Commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent for his daughter, the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Edirnekapi was designed by the celebrated Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. The mosque is dappled with windows that let sunlight into the space and is topped by a monumental dome. Unlike most imperial mosques, it only has one minaret.
The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, with delicate touches of mother-of-pearl and abundant light, is located near the ancient Theodosian Walls, not far from the historic city center. The mosque was badly damaged in earthquakes in the 18th and 19th centuries, so much of what you see is reconstructed from the original design.
Private and small-group tours of Mihrimah Sultan Mosque often visit nearby historical sites, including the Chora Museum, the Byzantine Walls, and the remains of Jewish and Greek heritage in the Fener, Balat, and Edirnekapi neighborhoods.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is a must-visit for architecture buffs.
- The mosque is an active place of worship. Upon entrance, women are required to cover their heads and shoulders, and men to cover their knees.
- Prayer times can affect the opening hours of the mosque.
- Istanbul mosques usually provide scarves to cover yourself if you don’t have one.
How to Get There
Located in the Edirnekapi neighborhood, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is accessible by bus from Eminönü or Taksim Square. The mosque is also walking distance from other Edirnekapi sights, such as the Chora Museum.
When to Get There
The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is open all day, but it is closed to non-Muslims during prayer times, which are usually listed in front of the mosque. Friday prayer times are longer, so time your visit to avoid these if possible.
The Other Mihrimah Sultan Mosque
Across the water in the Asian-side neighborhood of Üsküdar is another Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, built by the same architect, Mimar Sinan. Supposedly, the sun and moon line up with the two mosques during the spring solstice. Legend has it that Mimar Sinan was in love with the princess Mihrimah Sultan and built the second mosque to show his devotion.