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"YENII CAMII/NEW MOSQUE" Yeni Camii - New Mosque Tip by mtncorg

Yeni Camii - New Mosque, Istanbul: 38 reviews and 119 photos

  Ramazan at the Yeni Cami
by mtncorg
  • Ramazan at the Yeni Cami - Istanbul
      Ramazan at the Yeni Cami
    by mtncorg
  • Looking up at the towers of the Yeni Cami - Istanbul
      Looking up at the towers of the Yeni Cami
    by mtncorg
  • Yeni Cami from in front of the Galata Bridge - Istanbul
      Yeni Cami from in front of the Galata Bridge
    by mtncorg

Situated across the street from the south end of the Galata Bridge in the heart of the Eminönü district, the Yenii Camii was begun in 1597 at the bequest of the Safiye Sultan, the wife of Murad III. The district was predominately Jewish at that time and it was hoped a new Imperial mosque established in the heart of the district would spread the spirit of Islam. The vast costs involved – the Turkish armies were losing wars with the Persians and the Hapsburgs during Murad III’s reign – and political intrigue on the part of the Janissaries who resented the power of the Valide Sultan. Murad III died in 1595 but as the Valid Sultan – Mother of the Sultan, Safiye became a de facto co-regent of the empire for some eight years. That son, Mehmed III, died in 1603 and Ahmed I gained the throne. Along with came another Valide – Handan Sultana who had Safiye sent back to the general harem. Ahmed had no interest in finishing the Yenii Camii spending his architectural tendencies on the creation of the Blue Mosque instead.

During Ahmed’s reign, his wife Kösem Sultan began her long period of influence. Osman II ruled briefly for four years with the death of Ahmed, but he was murdered when he chose to try and attempt the influence of the Janissaries whom he blamed for a battle defeat at the hands of the Poles. Mustafa I succeeded Osman but quickly proved he was mentally incapable of ruling and was supplanted by Kösem’s son Murad IV. Murad ascended the throne at an age of only 11 and power was held by Kösem for the first nine years of his rule – a period marked by anarchy. He ruled in his own name from 1632 until his death at only 27 years of age in 1640. His brother Ibrahim I then took over. Murad had realized that his brother was mentally unstable and had ordered him to be killed upon his own death, but those wishes were disregarded and Kösem basically took over again for another eight years. Ibrahim – and Kösem – brought the empire almost to a state of collapse. At one point Ibrahim tried to have all 280 women in his harem drowned in the Bosphorus but at least two survived. One was his wife Turhan Hatice whom we will shortly get back to.

Ibrahim was finally strangled in 1648 and Mehmed IV – son of Turhan Hatice – took over at the age of only 6. This meant more of Kösem who continued to rule on behalf of her grandson. She hoped to replace Mehmed with another grandson when she realized she was going to have problems with Turhan. In fact, Turhan proved to be Kösem’s equal in the realm of intrigue and in 1651 Kösem was strangled opening the door for Turhan’s regency. She transferred power to Köprülü Mehmed Pasha when he became grand vizier in 1656.

Meanwhile, the uncompleted mosque had fallen into ruin and had been partially destroyed by a fire in 1660. Now, Turhan turned her attention from politics to building and at the suggestion of the Imperial Architect Mustafa Aga, the mosque was finally completed in 1665. The mosque plan was based upon the designs of the Shehzade and Sultan Ahmed mosques. Part of the mosque complex was a large market which survives today as the Egyptian Bazaar or better known as the Spice Market. The mausoleum of the Yenii Camii holds the graves of Turhan Hatice, her son Mehmed IV and five later sultans – Mustafa II, Ahmet II, Mahmut I and Murat V. The Yenii Camii is the only Imperial mosque instigated and completed at a woman’s bequest.

Directions: Eminonu, southern end of Galata Bridge

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 20, 2011
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