SINAN’S İSTANBUL: EDİRNEKAPI MİHRUMAH SULTAN MOSQUEWhen he completed the complex for Sultan Suleiman’s daughter Mihrumah Sultan, near the Byzantine walls at Edirnekapı, Sinan had been the imperial architect of the Ottoman Empire for thirty years and he was almost at his eighties. Upon the death of Sultan Suleiman in 1566 during a campaign in Hungary, Mihrumah Sultan’s brother, Selim II had sat on the Ottoman throne.
The empire that Sultan Selim II took over was more than 2.000.000 km2. In terms of military and political structure, the Ottoman Empire was being compared to the Roman Empire by some of the scholars of Europe at the time.
Like the Ottoman Empire, Sinan was at his most powerful and fruitful period while he was building the Edirnekapı Mihrumah Sultan Mosque and the complex surrounding it. Built also at that time, the Maglova Aqueduct, the Buyukçekmece Sultan Suleiman Bridge and the Rustem Pasha Mosque, all of which are masterpieces, demonstrated Sinan’s diverse genius in architecture and engineering. The Mihrumah Sultan Complex is no exception in that regard.
After the death of her mother Hurrem Sultan in 1558, Mihrumah Sultan had become the most powerful woman of Harem at the Topkapı Palace and hence, of the Ottoman Empire. The mosque and complex built in her name one of the highest hills of Istanbul was an indication of the position she then held.
Although there is various information on the construction date of the Mihrumah Sultan Complex, it is generally accepted that it was built between 1568-1570. Including a courtyard with 21 m wide and 57 m long, the complex also consists of a public bath, a mausoleum and a madrasa (educational centre), other than the mosque. The store that were once part of the complex, on the other hand, are no longer existent today.
The 20-m-wide dome of the mosque which sits on four columns, also called the "elephant feet", rises to 35 m high from the ground. The daylight, beaming through the windows of the supporting arches and the dome itself, which Sinan built by apparently bearing in his mind the meaning of the word Mihrumah ("the sun and the moon"), intensifies the feeling of broadness inside the mosque.
As architectural historian Gulru Necipoglu pointed out in her seminal book The Age of Sinan; the Mihrumah Sultan Mosque, which was the prominent inspiration for the lighted, single-domed mosques in the Ottoman Empire in 18th and 19th centuries, has also been one of the most copied works of Sinan in modern Turkey.