Located on the Sixth Hill near the highest point in Istanbul, the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is one of the most visible landmarks in the city. One of two mosques in the city with the same name (the other no longer functions as a mosque), it was designed by famous imperial architect Mimar Sinan and built in the mid-16th century in honor of Suleyman the Magnificent’s favorite daughter. The mosque forms part of a larger complex that includes a madrassah, primary school, Turkish bath and shrine.
The mosque stands on a terrace built over a row of shops, whose rents were intended to sustain the mosque financially. Visitors will enter the mosque through an impressive porch with seven domed bays flanked by marble and granite columns. The interior is simple, but elegant.
Multiple earthquakes damaged the mosque in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the narrow minaret that fell through the roof of the mosque during an 1894 earthquake. Many of the decorations that are visible today are not original, but the pulpit made of white marble belongs to the earliest structure. Encased in more than 100 windows, some of which are stained glass, the mosque is one of Sinan’s sunniest designs.
The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is located in the Edirnekapi neighborhood of Istanbul, not far from the old city walls. To get there, take the tram and get off at Edirnekapi or take the Metro to the Topkapi station. Visitors should dress conservatively and remove their shoes before entering the mosque.