This is one of Istanbul’s most prominent mosques, situated at the opening to the Golden Horn, close to the Galata Bridge and the Spice Bazaar. The name Yeni Camii (New Mosque) is rather misleading though, as the mosque actually dates back to the 1663. It is an imposing structure with a large open space in front, where birdseed sellers have created a healthy pigeon population (who enjoy a starring role in many New Mosque photos). It has a typically ornate interior, and was built as part of a complex that also contained a hospital, hamam, fountains and a market.
Massive dome of New Mosque (Emionu Camii or Valide Sultan Camii) of Istanbul
It was the last of the imperial mosques to be built, and the only one built during the reign of Sultan Mehmet III. The site was chosen by his mother, Safiye, which is why it was originally called Valide Sultan Camii (Queen Mother Mosque). It perhaps wasn’t the best choice if locations though – a Jewish community (the Karaites) had to be relocated to make room for it, and it was dangerously close to the water’s edge.
It took an exceptionally long time to build (works began 1597), because of funding issues and political turmoil. The original architect was executed, Sultan Mehmet III died and his mother was banished – a postponement that allowed the Karaites to come back and camp in the building site. The building was finally completed sixty years later by Valide Sultan Turhan Hatice, mother of Sultan Mehmet IV.
Located in the vibrant Eminönü, area, it is right next to the Spice Bazaar, the buzzing shopping streets of Tahtakale, the Rustem Pasha Mosque, and just a short walk from other popular sights like the Galata Tower, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The famous Gaziantep kebab restaurant, Hamdi Restaurant, is practically next door.
Spice Bazaar is located right next to the New Mosque, Istanbul
The easiest way is to take the tram to Eminonu, then cross the road, and it is right in front of you.
The New Mosque Turkey is open from 9am-6pm every day, but closed at prayer times. There is no New Mosque ticket price, but donations are welcome.