Nuruosmaniye Mosque

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Türkiye) — Nuruosmaniye Mosque is newer than many of the other mosques in Istanbul, and its ornate Baroque style gives it a distinctive look and feel.

Prayer Hall of Nuruosmaniye Mosque Istanbul
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Compared to many of Istanbul’s other mosques, Nuruosmaniye is quite new. It was built between 1748 and 1755. So it’s still not exactly a new build.

While it shares some distinctive design features with other mosques in Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye Mosque was the first and largest mosque to be built in the Baroque style. The prayer hall is covered with a single dome large dome—one of the largest domes built in Ottoman mosques—that is illuminated with 32 windows.

Throughout the mosque are 174 windows that provide quite a bit of natural light. It’s also distinctive for its polyangular cloister, making it unique in Ottoman architecture. And its interior, while ornate, is a bit more restrained than some of the others.

The mosque complex also has a madrasa (religious school), an imaret (soup kitchen), a library, a tomb, and a marble public water fountain. Recent restoration works also discovered another dozen rooms beneath the mosque.

Its construction was ordered and funded by Sultan Mahmud I (who reigned from 1730 to 1754), who was also known as the Hunchback. He died before it was completed, but his brother, Sultan Osman III, who succeeded him to the throne, saw the project through during his brief reign. When it opened it was given the name Nur-u Osmanh, meaning ‘divine light of the Ottoman.’ The brothers were both interred nearby in Valide Sultan’s Tomb, next to the New Mosque and Spice Bazaar.

Photos of Nuruosmaniye Mosque in Istanbul

Nuruosmaniye Mosque Courtyard
The courtard of Nuruosmaniye Mosque. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Mihrab in Nuruosmaniye Mosque Mihrab
The Mihrab niche. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Nuruosmaniye Mosque Istanbul Skyline
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Nuruosmaniye Mosque Lights
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Nuruosmaniye Mosque Minaret
One of the minarets, seen from below. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Nuruosmaniye Mosque Dome
The dome over the prayer hall. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Nuruosmaniye Mosque Grand Bazaar Gate 1 (Nuruosmaniye Kapisi)
Looking out from the courtyard to one of the gates of the Grand Bazaar. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Nuruosmaniye Mosque Courtyard
The courtyard. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Nuruosmaniye Mosque Dome
The roof of the prayer hall. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Nuruosmaniye Mosque Grand Bazaar Gate 1 (Nuruosmaniye Kapisi)
Looking out at the bustle of one of the gates of the Grand Bazaar. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel

More About Nuruosmaniye Mosque

  • Nuruosmaniye Mosque is an 18th-century Ottoman Baroque-style mosque located in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Constructed between 1748 and 1755, it was commissioned by Sultan Mahmud I
  • The mosque’s architect was Simeon Kalfa, a member of the Armenian community in Istanbul
  • Notable for its combination of Baroque and Ottoman architectural styles, it is considered a unique example in Islamic architecture
  • The mosque features a single minaret, unusual for large Ottoman mosques
  • The complex includes a madrasa, a library, and a fountain for ablutions
  • Nuruosmaniye Mosque is named after the light (nur) of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire

The Nuruosmaniye Mosque is a prime example of the Ottoman Baroque architectural style. Completed in 1755, it was commissioned by Sultan Mahmud I and designed by architect Simeon Kalfa. This unique mosque features a harmonious blend of Baroque and traditional Ottoman architectural elements, making it a noteworthy structure in the world of Islamic architecture.

Notably, the Nuruosmaniye Mosque has only one minaret, which is an unusual feature for a large Ottoman mosque. The mosque complex also includes a madrasa, a library, and a fountain for ablutions. Inside, visitors will find intricate calligraphy, detailed tile work, and an impressive main dome that measures 85 feet (26 meters) in diameter and 141 feet (43 meters) in height.

What’s Nearby to Nuruosmaniye Mosque

  • Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets
  • Basilica Cistern, an ancient underground water storage system dating back to the 6th century
  • Sultanahmet Square, home to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace
  • Spice Bazaar, a vibrant market known for its exotic spices, dried fruits, and Turkish delights
  • Suleymaniye Mosque, another grand Ottoman mosque designed by the famous architect Mimar Sinan

How to Get to Nuruosmaniye Mosque

  • The mosque is located in Istanbul, Turkey
  • The nearest major airport is Istanbul Airport (IST)
  • The closest public transport hub is the Vezneciler metro station, accessible via the M2 Yenikapi-Haciosman metro line

It stands next to Gate 1 (Nuruosmaniye Kapisi) of the Grand Bazaar.

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)

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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 »