The Süleymaniye at its best…
Breaking the fast during Ramadan is considered a significant ritual by the Muslim communities around the world. If you are in Istanbul, Süleymaniye is the place to be, I assure you. Making it to the Süleymaniye complex to observe and photograph the practice has become one of my Ramadan rituals over the years so I finally took up the challenge to design a walking route through the Süleymaniye neighborhood for a Ramadan evening. Here are some photos from my Ramadan walk in the historical peninsula.
Süleyman and The Süleymaniye
Both the neighborhood and the Süleymaniye Mosque Complex were named after the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman of the 16th century, during when the Ottomans reached the pinnacle of their political, military, cultural and economic power. You could well say both still retain the zeitgeist of the period.
The complex designed by the finest architect of the Ottoman classical period, Sinan the Architect, reflect the aesthetics as well as the social organisation of a Muslim community of the era. Any mosque complex at the heart of a community aimed to take care of its members in a well-structured way through its numerous public institutions. So did the Süleymaniye complex with its institutions of higher learning, soup kitchen, hamam, medical school, hospital, primary school, guest house, caravanserai and the like. All meant to attend the physical, spiritual and intellectual needs of Istanbullites for centuries onwards.
Though its public institutions were made obsolete by the radical reforms of the Republic, which replaced religious services with the secular ones, the Süleymaniye, one of the largest mosque complexes in the city still offers a glimpse of the old social order at the heart of a former capital. Do not miss the breathtaking view of the cityscape at the terrace!