Şehzade Mosque

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Şehzade Mosque
Princova mešita.jpg
Şehzade Mosque
Basic information
Location Istanbul, Turkey
Affiliation Islam
Architectural description
Architect(s) Mimar Sinan
Architectural type mosque
Groundbreaking 1543
Completed 1548
Dome height (outer) 37 meters (121 ft)
Dome dia. (inner) 19 meters (62 ft)
Minaret(s) 2
Minaret height 55 meters (180 ft)
Materials cut stone, granite, marble

The Şehzade Mosque (Turkish: 'Şehzade Camii') is an Ottoman imperial mosque located in the district of Fatih, on the third hill of Istanbul, Turkey. It is sometimes referred to as the “Prince's Mosque” in English.[1]


The Sehzade Complex was commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Süleyman, also known as Süleyman the Magnificent and Qanuni, the Lawgiver, (reg. 1520-1566 CE / AH 924-976) to commemorate his favorite son Sehzade Mehmed (1520-1543 CE / AH 924-950) upon his early passing in 1543. Twenty-two years old at the time of his death, Sehzade Mehmed was killed while returning to Istanbul after a victorious military campaign in Hungary. Mehmed was the eldest son of Süleyman's only legal wife Hürrem - although not his eldest son - and before his untimely death he was primed to accept the sultanate following Süleyman's reign. Süleyman is said to have personally mourned the death of Mehmed for forty days at his temporary tomb in Istanbul, the site upon which famed imperial architect Sinan (1490-1588 CE / AH 895-996) would quickly construct a lavish mausoleum to Mehmed as one part of a larger funerary külliye, or mosque complex, dedicated to the princely heir. The mosque complex was Sinan's first imperial commission and ultimately one of his most ambitious architectural works, even though it was designed early in his long career.[2]



The mosque is surrounded by an inner colonnaded courtyard (avlu) with an area equal to that of the mosque itself. The courtyard is bordered by a portico with five domed bays on each side, with arches in alternating pink and white marble. At the center is an ablution fountain (şadırvan), which was a later donation from Sultan Murat IV. The two minarets have elaborate geometric sculpture in low bas-relief and occasional terracotta inlays.

The mosque itself has a square plan, covered by a central dome, flanked by four half-domes. The dome is supported by four piers, and has a diameter of 19 meters and it is 37 meters high. It was in this building that Sinan first adopted the technique of placing colonnaded galleries along the entire length of the north and south facades in order to conceal the buttresses.


Interior of the mosque
Interior of the mosque

The interior of the Şehzade Mosque has a symmetrical plan, with the area under the central dome expanded by use of four semidomes, one on each side, in the shape of a four leaf clover. This technique was not entirely successful, as it isolated the four huge piers needed to support the central dome, and was never again repeated by Sinan. The interior of the mosque has a very simple design, without galleries.

The Complex[edit]

Şehzade complex (Külliye) is situated between Fatih and Bayezid complexes. The Külliye consists of the mosque, the (türbe) of Prince Mehmet (which was completed prior to the mosque), two Qur'an schools (medrese), a public kitchen (imaret) which served food to the poor, and a caravansarai. The mosque and its courtyard are surrounded by a wall that separates them from the rest of the complex.

The Şehzade Türbe[edit]

The imperial mausoleums (türbe) are noted for their lavish use of İznik tiles. The first and largest is the türbe of Şehzade Mehmet, an octagonal structure, with polychrome stonework and terracotta window frames and arches and an opus sectile porch. The double dome is fluted. An inscription in Persian verse over the door gives the date of the Prince's death and suggests that the interior of the türbe is like a garden in Paradise. The interior is covered in extremely rare apple-green and lemon-yellow İznik tiles from floor to top of the interior dome, and the windows have stained glass. A curious feature of the türbe is a walnut baldachino over the tomb itself. Within the türbe are also the tombs of Mehmet's daughter Humusah Sultan and his brother Cihangir.

To the left and behind the Şehzade Türbe is the türbe of Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha, also by Sinan. Rüstem Pasha was the son-in-law of Suleiman the Magnificent. As at the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, an overwhelming quantity of Iznik tiles was used. By the gate to the complex is the türbe of Grand Vizier Ibraham Pasha, son-in-law of Murat III, who died in 1601. The türbe was designed by Dalgıç Ahmed Çavuş, and almost equals that of Şehzade Türbe in design and use of tiled decoration.



  • Aptullah Kuran: Sinan: The grand old master of Ottoman architecture, Ada Press Publishers, 1987. ISBN 0-941469-00-X (English)
  • Denny, Walter B. (2005). Iznik: The Artistry of Ottoman Ceramics. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-51192-6. 
  • Faroqhi, Suraiyah (2005). Subjects of the Sultan: Culture and Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire. I B Tauris. ISBN 1-85043-760-2. 
  • Freely, John (2000). Blue Guide Istanbul. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-32014-6. 
  • Necipoğlu, Gülru (2005). The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire. London: Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1-86189-253-9. 
  • Rogers, J.M. (2007). Sinan: Makers of Islamic Civilization. I B Tauris. ISBN 1-84511-096-X. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°00′49.66″N 28°57′25.83″E / 41.0137944°N 28.9571750°E / 41.0137944; 28.9571750

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