No wonder Napoleon said, “If the world was just one country, Istanbul would be its capital.” We are talking about Istanbul, one of the 81 cities of Turkey, socio-culturally the richest and also the oldest among them... How about if someone asked you which city comes to your mind when you mention love; would you say Paris? You would probably not think about Istanbul, right? Probably those who say so are not aware of the great loves in Istanbul...
Mihrimah Sultan, Dougther of Suleiman the Magnificent.
You might want to reconsider your answer to this question when you learn about the great love hidden in this magical city... The lover nailed down his love for his beloved to the two sides of Istanbul in the story that you are about to read. And who do you think this man is? SINAN THE ARCHITECT. The chief architect of the Ottoman Empire.
You think about mosques, madrassahs and bridges whenever you hear his name but you do not think about love, right? But Sinan the Architect was in love with such a person that it was impossible for him to speak out. He was in love with “Mihrimah Sultan”, the daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent from Hurrem Sultan. He has engraved his love to his works of art instead of crying out loud.
There are 2 Mihrimah Sultan Mosques in Istanbul. One is in the Anatolian Side-Üsküdar, whereas the other is in the European Side at Edirnekapı. At that time, these two mosques were built at the two opposite sides of Istanbul. Of course, one needs to know what “Mihrimah” means in order to better understand the love that is hidden under the domes of these two mosques. Mihrimah means moon and sun in Persian.
Architect Sinan decides to build the first mosque in Üsküdar and completes it in 7 years. In fact, he is inspired by Mihrimah Sultan’s waist long hair when designing the architecture for the mosque. When looked closely, one can see the silhouette of Mihrimah Sultan at the mosque in Üsküdar. Whereas the second mosque is built on the highest hill of Istanbul, right next to the walls of Edirnekapı.
Now you might wonder, we have been talking about two mosques, but where is the love in all this? What did “Mihrimah” mean? Moon and Sun. Mihrimah Sultan was born on the 21st of March. Each year on the 21st of March, the moon rises between the two minarets of the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Üsküdar when the sun goes down behind the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Edirnekapı.
There you have love! Architect Sinan has called his beloved by her name. He said, “You are my sun, my moon, my hidden love...” In this way, the love of the passionate lover, Archtiect Sinan was going to live thousands of years and maybe even forever. Can a lover give a better gift than this one to his beloved?
There is the answer to why Istanbul can be the city of love. If one day you visit Istanbul and you get to see both Mihrimah Sultan Mosques, who knows, maybe you will also feel intense emotions other than being in a place of worship.