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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Edirne Selimiye Mosque

Edirne Selimiye Mosque

Meydan Mahallesi, Mimar Sinan Cd., 22020 Edirne Merkez/Edirne, Turkey



Selimiye Mosque is the most important and, at the same time, the most famous historical monument of Edirne - a city located in the European part of Turkey. This Ottoman imperial mosque was designed by Mimar Sinan, the most distinguished architect of the Ottoman Empire, responsible for the erection of more than 300 buildings, including bridges, medreses, and mosques. Selimiye Mosque was constructed between 1566 and 1574, on the orders of Sultan Selim II, also known as "Selim the Drunkard". Selimiye Mosque is considered to be Sinan's finest piece of work and the culmination of Islamic architecture in the Ottoman Empire. It was planned as a part of the entire architectural complex, known as külliye, consisting of the mosque, two medreses (theological schools), a covered bazaar called Selimiye Arastası, a clock tower, numerous courtyards and a library. The whole complex was inscribed in 2011 on the UNESCO World Heritage List, in recognition of architectural values and harmonious connection of its elements.
The mosque was erected on the orders of Sultan Selim II. Selim was stationed in Edirne as a prince when his father, Suleyman the Magnificent, campaigned in Persia in 1548. Edirne was the first major city that Europeans travelling to the Ottoman Empire reached after the journey through the Balkans. Building a large mosque complex there offered the Sultan an opportunity to use monumental architecture to impress the visitors with the greatness of the Ottoman Empire. The exact location of the new structure was decided personally by Sinan, the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire. Sinan planned the Selimiye Complex to fit the cityscape of Edirne, as the mosque was erected in proximity to two other mosques. Selimiye Complex underwent several renovations over the centuries. In 1584, Sinan conducted minor repairs after the mosque was damaged by lightning. In 1752, as a result of an earthquake, the balconies of one minaret and some windows were damaged. In 1808 some of the calligraphies decorating the mosque were renovated. At the same time, a roof was built over the fountain in the courtyard, but it no longer exists. Between 1839 and 1861, during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid I the interior was plastered and then covered with new ornaments, in some cases mimicking the original designs. In 1874, the lead from the roof of the bazaar was removed for the production of ammunition, and the building was covered with roofing tiles. During the Turkish-Russian War (1877-1878), Edirne was occupied by the Russian army. One of the Russian officers plundered some of the glazed tiles and carved decorations from the sultan's lodge. In 1913, during the siege of Edirne by the Bulgarian army, the dome of Selimiye Mosque was damaged by artillery. Thanks to the extraordinary strength of the structure, the mosque was not destroyed, and the trace of the damage was left unrepaired at Atatürk's command, as a warning to future generations.
According to the information received from local authorities, over 2 million people from the country and abroad visited the mosque. It is estimated that the number will exceed 3 million in 2018. Selimiye is not one of the thousands of mosque in Turkey. It is a mosque with features. The shortest phrase is 'the stone has turned into a diamond'. Selimiye is a mosque that entered the UNESCO Heritage List where even the passwords can not be solved today. Selimiye is a place of worship, a museum, a historical place and an education place. With these characteristics, it attracts both local and foreign tourists. This is why it is very popular. Ninety-nine percent of those who come here do not come here to pray as the first purpose. They come to see Selimiye's uniqueness and fascination. The dome is a symbol representing the universe in architecture. In all belief systems, therefore, the majority of religious structures are dominated by domes. In Europe, where the Christian world is dominant, dome architecture is dominant, especially in Italy. However, unlike Mimar Sinan, the architects who uncovered these works adopted two domed systems on top of each other. In most of the cathedrals, the outer dome was used as a mask that conceals the inner dome. Adapting to the tradition of Turkish architecture, Sinan covered the space with the single dome that he raised with incredible daring and outlined the outlook. Here, the outer image develops directly from the inner structure, and the inner structure and the outer structure are perceived as a whole.
Edirne Selimiye Mosque Complex with the functional integrity and each of the era of the architectural, social, cultural and economic standards and the symbol of the Old Mosque and the Three Hall of Fame is the center of the management area. (Golden Triangle) Arasta, which is one of the units of the Selimiye Complex, is a main element keeping the cultural and economic life of the mosque and its surroundings alive. Limit of management area, commercial and cultural ties with Arasta, Bedesten, Ali Paşa Bazaar, Saraçlar Caddesi, Locksmiths Bazaar, Rüstem Paşa Caravanserai, Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Baths and Saray Hamamı etc. foundations were to include cultural assets. Educational activities are organized for Turkish and for foreigner students from abroad. They study Holy Quran and get religious information in the complex.
Direct visit
Virtual visit (By using smart boards or projectors in the classrooms all students with the guidance of a teacher can visit the mosque. And also the students can visit the place individually from the given link.)




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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.