of the greatest masterpieces of classical Ottoman
architecture is in the city of Edirne, which
was capital of the Ottoman Empire for 90 years
prior to the conquest of Istanbul. Selimiye
Mosque was built for Sultan Selim II (1566-1574),
the son of Süleyman the Magnificent, and its
architect was Sinan, the Euclid of his age.
The mosque is Sinan's most glorious achievement
and in it he set the golden signature of his
mastery upon the city of Edirne. I first knew
Selimiye Mosque amidst lights and colours, its
four slender minarets, the tallest of any Ottoman
mosque, drawing me from afar. I saw the soaring
space of the interior illuminated by the early
morning sun pouring in through the 999 windows,
and by night drenched in the light of 3788 lamps.
The tulips, hyacinths, violets, carnations,
marguerites, roses and pomegranate blossom of
the spectacularly beautiful Iznik wall tiles
did not seem immutable, but ever-changing as
the day progressed and night followed day. After
some time inside the mosque the dome which Sinan
believed surpassed that of Haghia Sophia made
its presence felt.