“Istanbul…..the constant beating of the wave of the east against the Rock of the west.”- Susan Moody
Istanbul is one of the stellar places that give Islamic history the glory and exposure it deserves. Every single one of the historical monuments in Istanbul is an architectural wonder. You would never get tired of the high minarets, arched ceilings and peaceful but lively streets of the largest city of Turkey.
The sightseeing is endless and awe inspiring. It’s a burst of inspiration and wonder. Just a glance betrays the deep and illustrious history forever embedded within this city and its monuments.
Istanbul city in Turkey
The grandeur of the monuments give off the feeling that the city was built around them, rather than them being built in the city. For all these reasons and more, Istanbul is one of the top tourist destinations of the world.
Muslims along with non-Muslims from all over the world dream to visit the historical places of Istanbul and experience the mixed culture west and east.
the Black Stone
The black stone is one of the most sacred and revered treasures of Istanbul. Pieces of the honored black stone can be found in this ancient city. There are six pieces in total scattered across Istanbul. The black stone is said to be sent from Heaven, and is also present in Mecca.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had kissed this stone and greeted it, and therefore Muslims all around the world seek a chance to follow his example by kissing the black stone.
What’s more is that the black stone used to be whiter than milk when it descended from Heaven, but is now black from the sins of the children of Adam (humanity).
The black stone was once whole, but is now divided into pieces. One of the six pieces found in Istanbul is in the Blue Mosque. Another is in the Suleymaniye Mosque. The final four pieces are all in the Sokullu Sehit Mehmet Pasa Camii Mosque.
The blue mosque
Blue Mosque- also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque- is the pride of Islam and Istanbul. It is known as ‘Blue Mosque’ because of its marvelous interior- largely decorated by blue tiles. The sight of the interior as well as the exterior of the blue mosque is nothing short of breath taking.
Located at Istanbul, it is a functioning mosque that attracts millions of tourist with its great architecture, beautiful curve design and blue tiles. Many consider it as the best of the Ottoman architecture.
Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul near Aya Sophia
It was named Sultan Ahmed Mosque after the Ottoman ruler of Istanbul, Sultan Ahmed- it was commissioned by him.The mosque commands Istanbul’s beautiful horizon with its rich creation of six high minarets and rising arches.It is built near Aya Sophia and close to the Topkapi Palace, giving it the all together ideal location.
Being the first great imperial mosque built in turkey for more than forty years, it was built to compete with Hagia Sophia Mosque.
A piece of the holy black stone is present in the mehrab of the blue mosque, one of the reasons of its popularity.
Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque
Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque houses four of the six pieces of Al Hajar Al Aswad, the black stone in Istanbul. Those four pieces are placed in different places inside the mosque. One small piece of Al Hajar Al Aswad is placed above the mehrab of the mosque. One is placed at the front of the mimbar. One is place on the top of the mimbar, and the last one is above the inner entrance.
Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque in Istanbul;
Much like the Blue Mosque, it is also an Imperial architectural design of the Ottomans. It was also commissioned by the one it is named after, Sokkolu Mehmet Pasha- the son in law of Sultan the magnificent.
A small but beautiful fountain used for ablution is in this mosque. Sides of the pasha mosque were once enlightened with the lights of the rooms of a medrassa (Islamic learning places).
Topkapi palace is one of the most attractive places in Istanbul. It was once the residential place of the emperor of three continents- Sultan Mahmud II. He started work on the palace in 1453 and lived in the palace until he died in 1481.
The palace was converted into a museumin 1924. It gives a great view of Istanbul, hints of hundreds of years of history and invaluable fortunes including a broad assortment of workmanship, porcelain, adornments, original copies and different fortunes of the Ottoman Empire. Significant ancient rarities incorporate the gem-encrusted Topkapi blade and the 86-carat Spoonmaker’s Diamond.
The Islamic treasures are also stored in the palace including the precious belongings of our beloved prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)- his sword and cloak are also displayed in the museum. Most of the things are open to the public.
Sulaymaniye Mosque is the most crucial mosque in Istanbul, and one of the largest. The last price of the Al Hajar Al Aswad can be found in the Sulaymaniye Mosque.
Sultan the magnificent, the tenth ottoman sultan had this Mosque built. There used to be a palace on the grounds on which this Mosque stands, before the sultan and his family moved to the Topkapi Palace to make room for the construction.
Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul
With arched pillars, amazing tile work and a fountain at the entrance, Sulaymaniye Mosque is a sight to behold- much like all the other imperial mosques in Istanbul. There is a madrassa at the South of the mosque, holding a library with over 110,000 manuscripts. The mosque has suffered several damages throughout the ages, before being fully restored into the structure it is now.
There are two mausoleums in the garden behind Sulaymaniye Mosque, along with the tombs of Sulayman I and his family. Other sultans are also buried there. In the main mausoleum, above the tomb of Sulayman I, a piece of Al Hajar Al Aswad rests in the wall. The architect of the mosque, Sinan is also buried in the mosque.
Eyup sultan mosque
The Eyup Sultan mosque is dazzling from the inside and the outside. In the Eyup district of Istanbul, it is decorated with white marble and golden stone. This mosque is always filled with light and Muslims performing prayers.
Tomb of Abu Ayyub Ansari (رضي الله عنه)
On the opposite side of the mosque is the tomb of Abu Ayub Ansari, a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The ‘Ansar’ were the people of Medina who welcomed the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions in their city and helped them. Abu Ayub was one such Ansar. By the will of Allah, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) stayed at his house for 7 months after he migrated from Mecca to Medina. The full name of Abu Ayub Ansari was Khalid Bin Zayd but he is famously known by ‘Ayub Ansari’: the that was chosen to give refuge to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
Hagia Sophia / Aya Sophia
Hagia Sophia is the masterwork of Roman Engineering. It was called an 8th wonder of the world and was the top church of its time.
Hagia Sophia was built as a great place of worship for the Christians in the 6th century under the leadership of Byzantine emperor Justinian I. It was one of the biggest church at the time and was the spiritual heart of Byzantine Empire and remained as a church of wisdom for thousands of years.
Aya Sophia, located in the heart of Istanbul was converted from Orthodox Christian cathedral into the mosque thousands of years ago. In the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it was built into a museum in 1934. The beauty and historical importance of Hagia Sophia makes it important for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul
The Turkish ruler decided to make Hagia Sophia a museum to modernize the country. Being a historical place of both Muslims and Christians it was visited by thousands of tourists.
The present ruler of Turkey Tayyip Erdoğan decided to turn it back into a mosque- fulfilling the dream of millions of Muslims.
It is the great pride of Muslims that the historical mosque has been converted into a Holy Masjid again. Thousands of Muslims celebrated the day by performing the first Friday prayer.
The turning of Hagia Sophia; a landmark of Istanbul into a mosque is a historical achievement of the Muslim world.
Istanbul is not a city that disappoints. With it’s treasures of mosques and museums, it certainly doesn’t have a lack of sights to see and history to explore. With the splashing waves, soaring minarets, and greenery, the wild and serene beauty of Istanbul is like no other. All the time in the world isn’t enough to explore the stories it holds within it’s borders.
“If one had but a single glance to give to the world, one should gaze at Istanbul”- Alphonse de Lamartine