Selimiye Mosque in Edirne is the biggest pride of the Turkish city of Edirne, situated in the western part of the country, 20 km from the border with Bulgaria and 7 km from the border with Greece. Selimiye, some believe, is superior in- beauty and impressiveness to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, it is recognized as one of the highest achievements of Islamic architecture.
Selimiye Mosque is the top achievement in the work of legendary master Mimar Sinan. Selimiye Mosque and the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul are of the so-called "Sultan mosque" type. Both temples were built in the Byzantine style of Hagia Sophia, but the construction of Selimiye has shown innovation by applying new architectural techniques.
According to legend, Mimar Sinan received inspiration for the magnificent masterpiece that is this mosque, while watching his mother's hair. An architect crafted wonderful assemblages of all 384 narrow windows of the mosque along the lines of her braids. Today Selimiye seems removed from fairy tales. The night lights seemed filled with her presence throughout the central part of Edirne.
Mosque Selimiye was built in just six years between 1569 - 1575. The order for the erection of the temple came from the twelfth sultan of the Ottoman Empire - Selim II, son or Suleiman the Magnificent. There is the question of why this magnificent mosque was built in Edirne, rather than in Istanbul. According to legend, Selim II received a vision of a dream in which Prophet Mohammed bids him to rise precisely in Edirne a mosque with the spoils of a battle with Cyprus in 1571.
According to another theory, Selimiye is not built in Istanbul, because there is already shining masterpieces such as Hagia Sophia, Süleymaniye and Fatih Mosques, which occupy a central place in the Turkish capital. The magnificent complex of Selimiye had no pride of place there.
The dome of Selimiye is 44 meters in height and has a diameter of 32 meters. It was erected on 8 marble columns. This Mosque of Selim II has ideal proportions and is of the type rotunda without support in the interior. The original mosque had 1000 windows , but one is built in because of the belief that 999 is a magic number.
Mosque Selimiye stands in the center of a külliye - a set of hospital, school, library and baths around a mosque, which consists of a medrese, Islamic Academy, where they taught religion and other sciences, the Al-Hadith school and shopping complex. Today Selimiye is accessible to everybody. Anyone can come regardless of religion. The only condition is to take off their shoes, women cover their heads with a suitable cloth.
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