Suleymaniye Camii (Mosque)

The learning of history and art in western countries like the U.S. is sad and pathetic, with an almost complete focus on western countries and a nearly total dismissal of Asian and African countries. However, the area where it can become grey in terms of what is actually covered is for empires such as the Ottoman Empire. Most of us here in the U.S. learned about the Roman and Ottoman Empires in school, and because of this, we got to learn a little bit about Islam as well as some of the famous mosque structures that were built during these grand old times. When I took art history in high school, we also covered these famous mosques, now in modern day Istanbul, and among the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in terms of fame and admiration was also the Suleymaniye Mosque. This mosque sits on the Third Hill of Istanbul, Turkey, and was originally commissioned by Suleyman the Magnificent, a sultan at the time during the Ottoman Empire in about 1550. Like most mosques of its time, the entrance has a beautiful, grand courtyard with a fountain leading into the mosque itself, and the structure is made up mostly of marble and granite. I’m not even sure what I admire more: the interior of these grand mosques or the courtyards themselves. They all have great symmetry and design, and I can’t get enough of the arches and the elaborate tile details. While a lot of people look back at the Roman Empire and admire the architecture then, I think I get more excited at the Muslim style architecture of this period instead. In retrospect, I actually hated learning about Roman architecture in general, especially all the annoying nude statues that had overemphasized penises. That is NOT a turn-on for me.

What I always admire the most about mosques like these are how well preserved they are. It takes so much time, money, and energy to preserve these great, historical structures, and I always feel so lucky to be able to have the privilege of seeing them in real life with my own eyes.

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