If I asked you to think of any mosque in Istanbul, I’m sure you’ll be able to name the Blue Mosque, real name Sultanahmet Mosque. But sitting by the Golden Horn, in the area called Eminönü, is the not less grand New Mosque, known as Yeni Cami, in Turkish.
THE HISTORY OF YENI CAMI/ISTANBUL NEW MOSQUE
Why talk about a new mosque, when there are so many ancient ones, some may ask? Well, the fact is that it’s not that new. Yeni Cami is, in fact, one of the many Ottoman imperial mosques, and was ordered by Valide Sultan (Queen Mother) Safiye, mother of Sultan Mehmet III, in 1597, which makes is quite old. When her son died, she no longer had the power and wealth to carry on its construction, and the building was abandoned.
It was then officially renamed New Valide Sultan Mosque, or Mosque of the New Queen Mother.
VISITING ISTANBUL NEW MOSQUE
It may not be as famous as the Blue Mosque or Suleymaniye Mosque. Actually, it’s even considered one of the lesser important of the Ottoman imperial mosques. But visiting Yeni Cami is well worth it, starting from its location with privileged views of Galata Tower and the Golden Horn. Istanbul New Mosque is also far less crowded with tourists than its more famous counterparts, and as long as you avoid prayer times, you’ll be fine.
As you enter the mosque, you will be in a small patio, where men do the ablution, the act of washing their hands, arms and feet before prayer.
The interior is richly decorated with colourful tiles, scripts from the Quran, marbles, gold and a colourful and intricately decorated dome standing at 36 metres high.
When you visit Istanbul New Mosque, or indeed any mosque around the world, there are a few rules.
What to Wear
Men must wear long trousers and women must avoid shorts and mini skirts. Women should always cover their head with a scarf, here provided by the own mosque at the entrance. Istanbul New Mosque will also offer you a tunic, in case you’re shorts.
Take off your footwear. Here they will provide you with plastic bags to carry your shoes.
This is a worship place, so remember to keep as quiet as possible. Also, put your phone and camera in silent.
So, have you been to Yeni Cami/Istanbul New Mosque? What’s the most beautiful mosque you know?