Istanbul’s Grand “New” Mosque

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Türkiye) — In Istanbul, new is relative. The New Mosque might be newer than the Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia, but having been completed in 1665 it is historic in its own right. And it’s also stunningly beautiful.

Prayer Hall of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
Last Updated:

In Istanbul, “new” is relative. The New Mosque, or Yeni Cami, is new in the sense that it’s newer than Hagia Sophia (built in 537), the Blue Mosque (1616), and Suleymaniye Mosque (1558).

But it’s also not so new in the sense it was started in 1597 and completed around 1663-65. By then the Ottoman Empire had peaked, but it was also a period that saw some of the empire’s greatest architectural achievements.

Many of Istanbul’s largest mosques occupy the high ground. Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are on top of the hill in Sultanahmet. Suleymaniye Mosque is on the city’s Third Hill. But the New Mosque is on low ground, on the waterfront of Eminonu, on the banks of the Golden Horn. It’s on prime real estate. It’s next to the Spice Bazaar and is fronted by a large plaza. In the afternoon and evening, it’s inevitably crowded with people.

And with its ornate decorations inside, with domes rivaling those of the much more famous and slightly older brethren, the Blue Mosque, it is stunningly beautiful in its own unique way.

Photos of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) in Istanbul

Courtyard of New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul at Dusk
The courtyard with its fountain. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
The domes above the prayer hall. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
The southwestern side faces the Spice Bazaar. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
An entrance on the southwestern side. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Istanbul's Eminonu Quarter on the Waterfront of the Golden Horn
Seen from the Eminonu waterfront. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Courtyard of New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul at Dusk
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Dome of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul at Dusk
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul at Dusk
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Courtyard of New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
The courtyard. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Prayer Hall of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Courtyard of New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Sun Behind New Mosque in Istanbul
With a nearly full moon in the hazy distance through the minarets. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
New Mosque (Yeni Cami) Istanbul
The ornately decorated interior of the prayer hall of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) in Istanbul. Situated in the busy Eminonu quarter of Istanbul, at the southern end of the Galata Bridge, the New Mosque (or Yeni Cami) dates to around 1665. Its large prayer hall is decorated in the distinctive Ottoman imperial style.

More About Yeni Cami (New Mosque)

  • Yeni Cami, also known as the New Mosque, is an Ottoman-era mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
  • The mosque’s construction began in 1597 under the rule of Safiye Sultan and was completed around 1663-65 during the reign of Turhan Hatice Sultan
  • Yeni Cami was designed by the renowned Ottoman architect Davut Aga and later completed by his apprentice Mustafa Aga
  • The mosque features two minarets with three balconies each, and a central dome surrounded by several smaller domes
  • Yeni Cami is decorated with extensive Iznik tile work, calligraphy, and stained glass windows
  • The mosque complex includes a courtyard, a tomb, and a charitable foundation building

Yeni Cami, also known as the New Mosque, is a historic Ottoman-era mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. The construction of this impressive structure began in 1597 under the patronage of Safiye Sultan and was later completed around 1663-65 during the reign of Turhan Hatice Sultan. The mosque’s design is attributed to the famous Ottoman architect Davut Aga, and after his death, it was completed by his apprentice Mustafa Aga.

One of the key features of Yeni Cami is its two minarets, each adorned with three balconies. The mosque’s central dome is surrounded by several smaller domes, showcasing the intricate architectural style of the Ottoman Empire. The interior of the mosque is richly decorated with Iznik tile work, calligraphy, and stained glass windows. The mosque complex also includes a courtyard, a tomb, and a building that once housed a charitable foundation.

What’s Nearby to Yeni Cami (New Mosque)

  • Spice Bazaar, a historic market famous for its wide variety of spices, sweets, and teas
  • Galata Bridge, a prominent bridge over the Golden Horn offering picturesque views and dining options
  • Galata Tower, a medieval stone tower with a panoramic observation deck
  • Suleymaniye Mosque, another grand Ottoman mosque designed by the legendary architect Mimar Sinan
  • Istanbul Archaeological Museum, housing a vast collection of artifacts from various ancient civilizations

How to Get to Yeni Cami (New Mosque)

  • The mosque is situated in Istanbul, Turkey
  • The nearest major airport is Istanbul Airport (IST)
  • The closest public transport hub is the Eminonu tram stop, which can be reached via the T1 Kabatas-Bagcilar tram line

What to Know Before You Go

  • This is a fully functioning mosque, and because of its location in a busy part of town it can get quite busy with worshippers, especially in the afternoon and evening.
  • Finding the New Mosque is easy. If you go down to the Eminonu waterfront you can’t miss it. It’s also right next to the Spice Bazaar.
  • As is standard in mosques, you will be expected to remove your shoes before entering. You’ll find plastic bags for your shoes at the entrance. Once inside you can either carry your shoes or put them in one of the cubby holes along the back and side walls.
  • There are other dress codes expected that are common to Istanbul’s mosques and that are being enforced more strongly in recent years. Women are asked to wear a scarf over their head. Shorts and sleeveless shirts are frowned upon. Women’s skirts should extend below the knees. Unlike the Blue Mosque, where there are booths to borrow scarves or robes, you’ll have to bring your own here. Beautiful scarves are readily available for purchase in the Grand Bazaar and you can also find them in the shops in the streets surrounding the Spice Bazaar. Unless you go for top-end cashmere or silk, they don’t have to be at all expensive.

