Where is Selimiye Mosque and Complex? Historical and Architectural Features

selimiye mosque and its complex where its historical and architectural features
selimiye mosque and its complex where its historical and architectural features

📩 04/01/2023 09:12

Selimiye Mosque, located in Edirne, Ottoman sultan II. It is the mosque built by Selim for Mimar Sinan. Selimiye Mosque, which Sinan made at the age of 90 (mentioned as 80 in some books) and called “my masterpiece”, is one of the most important works of both Mimar Sinan and Ottoman architecture.

According to the inscription on the door of the mosque, its construction started in 1568 (Hijri: 976). Although the mosque was planned to be opened on Friday 27 November 1574, however, II. It was opened to worship on March 14, 1575 after Selim's death.

It is owned by the Sultan Selim Foundation. In the area where the mosque is located in the center of the city today, there was the first palace (Saray-ı elik) and the Baltacı Guards harem, which was built in the period of Süleyman Çelebi and later developed by Yıldırım Bayezid. This area is referred to as “Sarıbayır” or “Kavak Square”.

Selimiye Mosque and Complex, which was included in the World Heritage Temporary List by UNESCO in 2000, was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2011.

The reason for choosing Edirne

It is not known exactly why the Sultan chose Edirne as the city where the mosque was built. In his work Evliya Çelebi Seyahatname, he wrote that he had seen the prophet Muhammad in the dream of the sultan and asked him to build a mosque in memory of the conquest of Cyprus. However, this claim cannot be true since it was known that it was conquered in 1571 three years after the construction of the mosque. In the more realistic comments on this subject, it is pointed out that there was no need for a new large mosque in Istanbul at that time, Edirne was the center of Ottoman rule in Rumelia, and Selim had a separate love for the city since his youth.


In Selimiye, located on a hill, a technique that has not been seen in any previous mosque or ancient temple was used. In previous domed buildings, despite the fact that the main dome has risen above the graded half-domes, Selimiye Mosque is covered with a single lebi, 43,25 meters high, 31,25 meters in diameter. The dome is placed on a pulley based on 8 columns. The pulley is connected to the flaps with arches 6 meters wide. Mimar Sinan provides the space to be easily understood at once with the width and spaciousness he gives to the interior he covers. The dome also outlines the exterior appearance of the mosque.


Located on four corners of the mosque, each 380 centimeter in diameter minarets with three private balconies are 70,89 meters high. The height of the minarets, including the realm, is 84 meters according to some sources, and 85 meters according to others. Three different ways can be accessed to the balconies of the minarets near the main gate. The other two minarets have a single staircase. The stone carvings of the two minarets in front are hollow, and the carvings of the minarets in the middle are raised. The fact that the minarets are close to the dome makes the mosque seem as if it extends towards the sky. The most important feature of this mosque is that it can be seen from all sides of Edirne.

Interior decorations

Marble, tile and calligraphy work of the mosque is also important. The interior of the building is decorated with Iznik tiles. The doner kebab right below the big dome has 12 marble columns and is 2 meters high. Some of the tiles were dismantled by the Russian general, Mikhail Skobelev, in the 1877-1878 Ottoman-Russian War.


The building has 3 doors opening to the north, south and courtyard. The inner courtyard is decorated with porches and domes. In the middle of the courtyard, there is a meticulously processed fountain. In the outer courtyard, there is an elementary school, darül kurra, darül hadith, madrasah and imaret. The School of Medicine is used as a children's library and the madrasah as a museum today. In the past, the mosque was illuminated with torches. The work from the torches was coming out of a specially made hole to create airflow.

"Inverse Tulip" motif

There is an inverted tulip motif under one of the marble feet of the mosque's mosque. According to legend, there was a tulip garden on the land where the mosque was built. The owner of this land did not want the land to be sold at the beginning. Finally, he sold his land, asking Mimar Sinan to have a tulip motif in the mosque. Mimar Sinan also made the tulip motif reversed. The tulip motif represents a tulip garden on this plot, while its inverse represents the owner's reversal.

World Heritage List

At the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting held in Paris on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, Edirne evaluated the candidacy of the Selimiye Mosque and Complex for the World Heritage List, and the committee unanimously decided that the Selimiye Mosque and Complex be included in the World Heritage List.

Thus, another Ottoman work has been included in the World Heritage List after the Drina Bridge.

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