Despite its name, Istanbul’s New Mosque (Yeni Cami) is an Ottoman-era building dating to 1663. With its prominent location on the water—in Eminonu Square, at the end of the Galata Bridge and near the Egyptian Spice Bazaar— as well as its swooping domes and large courtyard, the New Mosque is a prime example of Ottoman architectural splendor.
Commissioned by the mother of Sultan Mehmet III but not completed until after his death, the spectacular New Mosque has 66 exterior domes and semidomes, two minarets, and an ornate courtyard decorated with blue Iznik tiles. Green, white, and blue tiles adorn the interior walls of the mosque’s prayer space.
Some small-group and private tours combine a visit to the New Mosque with other Ottoman buildings nearby, including Suleymaniye Mosque, the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, Eminonu Square, and Dolmabahce Palace.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The New Mosque is a must-visit for first-time visitors to Istanbul, especially architecture enthusiasts.
- This is an active mosque and is closed to visitors during prayer times.
- Bring a scarf or wrap to cover up appropriately before entering, and wear shoes that are easy to remove.
How to Get There
The New Mosque is located in Eminonu Square, which is a transit hub and easily reachable by many forms of transportation—take a taxi, bus, ferry, or tram to the Eminonu stop. It’s also walking distance from the historical neighborhood of Sultanahmet. Eminonu Pier is one of the city’s main ferry piers, making the square and mosque easily accessible from the Asian side of Istanbul.
When to Get There
The New Mosque is a popular Istanbul sight, so beat the crowds by arriving early in the day. The mosque is closed to non-Muslims during prayer times, which change daily and are longer on Fridays; check times online. Muslim and Turkish holidays can affect opening hours as well.
What to Wear in a Mosque
To enter a mosque in Istanbul, it is necessary to dress appropriately. All visitors must remove their shoes and cover shoulders and knees; women need to cover their heads as well. The mosques provide scarves for covering. Plan ahead and bring your own scarf—or wear long pants or a long skirt and something on your shoulders—to visit the mosque more easily and efficiently.