Tucked away on a terrace above the bustle of the Spice Bazaar, Rustem Pasha Mosque (Rüstem Paşa Camii) is an Istanbul hidden gem. The small space, designed by renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, is covered in colorful red and blue Iznik tiles in floral and geometric designs. Some consider it a miniature Blue Mosque without the crowds.
Built in honor of Suleiman the Magnificent’s son-in-law and grand vizier in the 16th century, Rustem Pasha Mosque was constructed above a complex of shops near the Spice Bazaar in the Eminonu quarter. Two staircases lead from the busy street up to the terrace and a colonnaded porch that stands in front of the mosque. Its stunning interior is a marvel of mosaic artistry and a welcome respite from the hectic city outside.
Small-group and private tours of Istanbul visit Rustem Pasha Mosque. Tours of the mosque often also include the Spice Bazaar, Eminonu Square, the Bosphorus (sometimes via river cruise), Topkapi Palace, Suleymaniye Mosque, and more.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Rustem Pasha Mosque is a must-visit for art and architecture buffs.
- The mosque is an active religious site and you must dress appropriately to enter. If needed, scarves and covers are provided at the mosque.
- Make sure to wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
- Wheelchairs are not permitted inside the mosque.
How to Get There
Rustem Pasha Mosque is centrally located in the winding streets behind Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar, a short walk from the Eminonu Pier and bus station. You can reach Eminonu Square by bus, ferry, or taxi, and then walk the short distance to the mosque. For maximum convenience, book a tour that includes transportation.
When to Get There
Rustem Pasha Mosque is closed to non-Muslims during prayer times, which change daily (find schedule online). Muslim holidays can also affect opening hours. Istanbul’s popular attractions are most crowded in the summertime. Try to visit during the cooler months, when the crowds have thinned. The best weather in Istanbul occurs in the spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October).
Rustem Pasha’s Tiles
Rustem Pasha Mosque is best known for its elaborate use of intricate tiles from Iznik. The red, green, and blue tiles depict undulating geometric and floral designs and cover the entire interior of the mosque, as well as part of the exterior. Some of the mosaics incorporate a purple and green color scheme as well.