We are open today until 6:30 pm. Call 020 7590 0610

A guide to Istanbul's best mosques

Article content

14 August 2013 by Luke McCormick

Istanbul is the exotic hub where East meets West and ancient collides with modern. Formerly called Constantinople, this vibrant, evolving city straddles the Bosphorus and is Turkey's modern face. Yet it is also home to architecturally wonderful mosques and sites such as Aya Sofia, a cathedral built by the Romans and converted into a mosque by the conquering Ottomans.

Base yourself in the city for several days as part of a tailor-made trip to explore Turkey or as a start point for travelling to Bodrum or touring Western Anatolia for instance. Whilst there, of course, take time to discover Istanbul's incredible mosques, but make sure to also see the Topkapi Palace and browse the intoxicating Grand Bazaar.

Süleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque

Located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, the Süleymaniye Mosque is actually the largest mosque in the city and provides a magnificent focal point from throughout the city. Although not the largest mosque, it certainly is the most impressive. The gardens and grounds of the mosque are a delight to wander around, while inside the architecture is pleasing in its simplicity.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Although the Hagia Sophia is now a museum, no list of Istanbul's best mosques would be complete without it. This former Greek Orthodox basilica was originally constructed in 537 and was the world's largest Christian church for almost a thousand years. It briefly became a Roman Catholic Cathedral in the 1200s before later serving as an imperial mosque until it was closed in 1935, almost 14 centuries after its founding. It features an enormous dome and some stunning Byzantine mosaics.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Blue Mosque

Popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles that adorn the walls of its interior, this historical mosque is certainly a site to behold. Unlike the nearby Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque is an active centre of worship and so is closed to visitors during the five daily prayer services.

New Mosque

Yeni Mosque

Located in the Eminönü district near the spice market and with wonderful views across the Bosporus to Galata, this popular mosque is a lovely diversion. Also known as Yeni, or the Mosque of the Valide Sultan, it is built in the Ottoman imperial style.

Ortaköy Mosque

Ortakoy Mosque

The Ortaköy Mosque, or Büyük Mecidiye Camii, is stunningly situated on the banks of the Bosporus Strait beneath the enormous Bosporus Bridge. The best time to visit is in the evening when it dazzles magnificently below the glittering bridge. The upmarket area surrounding the mosque is full of great restaurants, bars, hotels and shops.

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

Visit us in our London office

Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 45 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation
  • In-depth Wexas travel guides

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Wexas Travel App
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected