The Rüstem Paşa Mosque is the work of the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan and was built for the Grand Vizier Rüstem Paşa, husband of the Sultan’s daughter “Mihrimah” and son-in-law of Suleiman the Magnificent. Built in 1561, it is located in the buzzing Tahtakale neighborhood, close to the Egyptian Bazaar.
Although considered a true gem, it does not draw large crowds of visitors. The mosque seems like a small showpiece for Ottoman architecture and ceramic art, yet it still shows outstanding interior decoration.
The architect erected the mosque on a square platform. That could be the reason why it tends to be overlooked. The central dome rests on arches supported by four mighty pillars and columns. Inside there are two staircases. At the top there is a terrace. The entire interior and part of the outer walls are adorned with valuable faience from that period, which are mostly decorated with tulip motifs. Especially the faience ornamentation on the outer walls is a decorative style that can be found at any other mosque. The Grand Vizier emphasized with them its wealth and influence, because the Iznik tiles were then in their heyday and therefore expensive and in great demand.
In a fire in 1660, the mosque suffered great damage. Furthermore, the minaret and the dome collapsed during an earthquake in 1766. After the renovation and reconstruction, it was obvious to the naked eye that the Mimar Sinan structure of the minaret and dome was not maintained.