaders, wealthy benefactors and the people, mosques are often a central part of an Islamic complex.

The “Kulliye” is the complex of buildings around a mosque made-up of school and library, a hospice, fountains providing clean water, shelters for the needy, Turkish baths and soup kitchen for the poor. Shops which bring income to the complex, structures calculating prayer times along with the graveyard make up the complex. And this architectural style is quite unique to lstanbul. It is not obligatory that all these structures are present in a complex.

Studying the Fatih, Beyazit, Sehzade, Suleymaniye and Sultan Ahmed Mosques built by the Sultans we see most of these structures present, providing for the special needs of the people in the area.

Smaller complexes are found in neighborhoods containing only some of the above facilities. Although found in some other towns, the complexes are very much a city planning feature unique to lstanbul. The large complexes were built in the central part of the old city with the city proper developing gradually around these complexes which gave the city much of its character. We will list some of the lstanbul’s mosques below.