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 completed in 1665. 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
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.