There are plenty of grand mosques to visit in Istanbul thanks to master builder Mimar Siman, but this small jewel of his beats them all in terms of intimacy and decoration.
The tiles are simply sensational, full of stylised tulips, carnations and geometrical shapes. It is located not far from the Eminönü end of the Galata Bridge, though it is not easy to spot the entrance , but when you look lost local shopkeepers sympathetically show you how to get in.
The advantage is that few tourists seem to find it, and you may get to look around in glorious silence.
In the alleyways about 100m to the north-west of the Spice Bazaar at the end of Galata Bridge, not to be confused with the much larger Yeni Camii in front of the ferry terminals. There are two entrances, up steps between small shops - neither of them looks like it leads to a mosque, so persist.
The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii) was built for Sultan Ahmet I between 1609 to 1616 by the imperial architect Mehmet Aga.
It is a wonderful building. Serene and majestic. The aesthetic of the exterior is beautiful. The way the domes cascade down towards the courtyard. Then the interior of the Mosque itself - spacious and peaceful - with the blues, red and gold of the decoration and the huge yet intricate chandeliers.
During the summer months there is a free Son et Lumiere show just after dusk.
At Meydani, Sultanahmet
The Suleymaniye Mosque was founded by Suleyman the Magnificent and designed by the master architect Sinan.
As well as being a place of worship it included a hospital, soup kitchen, school and bath house and a welfare system that tended to the needs of the poor of the city.
The complex is very worthy of the name magnificent. From the soaring minarets, the peacefulness of the courtyard to the beauty and tranquility of the Mosque's interior.
Not as highly decorated as the Blue Mosque, it is equally impressive with its fine masonary, decorated dome and intricate calligraphy.
The tomb of Suleyman, next to the Mosque, is also worth visiting. Ceramic stars are set into the ceiling overlooking the coffins of Suleyman, his daughter and two of his successors.
Nearest tram stops are Beyazit or Eminonu then a 10 minute walk.
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