Mosques of Üsküdar

Üsküdar, one of the most conservative neighborhoods in Istanbul, naturally has a wealth of impressive Ottoman mosques. It’s located on the Asian side of city.

Two important mosques sit very near the ferryboat terminal. The one directly across the street from the terminal is the Mihrimah Sultan Camii, commissioned by Mihrimah Sultan, daughter of Süleyman the Magnificent. The architect was Mimar Sinan and the mosque was completed in 1548. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation every time I tried to visit. For a virtual tour, click here.

Mihrimah Sultan Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Mihrimah Sultan Camii

The other mosque is the Yeni Valide Camii, built by the mother of Ahmet III, Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan in 1708. She’s buried in a tomb next to the mosque.

Yeni Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Yeni Valide Camii

Yeni Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Yeni Valide Camii

Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan Türbesi at Yeni Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan Türbesi

The entrance and courtyard of the mosque have some very intricate stone work. I especially like the şadırvan (ablutions fountain).

Yeni Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Yeni Valide Camii

Yeni Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Yeni Valide Camii

I enjoyed spending time in this mosque as it was easily one of the most peaceful and quiet places I could find in such a bustling city. Outside, people hurry by trying to get to work or the markets while traffic zooms past. Once inside, I could hear only the ticking of the clock. It was a great place for me to sit and reflect. It also has a gorgeous interior.

Yeni Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Yeni Valide Camii

Yeni Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Yeni Valide Camii

Yeni Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Yeni Valide Camii

Along the Bosporus in an amazing location is the Şemsi Paşa Camii. This tiny mosque is a minor work of Mimar Sinan, built in 1580.

Şemsi Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Şemsi Paşa Camii

Şemsi Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Şemsi Paşa Camii

Şemsi Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Şemsi Paşa Camii

Şemsi Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Şemsi Paşa Camii

The tomb of Grand Vizier Şemsi Ahmet Paşa is attached to the prayer hall. There’s a small Ottoman cemetery outside.

Şemsi Ahmet Paşa Türbesi at Şemsi Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Şemsi Ahmet Paşa Türbesi

Ottoman cemetery at Şemsi Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Ottoman cemetery

Perched on a hill just above Şemsi Paşa Camii is the Rumi Mehmet Paşa Camii. It was built in 1471 for Rumi Mehmet Paşa, a Grand Vizier of Greek descent for Mehmet the Conqueror.

Rumi Mehmet Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Rumi Mehmet Paşa Camii

Rumi Mehmet Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Rumi Mehmet Paşa Camii

Rumi Mehmet Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Rumi Mehmet Paşa Camii

Two other mosques stand on the hill. The first is Kaptan Paşa Camii, built in 1499. The other is the prominently placed Ayazma Camii, built in 1760. This mosque is easily seen from the Bosporus. I like the peaceful garden surrounding the mosque and its elaborate stone work, but I was never fortunate enough to enter.

Kaptan Paşa Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Kaptan Paşa Camii

Ayazma Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Ayazma Camii

Ayazma Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Ayazma Camii

Ayazma Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Ayazma Camii

On the same hill, it’s possible to encounter several old run down wooden Ottoman buildings.

Ottoman home in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Ottoman home

Near the markets are the Kara Davut Paşa Camii, and the somewhat hidden Şeyh Mustafa Devati Camii which also contains the tomb of its namesake. It was built in 1645 and there’s a small Ottoman cemetery on the grounds as well.

Şeyh Mustafa Devati Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Şeyh Mustafa Devati Camii

Şeyh Mustafa Devati Türbesi in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Şeyh Mustafa Devati Türbesi

Ottoman cemetery at Şeyh Mustafa Devati Türbesi in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Ottoman cemetery

A bit further inland but worth the detour are two of the most magnificent mosques in the city, accessible via a 10 minute walk or a short taxi ride. The large Atik Valide Külliyesi was an important mosque complex built by Mimar Sinan in 1583 as his last major work. It was commissioned by Nurbanu Sultan, mother of Murat III.

Atik Valide Külliyesi in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Atik Valide Külliyesi

It was under renovation during my visit, but I was able to see from the outside the medrese, hospital, kitchen, and other important features. It’s interesting to know the hospital was in use well into the 20th century. The covered şadırvan is one of my favorite parts of the complex.

Şadırvan at Atik Valide Külliyesi in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Şadırvan

The interior of the mosque is beautifully decorated as expected. For a virtual tour, click here.

Atik Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Atik Valide Camii

Atik Valide Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Atik Valide Camii

Finally, one of the most underrated and undervisited mosques in Istanbul is the tiny Çinili Camii. It was built in 1640 by Mahpeyker Kösem Sultan, wife of Ahmet I. The mosque is a bit difficult to find and was locked when I arrived. A caretaker was nice enough to ask the imam to open it for me. The imam was very enthusiastic about the mosque and answered all of my questions.

Çinili Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Çinili Camii

The mosque doesn’t look like much from the outside but the interior is stunning. It’s almost completely covered in blue and white İznik tiles. The pictures don’t do it justice. In fact, when the imam turned the lights on, my jaw dropped.

Çinili Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Çinili Camii

Çinili Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Çinili Camii

Çinili Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Çinili Camii

Çinili Camii in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Çinili Camii

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