The Şehzade Mosque, also known as the Princes’ Mosque, can be found on the way to the Grand Bazaar in Fatih district. It was built between 1543 and 1548 by the famous architect Mimar Sinan. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent dedicated it to Crown Prince Mehmed, his favorite son, who died at a young age.
The Şehzade Mosque is one of the five largest mosques in Istanbul, although it was “only” a work of the apprenticeship period of Mimar Sinan, as he once claimed. And yet it already reveals the masterly skill of this exceptional architect. At the time, the young court architect had no experience with sacred buildings. He had studied the conception of dome and space of the Hagia Sophia in detail and had evidently been inspired by the construction of a Byzantine cross-domed church. The 37-meter-high main dome with a diameter of 18 meters is supported on each side by a half-dome. For the first time, Sinan built four half-domes instead of two, adding more domes to each half-dome. This resulted in a square floor plan, which became narrower from floor to top. This architectural scheme is reminiscent of the later Blue Mosque built by Sinan’s pupil.
The interior has a flat, solid and light atmosphere, while the decorated exterior, with the rhythmically arranged dome structure and the two beautiful minarets, looks rather dynamic.
The adjoining mausoleum is covered with beautiful colored tiles. Mimar Sinan has put a lot of effort into the final resting place of Prince Mehmed. The tombs of his brothers and sisters as well as Sultan Suleiman’s Grand Viziers Rüstem Paşa and Ibrahim Paşa are also here. The mosque complex also consists of a caravanserai, a public kitchen and a school (medrese).