Last week, our photo group had its monthly trek through the Eminönü neighborhood of Süleymaniye, including the mosque of that name. It was very enjoyable and fortunate because it was the one day that wasn’t cold and raining (sunny and nice now but not so last week).
(Good weather is an obvious plus when you are meandering through city streets for 2-3 hours and snapping photos…after all, a blue sky makes a better background than a gray one, at least for this amateur photographer. )
It was an interesting trek. The streets we passed through had a quieter atmosphere. The mosque, as well; although many tourists come to this mosque, it didn’t feel like a tourist hub, something you feel when you visit Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
(The lack of tour guides trying to sign one up for a boat, bus or other kind of tour was not missed.)
Although, the neighborhoods were, in general, quieter than most I have passed through in Istanbul, it still had much life to it. Even in the streets that were lined with crumbling, decaying buildings. I have not seen so many shells of buildings in Istanbul as I did on this trek.
Some background on the Süleymaniye mosque:
It was designed by the respected architect Mimar Sinan by order of Sultan Süleyman, the Magnificent. Completed in 1558 (or 1557?) after almost eight years of construction, its structure – an entire complex – shelters a mosque, medresse, hospital, lunatic asylum, infirmary tombs, a hamam, a market and a primary school (according to http://www.istanbul-istanbul.net/mosques/suleymaniye.htm). We focused on the mosque.
It is a large mosque. Not as big as the Hagia Sophia (originally a church) but still very impressive with a main dome that reaches 53 meters high and has a diameter of 27.5 meters.
Here are some pictures of the mosque and surrounding area…
(Of course, no trek is complete without starting off with Boza from THE Boza spot. Boza is a fermented, bulgar “beverage,” although I use that word loosely since we had to “drink” it with a spoon. Enjoyed the spoonful but not sure I would have been able to finish a full glass.
We ended at a lovely cafe which had a superb view (last four photos) AND a superb cheese-and-sausage-stuffed-phyllo dish that I snarfed down too quickly to find out the name. Sorry about that.
Well, can you blame me? Walking around for 3 hours works up an appetite.
So does blogging. Suppertime.