The Suleymaniye Mosque at one’s first glance there are two things that are particularly remarkable in the ancient monuments of the Ottomans: the choice of the site and the perfect unity of the whole. Whether or not it is in a ra~sed place, the site always has a view of vast open spaces and however far one may look, one may see the sky. The structure as a whole is broad and imposing. All details of the monument, howev- er charged with multiple ornaments it may be, simultaneously con- tribute to a general effect that is always simple and always unique.

If, among all the masterpieces which are imbued with the genius of Master Sinan Master and of his pupils, there is one that fills more perfectly than the others these fundamental conditions of Ottoman architecture, it is undoubtedly the Süleymaniye. Situated at the top of a hill dominating the Kantarcılar district between the Ministry of Wlar and the Office of the Sheikhulislam, the Süleymaniye soars majestically towards the sky with nothing to hinder its ascent. From the vast platform of its enclosure, one captures at a single glance Europe and Asia, the two seas that bathe Istanbul, and the smiling Princes Isles. Further still, in the vaporous transparency of the horizon, the giant Bithynian Olympus takes shape against a pure sky, standing like an ever present witness to the memory of the cradle of ancient Ottoman power. Confronted by such a tableau, the spirit can conceive only noble ideas. Founded in year 964 of the Hegira (1556 of the Christian era) by Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver, for whom history has also decreed the names of “the Great” and “the Magnificent'; the Süleymaniye is preceded by an interior court or square flanked by four minarets. By this number, according to tradition, the founder wanted to indicate that he was the  fourth  Ottoman  sovereign  since  the  aonquest  of Constantinople.  In the same way, the total number of the bal conies of its minarets indicates that he was the tenth sultan since Osman Ghazi, the glorious root of his line.

The two minarets located at the two sides of the facade have two balconies each, and the two other two, which are at the other end of the square on each side öf the porch, have three balconies each. The total number, for the four minarets, yields ten balconies, all with corbelling in stalactites. Three beautiful doors whose open- ings are formed of flattened curues are each surmounted by an ogee arch and give access through the frontage and the two other sides of the courtyard. A cloister of twenty four arcades runs around and is supported by an equal number of columns. The pair closest to the door in the facade are of porphyry;  of the remainder, twelve columns of pink granite alternate with ten of white marble. All are of the crystallized order. Their capitals are of white marble, and the edges of their stalactites heavily gilded.

Domes, which number twenty four, surmount the gallery of tbe cloister.  Their cupolas are paînted with ornaments and flowers on a ground, and the largest, located midway along the porch, in front of the entrance to the nave, is decorated with pendentives in white marble stalactites, with gilding on the edges of crystalliza- tions. The door of the nave is a niche decorated with stalactites, also fashioned from gilded white marble in a design of great puri- ty and aspect of true monumentality. The proportions are large. Two other smaller niches are located along each side at half the distance between the entrance to the nave and the courtyard wall. The windows of the porch have quadrangular bays surmounted by ogee arches lavishly decorated with glazed tiles that have a royal blue ground on which beautiful Arabic letters are inter.- laced, tracing out in pure white sacred verses from the Quran.

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