Yeni Camii is an Ottoman era imperial mosque in Istanbul. In English it is commonly known as The New Mosque. (Yeni Camii translates from Turkish as “New Mosque.”) Situated on the Golden Horn near the busy Galata Bridge, the New Mosque is one of the best-known sights of Istanbul.
Living in the New World it is hard to imagine a building that was finished in 1665 being called “new.” Indeed, Yeni Camii looks more recently built, at least if “recent” is defined as in the last century. The New Mosque, as with many of Istanbul’s grand religious structures, hides its age well. Inside and out, the Ottoman mosques have aged gently; they have survived well in a geologically active region.
The architectural style of the New Mosque has much in common with the other Ottoman imperial mosques. Domes and semi domes in a pyramidal arrangement cover the large internal space. As with Istanbul’s other imperial mosques, there is a large monumental courtyard (avlu) on its west side. A colonnaded peristyle with 24 domes surrounds the interior of the courtyard. Though actual ritual purifications are performed with water taps on the south wall, an ornamental sadirvan or ablution fountain sits in the center of the court.
On the inside the New Mosque is like other Ottoman imperial mosques. Intricate patterns and carefully crafted Arabic script cover the walls and the inside of the domes. It looks like a Fabergé egg turned inside out. On the floor a patterned red carpet extends from wall to wall; the thick rug feels plush to bare feet.
Near the New Mosque are the Galata Bridge and the fresh fish market. Numerous restaurants sit on a deck below the bridge’s road surface. On the mosque side of the Golden Horn fried fish sandwiches are sold from ornate boats rocking at their moorings. The finished sandwiches are passed over to the customers waiting on the bank. It’s street food at it best–fresh, cheap, and good. A fish sandwich is a good cap to a visit to Yeni Camii.