A symbolic architecture of Ottoman era known as Selimiye Mosque stands with its glory in the Turkish city of Edirne. Selimiye Mosque , the pearl of Edirne, Turkey was constructed between 1568-1574 by Sultan Selim II with the ambition of making it as one the most magnificent Islamic structure and it was designed by the architect Mimar Sinan. No doubt after its construction it proved itself to be a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
About the selection of the site , it is to be believed that Sultan Selim II saw the Prophet Mohammed ( PBUH ) in his dream and upon His instructions he decided to build a mosque on the site where Selimiye Mosque is located today. Sinan the architect applied “Ground Subsidence” to compress the land before putting its foundation to avoid the future fractures and landslides which might occur to the mosque. All the big stones that were brought by Sinan were piled up that kept lying on the construction site for 2 years. Its construction took a long period and Sultan Selim was unhappy for the delay but Sinan convinced him that according to his calculations the delay was necessary.
This splendid Selimiye mosque is situated in the middle of a complex ( Kulliya ) which comprises a Medrese, a Dar-ul-Hadith, a Timekeeper’s room and an Arasta (row of shops). Dar-ül Hadith is located on the north, while Dar-ül Kurra is situated on the south, next to the Arasta which was built by Sultan Murad III in order to get financial support for the maintenance of Selimiye Mosque. The most attractive part of Selimiye Mosque is its amazing dome with 43,25m height and 31,25m diameter. This huge dome weighing 2000 tons and which is considered as beyond possibility , stands on huge columns named “Fil Ayağı” which are joined by each other through arches with 6m width. This dome can be compared with the dome of Hagia Sophia and such a dome did not exist in any Islamic country till that era.
The Selimiye mosque is surrounded by four glorious minarets and Sinan constructed the structure in a manner that the Mihrab of the mosque could be viewed from every location within the mosque. Muezzin’s mahfil was constructed against the big door, just below the main dome. It has 2,4 meters length and 6 x 6 dimensions. Sultan’s mahfil is located on the left of the Mihrab of the Mosque. The walls of Sultan’s mahfil were decorated with the most precious ceramics of that time. The walls of its beautiful Mihrab are carved with monolithic marbles. All the indoor of Selimiye are decorated with beautiful ceramics and wonderful calligraphy. There is plaster embellishments under gallery flooring. In order to create proper inside lightning a total number of 384 windows in Selimiye Mosque were created. So the Selimiye Mosque had a better lighting system than Hagia Sophia and Süleymaniye.
Selimiye Mosque is truly the pearl of Edrine , Turkey and its conservation to was done during 1954–71 and today it is also in function as a place of worship. However the adjacent Madresas are used as the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art of Edirne, and Dar-ul-Hadith to the southwest, is no more in use.