And in this article we’ll look at three mosques. 

First of all Kılı埁li Paşa mosque at Tophane right next to the tramway stop of the same name. 

Built in 1580-81 this mosque is part of a complex known as a külliye which comprised a hamam, a soup kitchen, a theological school and a public fountain as well as the actual mosque. 

Kılı埁li Paşa was a famous Ottoman admiral born in Spain he was captured by Algerian pirates as a young man, spent fourteen years as a galley slave and, after regaining his freedom, he joined Süleyman’s service as a buccaneer and became a Muslim. 

Sinan built the entire külliye when he was well into his 80s and it is sadly in great need of restoration though still an interesting place to visit. 

{mosimage}Next, to a very simple but unusual mosque in Karaköy called the Yer Altı or Underground Mosque. 

It isn’t easy to find and your best bet is to stand at the Karakoy end of the Galata Bridge, turn right and walk along the street parallel to the water and keep asking for the mosque – or hail a cab and make it the driver’s problem to find it for you.
This mosque is believed to actually be the dungeons of the Genoan castle that once stood on this site, and was part of fortifications of which the only extant evidence is the Galata Tower. 

Certainly, as you can see from the above picture, the mosque is a series of narrow enclosures between substantial pillars supporting a vaulted ceiling – easy to imagine it as dungeons. 

It also houses the tombs of two sainted Muslim martyrs both of whom are supposed to have died in the first Arab siege of Constantinople in 674 – 78.
Finally the famous Süleymaniye, another külliye on the other side of the Golden Horn. 

Walk across the Galata Bridge, turn right at the other end (use the underground walkways to make this turn and cross the main road) then walk along for a couple of hundred yards and you will see a brown sign to the Süleymaniye. 

{mosimage}Follow the sign, and others which follow, and a 10-15 minute walk uphill brings you to the main entrance of this famous complex, one of the highlights of the Istanbul skyline as can be seen in the picture.
The village wing of has to confess that, in almost forty years association with Turkey, she had never before visited this famous mosque complex. 

So on arrival was disappointed to find all but one narrow wing of the mosque closed off for restoration.  Signs outside stated restoration was scheduled for 2007 – 08, but on asking a guard when it would be fully re-opened, he replied “This time next year”. 

Furthermore the tombs of Süleyman and his wife Roxelana, to be found in the mosque garden, had already closed by the time she arrived (they are currently open only in the mornings). 

However, the scale of the whole complex could still be appreciated, the imam delivered a sermon in very tuneful Arabic and, a bonus, the tomb of Sinan who built the whole complex, is also to be found at the back of the mosque.

So plan to visit the Süleymaniye from late 2009 onwards, get there before noon and you are in for a treat.