You can find out our ultimate guide on the most beautiful and impressive mosques in Istanbul to visit and relax. From the world famous Sultanahmet Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque to Ortakoy Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque, the city has plenty to offer for culture and history lovers.
1. Sultanahmet Blue Mosque
The Sultanahmet Blue Mosque is an Ottoman-era historical majestic mosque in Istanbul. It was built between 1609 and 1616 during the reign of Ahmed I. Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah, and a hospice are all located on its Külliye. It is a functioning mosque that also attracts a large number of tourists. One of the top-rated must-see mosques in Istanbul.
The mosque’s interior walls are adorned with hand-painted blue tiles, and at night, the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. It is a unique structure that has brought a new perspective to mosque culture which showcases one of the most successful examples of Turkish-Islamic architecture.
2. Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque
Hagia Sophia, also known as the Church of the Holy Wisdom or the Church of the Divine Wisdom, is an ancient Byzantine church in Istanbul and one of the world’s great greatest architectural works, as well as accepted as the 8th wonder of the world.
Being converted into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmet after Istanbul’s conquest in 1453, it was than converted to a museum in 1935 and finally in 2020 it was declared as a mosque.
3. Suleymaniye Mosque
The Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the most magnificent mosques in Istanbul. The tombs of Suleiman the Magnificent, Hurrem Sultan and Mimar Sinan are in the complex, which makes the site a must-see stop for anyone interested in Ottoman and Islamic history.
The Suleymaniye Mosque was built between 1551 and 1557 by Mimar Sinan, and by the order of Suleiman the Magnificent. More than 3,500 workers worked in the construction of the mosque. This is not just a mosque, but also a social complex with 15 sections and consists of many sections from mausoleums to madrasahs. The acoustics of the mosque is described as “perfect”. One of the most unique mosques in Istanbul.
4. Fatih Mosque
Fatih Mosque is one of the most visited mosques in the Fatih district. Its history dates back to the conquest of Istanbul. When Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul, he say “Build me such a mosque that it would make people forget the magnificence of Hagia Sophia”. And than the Fatih Mosque was built between 1463 and 1470, by the famous architect Mimar Sinan, on one of the high hills of Istanbul. The Mosque and complex was not only a place of worship, but also became one of the important living areas of the city with its hospital, soup kitchen, madrasah, caravanserai, hospital, bazaar and bath.
When the mosque was destroyed in the 1766 earthquake, it was repaired in a very short time by the order of Sultan Mustafa III and took its present form. The oval dome, which is superimposed on 4 thick inner columns and supported by semi-dome on all four sides, is adorned with the decorations of the most valuable calligraphy masters of the period. Again, the Iznik tiles adorning the windows in the porticoes are extremely eye-catching.
5. Ortakoy Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque
Ortakoy Mosque or also called as Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques in the city, as well as a a must-visit place for those who come to Ortakoy. The mosque takes the attention of the visitors with its view overlooking the Bosphorus. One of the most attractive mosques in Istanbul.
The construction of the mosque dates back to 1856 with the order of Sultan Abdulmecid, and has Baroque and Rococo elements in the design. It has managed to preserve its present form with strengthening and restoration works in various periods.
6. Eyup Sultan Mosque
Eyüp Sultan Mosque is an important mosque in the Ottoman world that was built in 1458 after the conquest of Istanbul. It is the first mosque built by the Ottomans in Istanbul. The mosque was built near the Golden Horn in the Eyup district.
7. Camlica Mosque
Camlica Mosque was built in 2019 and it is also the largest mosque complex in the history of the Republic. The number of minarets and length of Camlica Mosque is among the largest mosques in Turkey.
Camlica Mosque was built on a large area of 15 thousand square meters, with a capacity of 37 thousand 500 people, 10 thousand of which are in the closed and 5 thousand in the open courtyard. It has neoclassical architectural shape style.
8. Yildiz Mosque
Yildiz Hamidiye Mosque is also one of the most beautiful mosques in the city located in the Besiktas district. The mosque has orientalist and neo-gothic elements. The clock tower from 1890s in the northwest corner of the Mosque’ courtyard, is also a great sight.
Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque is not only the last example of its kind of architecture, but also the last of the Ottoman selatin mosques. Selatin mosques are the name given to the mosques built by the sultans during the Ottoman Empire.
9. Dolmabahce Mosque
Dolmabahçe Mosque is a beautiful mosque that its construction was started by Bezmialem Valide Sultan, the mother of Sultan Abdülmecit, and completed by Sultan Abdülmecit upon her death. While many mosques in the city were built by Mimar Sinan, this mosque was built by a foreign architect. The mosque is located on the opposite the gate of the Dolmabahce Palace, by the seaside between Besiktas and Kabatas coast.
The mosque has a very interesting architectural structure and style blending Ottoman and western architecture. It has round window and peacock tail-like shape, which is not uncommon in Ottoman architecture.
10. Little Hagia Sophia (Kucuk Ayasofya) Mosque
The Little Hagia Sophia Mosque is significant because it is one of Istanbul’s earliest places of worship, dating back to the Roman era. The structure is shaped like an almost square asymmetric rectangle.
The main dome, which encompasses the top of the columns arranged in an octagon in the rectangular construction, is supported by four half arches and four half domes, which increase the internal area of the structure. This semi-dome form, which was employed for the first time, gave greater breadth in the interior, and the transfer of weight from the massive domes to the semi-domes on the side allowed for more giant main domes. You may feel it is more significant than it actually is once you’re inside.
11. Rustem Pasha Mosque
Rüstem Pasha Mosque is located in the Eminonu neighborhood, was built built by Mimar Sinan, a place of worship that was opened for use in 1564 and today challenges almost 500 years of history.
The mosque was built with the order of Mihrimah Sultan, the daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent, for her husband Damat Rustem Pasha and was named after. The mosque has a unique dome with 24 windows, is supported by an eight-cornered elephant foot.
12. Mihrimah Sultan Mosque
Named after Mihrimah Sultan, the daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent, the mosque is an impressive one located in the center of Uskudar neighborhood, on the Asian side of Istanbul. The mosque is one of the most popular architectural works of Mimar Sinan, and was built between 1562 and 1565.
Built in a unique structure, the mosque is surrounded by an impressive dome 37 meters high and 20 meters in diameter.