Want to Read More About Istanbul?

Istanbul is a city of extraordinary depth and history. If you’re looking to dive deeper, here are some books worth a look. (Some are also available as audiobooks—great for a long flight or train ride.)

Istanbul: Memories and the City, by Orhan Pamuk

In this memoir, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author reflects on his childhood and youth in Istanbul, offering a rich portrayal of the city’s history, culture, and ever-changing landscape.

Istanbul: Memories and the City (Paperback)
  • OrhanPamuk (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain

This classic travelogue follows Mark Twain as he journeys through Europe and the Holy Land, including a visit to Istanbul, which he captures with his trademark wit and humor.

The Innocents Abroad: Original Illustrations
  • Twain, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Strolling Through Istanbul: The Classic Guide to the City, by Hilary Sumner-Boyd and John Freely

This comprehensive guide and travelogue takes readers on a historical and cultural journey through Istanbul, detailing its most famous landmarks and hidden gems.

Strolling Through Istanbul: The Classic Guide to the City
  • Sumner-Boyd, Hilary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Bridge on the Drina, by Ivo Andrić

This historical novel, by a winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, is set in the Ottoman Empire. It tells the story of the construction of the famous Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the lives of the people who lived around it. While not set in Istanbul specifically, it offers a window into the wider region’s history and Ottoman influence.

The Bridge on the Drina (Phoenix Fiction)
  • Andric, Ivo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

A Fez of the Heart: Travels Around Turkey in Search of a Hat, by Jeremy Seal

This travelogue follows the author’s journey through Turkey, including a visit to Istanbul, as he explores the country’s history, culture, and politics, all while searching for the once-iconic fez hat.

A Fez of the Heart: Travels around Turkey in Search of a Hat
  • Seal, Jeremy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Birds Have Also Gone, by Yashar Kemal

In this novel, set in Istanbul, the author tells the story of three boys who capture and sell pigeons in the city, offering a unique perspective on the city’s rapidly changing landscape and the challenges faced by its inhabitants.

The Birds Have Also Gone
  • Kemal, Yaşar (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Towers of Trebizond, by Rose Macaulay

This satirical travelogue (i.e., a novel) follows the narrator as she embarks on an eccentric journey to Istanbul and the ancient city of Trebizond, exploring themes of love, religion, and the clash of cultures.

The Towers of Trebizond: A Novel (FSG Classics)
  • Macaulay, Rose (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2024-03-01 at 05:50. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Travel Advice for Turkey (Turkiye)

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Turkey (Turkiye) (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Turkey (Turkiye) here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Turkey (Turkiye) here.

General Information on Turkey (Turkiye)

The CIA's World Factbook contains a lot of good factual information Turkey (Turkiye) and is updated frequently.

  • Official Name: Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti)
  • Location: Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (the Anatolian Peninsula), bordered by eight countries: Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest, Georgia to the northeast, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the east, and Iraq and Syria to the south
  • Coastline: Mediterranean Sea to the south, Aegean Sea to the west, and Black Sea to the north
  • Capital: Ankara
  • Largest City: Istanbul
  • Population (2021 estimate): 85 million
  • Ethnic Groups: Predominantly Turkish (70-75%), Kurds (19%), and other minorities (including Arabs, Circassians, and Laz)
  • Official Language: Turkish
  • Religions: Islam (predominantly Sunni), with small Christian and Jewish communities
  • Government: Unitary parliamentary republic
  • President (as of 2021): Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • Prime Minister (as of 2021): Not applicable (the position was abolished in 2018)
  • Area: 783,356 square kilometers (302,455 square miles)
  • GDP (2021 estimate): $771 billion (nominal)
  • GDP per capita (2021 estimate): $9,042 (nominal)
  • Currency: Turkish Lira (TRY)
  • Time Zone: GMT+3 (Turkey Time)
  • Internet TLD: .tr
  • Calling Code: +90
  • Major Industries: Textiles, food processing, automotive, electronics, tourism, mining, steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper
  • Natural Resources: Coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite, emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites, clay, hydropower, arable land

Turkey vs Turkiye vs Türkiye

The country's name has traditionally been Anglicized as Turkey, and that's how most of us have always known it. But the country's government has been pushing for adoption of the Turkish-language name, Türkiye. Since that doesn't always work well on Anglicized keyboards, you also often see it rendered as Turkiye. You can find more information on this here.

David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »