The New Valide Mosque complex, which is opposite the Egyptian Bazaar in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, has the feature of having a long construction term during Ottoman History.Its construction had been started on behalf of Safiye Sultan, a wife of Sultan Murad III. (1546 -1595), in 1597, and after its construction was stopped in 1661, it was restarted to be built by Valide Tarhan Sultan, mother of IV Mehmet (1642–1693). After a Friday prayer service, it was opened to the public in 1663.
A long construction term of the New Mosque Complex caused the contribution of scores of architects. The first construction work was initiated by Davut Aga, a student of architect Sinan; then it was continued by Dalgıç Ahmet Aga. A half-century later the task of finishing the project fell to Mustafa Ağa. It consists of three primary structures: a mosque, tomb and the sultan’s summer palace.
The influence of the Sehzadebaşı Mosque (Prince Management) on the New Mosque, is apparent because Davut Aga, one of the architects of the New Mosque, was an apprentice of the architect Sinan. Around a central dome, the ceiling of the mosque is surrounded by four half-domes that have the same diameter and are covered by many large and smaller mixed domes together.
The mosque has two minarets with each having three-shrefes (minaret balcony). The frame of the inner courtyard has twenty-two small domes and three entrance doors with domes in three different directions. There is a fountain made of marble with a dome in the middle of the inner courtyard.
Distinct changes from Classical Ottoman Architectural concept with the ornaments of the mosque are not seen, and the wall of the forecourt was demolished in the second half of the 19th century to ease the traffic around the Eminonu district. The recitation school (darülkurra) and Ottoman elementary-primary school (Sıbyan Mektebi) of the Mosque were also demolished in the subsequent period.
The Egyptian Bazaar is the most dazzling place in the complex and is still up and going and protecting its activity. The tomb of the complex, in which the sarcophagi of five Ottoman Sultan lie, is called Hatice Turhan Sultan Tomb, which is one of the greatest Sultan tombs in existence. There are a great many of the graves from the Ottoman dynasty in this section. The tomb has 47 windows and the sarcophagi of Hatice Turhan Sultan, II. Mustafa, I. Mahmut, III. Ahmet ve IV Mehmet are in the tomb. In addition, there are many graves of sultans and princes in it.
Hunkar Kasri (royal residence) was built for Valide Turhan Sultan and has the most beautiful view of the complex. The approach to the Hunkar Kasri is from the uphill road behind the wall of the qibla (the direction of Mecca) of the New Mosque. It is the structure that is composed of two big rooms, a bath and an eyvan, a vaulted room with one side open to a courtyard that reflects the Classical Ottoman architecture.
The location of the New Mosque Complex is certainly one of the most crowded places in Istanbul. The area of the mosque towards the Egyptian Bazaar that exists in front of the courtyard entrance hosts hundreds of pigeons. There are very many people coming and going in the area from different cultures who experience the beauty of this historical place every day.
Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL