The New Mosque (Yeni Camii) in Istanbul is not that new – it was built in the 1600s. Located on the water's edge next to the Galata Bridge, the Yeni Camii has become a defining feature of Istanbul's skyline.
Begun by Valide Safiye, mother of Sultan Mehmet III, in 1597, the mosque was designed by the architect Da'ud Aga, a pupil of Sinan. The chosen site was then a poor neighborhood; the inhabitants were paid to move out.
Construction initially dragged on for several decades due to water seeping and funding problems, then stopped completely when the sultan died – Safiye was no longer the Queen Mother so she no longer had the revenues or power to support the project.
The mosque was completed by another queen mother, Valide Sultan Turhan Hattice, mother of Mehmet IV (1642-93).
What to See
The New Mosque overlooks the harbor next to the Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn. The beautiful exterior consists of a great courtyard, two slender minarets, and a cascade of domes tumbling down from a central dome. Hundreds of pigeons make their nests among the architecture.
The interior is decorated with Iznik tile, gold and marble. Valide Sultan Turhan Hattice is buried in the courtyard along with sultans Mehmet IV, Mustafa II, Ahmet III, and Mahmut I.