The Grand Çamlıca Mosque currently is the biggest mosque in Turkey. It is a huge complex for Islamic worship which was completed and opened on 7 March 2019. The mosque stands astride Çamlıca Hill in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul, and is visible from much of the centre of the city.
The complex incorporates an art gallery, library, and conference hall. It can hold up to 63,000 worshippers at a time (can accommodate up to 100,000 people in case of an earthquake).
The history of the Grand Çamlıca Mosque
The plannings for the Çamlıca Mosque began in the year 2000 and was led by two female architects, Bahar Mızrak and Hayriye Gül Totu. Their design won second prize in a competition to come up with something suitable. The mosque was officially inaugurated on 3 May 2019 by the current President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Several world leaders were present at the ceremony.
Çamlıca Mosque was only the third mosque in Turkey to have six minarets (after the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque in Istanbul and the Sabancı Merkez Mosque in Adana).
The mosque’s design was inspired by Classical Ottoman architecture and the works of Mimar Sinan. The exterior of the mosque has been described as “a huge box attached to a colonnaded courtyard; on top of the box, domes and half-domes swarm around a squat central dome surmounted by a golden, crescent-shaped finial.”
The exterior design may be influenced by Sinan but “its use of concrete has relegated Sinan’s structural devices – the dome-clusters, for example, that he used to diffuse the downward thrust of the main dome – to mere ornament.” It was supposedly designed to rival Sinan’s famous Suleymaniye Mosque, across the Bosphorus on the European side of Istanbul.
- At 72 metres in height, the main dome of Çamlıca Mosque symbolises the 72 nations residing in Istanbul, Turkey.
- The dome spanning 34 metres represents the city of Istanbul (34 is the city’s car plate number).
- The main dome is 3.12 metres wide, 7.77 metres high and weighs 4.5 tons.
- The mosque’s gates are some of the largest inside a place of worship in the world – the main gate is 5 metres long, 6.5 metres high and weighs 6 tons.
Çamlıca Mosque has six minarets which represent the six articles of Islamic faith. Four of the six minarets feature three balconies that stand 107.1 metres high in recognition of the Seljuks‘ Victory at Manzikert in 1071. The other two minarets feature two balconies and are 90 metres high. Four of the minarets are centred around the central dome with the other two on the outer ends of the mosque.
The interior of the mosque was designed with a more minimalist approach. The two female designers said that their use of “light, colour, glass, ornamentation and calligraphy” was intended to make people feel more spiritual within the space.
Çamlıca Mosque features a museum, underground parking with space for 3,500 vehicles, an art gallery, library, conference hall, and childcare facilities. The art gallery covers 3,500 square metres while the library fills 3,000 square metres. The conference hall is able to seat up to 1,071 people and the mosque features eight art workshops. In April 2022 a new Museum of Islamic Civilisations opened as part of the mosque complex.
How to get to the Çamlıca Mosque
The complex is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, so you need to cross the Bosporus and head to Üsküdar district, high up on Çamlıca Hill. The mosque has parking places enough for 3,500 cars underground, so it’s easy to arrive by car.
By public transport
In 2022 work was under way to add a spur to the M5 Metro line from Üsküdar to include a stop at the Çamlıca Mosque. So soon it will be possible to arrive by metro directly to the entrance of the mosque.
Until the new stop is not open, you can take the M5 Metro from Uskudar Marmaray Station 6 stops to Umraniye Station. Then look for Bus 320 from Santral and take it 10 stops to Buyuk Camlica Camii. This whole journey will take around 30 minutes depending on traffic.
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Useful information about the place
Where to find the Çamlıca Mosque?
The Çamlıca Mosque & Complex is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, so you need to cross the Bosporus and head to Üsküdar district, high up on Çamlıca Hill.
Is it free to enter the Çamlıca Mosque?
To enter Çamlıca Mosque is completely free of charge.
When is the best time to visit the Çamlıca Mosque?
The Çamlıca Mosque is open every day of the week from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm. It is closed to the public during prayer hours.
Best experiences in Istanbul
Istanbul has everything a visitor needs to have a great experience. Its natural beauty draws visitors from around the world- along with its numerous important sites and cultural heritage. As far as things to do in the place go, there are plenty of activities available for visitors.
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3 Replies to “The Biggest Mosque in Turkey – The Grand Çamlıca Mosque”
What an amazing place!
Thank you for sharing this beautiful mosque. I had not heard of it before now, and I found your post and photos very interesting.
Stunning! Especially at night.