Perched atop of the third hill of Istanbul seven hills, providing that one of a kind visual on the city skyline, is the impressive Ottoman imperial mosque , Süleymaniye Mosque.
Considered as one of the grandest mosque in Istanbul, built in 16th century, commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent and designed by imperial architect Mimar Sinan, I dare say that I find Süleymaniye Mosque more impressive than the Blue Mosque.
The spacious inside courtyard with central fountain, the four corners with the towering four minarets , the main dome with cascading smaller domes and the Iznik tiles decorated windows made up one of the most beautiful exterior of a mosque in the city.
Süleymaniye Mosque is designed like other imperial mosque to serve as a complex of structures for both adjacent and cultural needs, mosque, madrasa, hospital, public baths, public kitchen, and a cemetery. Some of the structure are still functioning to date, including the hamam, Süleymaniye Hamami located on the outer courtyard.
The location of Süleymaniye Mosque do provide a great panorama of the city below and it seems only few tourist made their way to this side of the town, which in way makes the overall experience of visiting the mosque far better in comparison to the popular Blue Mosque.
At the vicinity of Süleymaniye Mosque is another Istanbul highlight, the Grand Bazaar. I actually went to both places on the same day, walked from Sultanahmet area , passing by the local neighborhood.
The Grand Bazaar, a sprawling 30,700 square meter of 4,000 shops and over 60 streets made up for one of the largest and oldest covered market in the world.
It is a good place to purchase souvenir items or just to do a little window shopping, but if you are serious about buying, do take your time to chat and bargain.
If the vendor becomes too aggressive on making a sale, it is best to walk away. I did not buy anything, though stopped many times to check out their shops or try their products, a simple smile and “no, thank you” will be enough.
Jewelry, antiques, carpets, lamps are the most common items found inside, while the surrounding outside market are mainly ready to wear clothes, shoes, and home equipment.