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Photographer's Note

The Süleymaniye Mosque, in Istanbul, was built on the order of Sultan Süleyman (Süleyman the Magnificent) " who was fortunate to be able to draw on the talents of the architectural genius of Sinan Pasha". The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1558.

This vast religious complex called the Süleymaniye...blended Islamic and Byzantine architectural elements. It combines tall, slender minarets with large domed buildings supported by half domes in the style of the Byzantine church Hagia Sophia (which the Ottomans converted into the mosque of Aya Sofya).

As with other imperial mosques in Istanbul, the mosque itself is preceded by a monumental courtyard (avlu) on its west side. The courtyard at the Süleymaniye is of exceptional grandeur with a colonnaded peristyle with columns of marble, granite and porphyry. At the four corners of the courtyard are the four minarets, a number only allowable to mosques endowed by a sultan (princes and princesses could construct two minarets; others only one). The minarets have a total of 10 galleries (serifes), which by tradition indicates that Suleiman I was the 10th Ottoman sultan.

The main dome is 53 meters high and has a diameter of 27.5 meters. At the time it was built, the dome was the highest in the Ottoman Empire, when measured from sea level, but still lower from its base and smaller in diameter than that of Hagia Sophia.

THE PHOTO: I captured this image by being in the right spot, at the right time, by accident. I was walking around with my cranky 4 yo son and everyone needed a rest. So we stopped on this grassy hillside about an hour before sunset. As I peered through some trees I saw that the mosque was going to be near the sunset, but I did not how close. I set up my tripod and waited. As the sun got closer, I only needed to move a few feet to find a spot where I had a good framed view, and then waited until the Sun started to move behind the mosque. I took about 10 shots over 10 minutes, and this one was perfect.

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