Friday, September 26, 2014

New Mosque - Yeni Camii

Today's photo trek is taking place in Eminönü's waterfront were it stands the Yeni Camii, the new Mosque.  Its imposible not to see it. Is one of the last largest buildings that dominates the water front and it stands next to the Spice Market.  

The new mosque's view from Galata bridge.

The large mosque's name "New Mosque (Yeni Camii)" has nothing to do with time.  It dates back to 1591, which makes it in fact very old.  The work on the mosque was started by Safiye Sultan (1550-1605) at a time when this was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood occupied by tall wooden apartment blocks called Jeweries.  The Jews were relocated to Haskoy on the far side of the Golden Horn, but progress on the mosque was slow because Safiye Sultan lost her power on the death of her son Sultan Mehmed III in 1603. 

Water front of Eminönü .

Like so many buildings in Turkey, the mosque was left incomplete and eventually caught fire.  It was only completed in 1633 bu which time Hatice Turhan Sultan, the mother of Sultan Mehmet IV had taken charge of things.  Her architect Mustafa Aga, completed the work in 1663 using the plants drawn up by the original architect, a pupil of Sinan's called Davud Aga.



The exterior of the mosque itself boasts 66 domes and semi domes in a pyramidal arrangement, as well as two minarets. The main dome measures 36 meters in height, and is supported by four flanking semi-domes. The dome plan of the New Mosque is based on the earlier Şehzade Mosque designed by Mimar Sinan, and on Sedefkar Mehmed Agha's Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

66 Domes and 2 Minarets.

Entrance door from the square.

Doves at the front gate.

As with other imperial mosques in Istanbul, the mosque itself is preceded by a monumental courtyard (avlu) on its west side. The courtyard of the New Mosque is 39 meters on a side, bordered on its inner side by a colonnadedperistyle covered by 24 small domes. 

Ablution fountain.

An elegant şadırvan (ablution fountain) stands in the center, but is only ornamental. The actual ritual purifications are performed with water taps on the south wall of the mosque. The façade of the mosque under the porch is decorated with İznik tiles. Stone blocks supplied from the island of Rhodes were used in the construction of the mosque.

Interior of ablution fountain.

Iznik Tiles decorating the façade of the mosque.

Tiles and calligraphic inscriptions decorate the courtyard walls.  Unusually, the mosque has open galleries on each side of the exterior while the minarets each boast triple balconies which meant that in the days before loudspeakers half dozen muezzins could give the call to prayer at the same time.

Galleries on each side of the mosque.

Minarets with triple balconies.

Domes of side galleries.


Entrance decoration.

Entrance door with nacar incrustation.



The interior of the mosque is square shaped and measures 41 meters on each side.  The central area is defined by four large piers which are the main support for the dome. On the sides and rear of the central area are colonnades of slender marble columns connected by arches in a variety of styles. 

Interior's view from the front entrance.

The dome is 17.5 meters in diameter and has a height of 36 meters. Like many other Ottoman imperial mosques, on the 4 corners where the dome meets the pillars holding it up, are calligraphic plates with the names of the first four khalifahs, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali.

Main dome and semi domes.

 The interior space is extended with semi-domes along the east-west axis of the building, with smaller domes above each corner of the nave and even smaller domes above the corners of the galleries.

Interior's view from the upper floor.

The interior of the mosque is decorated with blue, green and white İznik tiles, which are considered somewhat inferior in quality to tiles in earlier imperial mosques. The mihrab is decorated with gilded stalactites and the minbar had a conical canopy with slender marble columns.

Mihrab i Mimbar with conical canopy.

Internally the mosque is very elegant, its walls covered with tiles that while not of the finest quality, are nevertheless very pretty, its windows filled with richly colored gained glass.  The mimer (pulpit) and muezzin mahfili (muezzin's pew) are marble, and the kursu (Imam's prayer seat) is of wood inlaid with mother of pearl.   

Main chandelier.

Above the windows verses from the Koran were beautifully inscribed by Mustafa Celebi.  

Verses of the Koran.

View of the back of the mosque.

Carpet decoration.

Upper floor view of the arches.

Side view from the upper floor.

Side Gallery.

Gallerie's window.

Visitors are not only tourists but locals that come for prayers.


The Royal Pavilion (Upper floor)

The northeast corner of the gallery has a gilded screen, behind which members of the imperial court could attend services. This Royal Loge is connected by a long elevated passageway to a Royal Pavilion in the northeast corner of the mosque complex.

The royal pavilion at the New Mosque's northeast corner.

Sultan's royal lodge dome.

Iznik Tiles and carpet decoration.

Sultan's lodge view of the Mihrab and Minbar.

Iznik tiles decoration.

Royal pavilion's window to the Mirhab.

Nacar and mother pearl window's decoration.

Ceiling paints and decoration.

Main chandelier.

Royal pavilion's wall.



As with other imperial mosques in Istanbul, the New Mosque was designed as a külliye, or complex with adjacent structures to service both religious and cultural needs. The original complex consisted of the mosque itself, a hospital, primary school, public baths, a türbe, two public fountains and a market. To this complex was added a library during the reign of Sultan Ahmed III.

The large L-shaped market survives today as the Spice Bazaar (also known as the Egyptian Bazaar), a well-known Istanbul tourist attraction.

The mausoleum (türbe) holds the graves of the Valide Sultan Turhan Hatice, her son Mehmed IV as well as five later sultans (Mustafa II, Ahmed II, Mahmud I, Osman III and Murad V) and various members of the court.
Ongoing restoration and maintenance works are implemented by the Turkish General Directorate of Foundations.



The New Mosque's view from the Ferry boat at Eminönü Iskelesi.

View of New  Mosque and Galata Bridge  from a ferry boat. 

The new mosque view from Eminönü's square.

The new mosque's view from the Spice bazar.

I was planning of doing also the Spice Bazar but as I was lucky enough to see the upper floor of the mosque and the royal pavilion I have to leave the spice Bazar for some other time.  It is in restoration so I really hope to see it finished and be able to document it.

As of now, I hope you enjoy the views.

Soreya Reyes

Twitter:  @street_photos_

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