Rustem Pasha Mosque

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Türkiye) — Nestled in a market area near the Spice Market, Rustem Pasha Mosque features exquisite Iznik tiles in its compact yet opulent interior.

Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul with tourists
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The Rustem Pasha Mosque (in Turkish: Rüstem Paşa Camii) dates to 1560. It was designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan and was the first time he employed an octagonal layout.

It’s not the grandest mosque and deliberately makes no attempt to try to upstage the much larger Süleymaniye Mosque that towers on the hill above. Instead, it’s nestled in a bustling market area near the Spice Market in Eminonu. Instead, the mosque’s wealthy benefactor, Rüstem Pasha, a son-in-law of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566), focused on details, especially on the interior decorations.

The colored tiles used inside are a particular highlight. They were produced during the golden age of Iznik tiling. Because red was hard to glaze into a tile at the time, its use here was particularly distinctive.

Photos of Rustem Pasha Mosque

Main entrance of Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
The ornately decorated front wall of the mosque.
Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul interior with lights and ceiling
The ornately decorated domed ceiling.
Old ceramic tiles at Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
Blue and green were relatively easy colors to incorporate into tiles at the time, but red was much more difficult (and therefore much rarer).
Main entrance of Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
The intricate detail of the ceiling and top of the main entrance to Istanbul’s Rustem Pasha Mosque near the Spice (Egyptian) Market.
Istanbul street market overhead
Overhead shot of street vendors selling shoes and other items next to the Rüstem Pasha Mosque in downtown Istanbul, Turkey.
Interior of Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
The prayer hall.
Tourists inside Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
A massive chandelier hangs low over the middle of the prayer hall.
Shoe market outside the window of Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
A shoe market stall is seen through the metal grill of the stairway at Istanbul’s Rustem Pasha Mosque near the Spice (Egyptian) Market.
Main entrance of Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
The courtyard.
Dome ceiling design of Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
The ornate design at the apex of the ceiling dome in Istanbul’s Rustem Pasha Mosque near the Spice (Egyptian) Market. The vertical lines are wires suspending the lighting from the ceiling.
Interior of Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
Rustem Pasha Mosque.

More About Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul

  • Designed by the renowned architect Mimar Sinan
  • Completed in 1563, commissioned by Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha
  • Features exquisite İznik tilework with a variety of floral and geometric patterns
  • Built on a high terrace with a complex of shops beneath it
  • Contains a single central dome, surrounded by smaller domes and semi-domes

Rustem Pasha Mosque, located in the Hasırcılar neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey, is an architectural masterpiece designed by the renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. Commissioned by Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha, the mosque was completed in 1563. One of the most remarkable aspects of the mosque is its exquisite İznik tilework, which features a variety of floral and geometric patterns that adorn both the interior and exterior.

The mosque’s unique design includes a single central dome surrounded by smaller domes and semi-domes. Rustem Pasha Mosque is built on a high terrace, with a complex of shops beneath it, providing both a panoramic view of the city and an innovative way to generate funds for the mosque’s upkeep.

The interior of the mosque is characterized by its spaciousness and simplicity, with minimal ornamentation. The prayer hall is supported by four large piers and has a mihrab (prayer niche) made of marble. In addition to its stunning tilework and architectural design, Rustem Pasha Mosque also houses the tomb of Rüstem Pasha and his wife Mihrimah Sultan, daughter of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

What’s Nearby to Istanbul’s Rustem Pasha Mosque

How to Get to Rustem Pasha Mosque

  • Located in the Hasırcılar neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey
  • Nearest airport: Istanbul Airport (IST)
  • Nearest public transport hub: Eminönü Tram Station (T1 Line)

Hasırcılar Cd. Rüstem Paşa Cami No:62, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

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
  • Yaşar Kemal (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.

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