Edirne - Selimiye Mosque

Selimiye Mosque

The mosque, built between 1569 and 1574 for Sultan Selim II (1566-1574), is a supreme masterpiece of Ottoman religious architecture. Its architect, Sinan, himself considered it to be his work greatest work. The Selimiye Mosque with its octagonal plan is the highest attainment of Turkish-Islamic mosque design.

The mosque, towering over the city from a hill in the center, is marvellous with its 70-meter-high minarets. Evliya Çelebi describes the splendid view as “What is amazing is that whichever four main roads in four main directions is chosen to enter the city, only two of its four minarets and six of its twelve şerefes are seen. Yet, in the city center, because of the twisty streets you can catch the full view. It is a foremost edifice with no parallel and cannot be imitated at all. Whoever sees it cannot help expressing their appreciation.

The mosque consists of a praying hall with eight pillars, a courtyard with its arcades of pillars, four tall minarets, and a small cemetery. The mosque, built in perfect proportion, has delicacy and aesthetics even in the smallest detail. It is of particular interest with its stone masonry and tiles. Its walls are hewn stone. The front yard with an embellished door is surrounded by the arcades of 16 pillars with 18 domes. On the walls of the mihrab and mahfel and the embellishments on the front over the downstairs windows are flower patterns. The library, to the right of the mihrab, has a plaster chiseled ceiling. In the library are valuable manuscripts and printed books.

The harmony and delicacy of its embellishment and architecture prove the architectural and artistic attainment of its time. The architect Sinan, himself, states in some documents that he surpassed the dimension of the dome of St. Sophia with the Selimiye mosque.