Tourist’s guide to Rustem Pasha Mosque: a forgotten pearl of Istanbul

Istanbul is world famous for its unique religious complexes, and many of us have heard about the Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye and Hagia Sophia. But few people know that in the metropolis there is another very interesting building – the Rustem Pasha Mosque. Lost among the shops of the Egyptian bazaar, the shrine from afar looks quite simple and resembles the most ordinary mosque. What can not be said about its interior decoration, presented in the symbolic for Turkey Iznik pottery, which definitely deserves the attention of a traveler. You can find out a detailed description of the mosque, as well as information about its location from our article.

Rustem Pasha Mosque

Detailed information about Hagia Sophia is presented on this page , about the Blue Mosque is here .

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Short story

Vizier Rustem Pasha
Rustem Pasha

The initiator of the construction of the temple was Rustem Pasha, a talented statesman who rose to the rank of great Ottoman vizier. But most of all he is known for his marriage to the only daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent Mihrimah.

Rustem Pasha was reputed to be a very difficult person, who had a lot of spiteful critics, but it was he who helped Padishah’s wife Roksolana to uncover the plot of the eldest son of the Sultan Mustafa against his father. Upon learning of the betrayal, the Ottoman ruler gave the order to strangle Mustafa and execute all his sons. After these events, the padishah, dejected by what had happened, moved away from the vizier, but soon replaced his anger with mercy. During his state activities, Rustem Pasha managed to save a lot of money, mainly due to bribery, which, in general, was considered a common occurrence in those days.

Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul
Suleymaniye Mosque

The vizier spent part of the accumulated sums on charity and the construction of public buildings. In 1550, Pasha decided to build a mosque and invites eminent Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, who built the great Suleymaniye Mosque for the Sultan four years before, to implement his plan. But the vizier was not destined to see the finished structure: he died in 1561, a year before the completion of the mosque. Many of the ill-wishers of Rustem Pasha afterwards condemned him for his stinginess in the decoration of the building, believing that the shrine should look more luxurious and majestic.

Today, the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul is an active temple where services are held daily. But many tourists simply ignore this attraction. Perhaps this is due to the location of the mosque: firstly, it is located somewhat remotely from the main historical sites of the city, and secondly, finding the entrance to the building is quite problematic. But when visiting Istanbul, it is definitely worth looking at the shrine, because its interior will affect the hearts of even the most sophisticated travelers.

Architecture and Interior

If you look at the photo of the Rustem Pasha Mosque from the outside, the building may seem rather modest and no different from other Islamic temples. The building has a classic rectangular shape, one minaret is installed on the side. In the center of the mosque is one large dome with a diameter of 16 meters, which are supported by four smaller domes. Near the facade is a small courtyard with a traditional fountain for ablutions in front of the prayer.

Rustem Pasha Mosque outside

But only once inside, the traveler realizes how misleading the first impression can be. As in Sulaymaniyah, the architect Sinan gave great importance here to coverage. In order to make maximum use of the natural solar source, the architect installed 24 windows on the main dome, due to which the interior space in the mosque turned out to be very bright.

In the mosque of Rustem Pasha

The interior of the shrine is dominated by a special type of ceramic tile produced in only one Turkish city called Iznik. A characteristic feature of such tiles are geometric patterns made of stems and flowers: artisans managed to create more than 70 different shapes from just one tulip. Especially carefully Iznik masters worked on the main tile of the temple, depicting the sacred Mecca.

The main dome of the Rustem Pasha Mosque

Initially, the tiles used in the decoration of the shrine were saturated in blue and turquoise. But in the future, the interior was supplemented with ceramics of light purple and emerald colors. The floors in the temple are decorated with red carpets with blue ornaments, and in the center of the hall there is a large chandelier with dozens of lamps. The main dome inside is painted white and decorated with gold patterns. Arched window openings are also presented in bright colors and many of them are decorated with stained glass.

Finishing walls and arched openings

In general, in the decoration of the mosque named after Rustem Pasha, the handwriting of the architect Sinan is clearly traced, who managed to create a peaceful atmosphere in the temple that meets the main goal of the institution – the unity of parishioners with God. And he was helped by the skillful creations of the Iznik masters, considered today to be an exemplary indicator of the Iznik pottery.

See also: What to see in Istanbul – a sightseeing route with a map in Russian .

Practical information

Address: Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Hasırcılar Cd. No: 62, 34116 Fatih district, Istanbul.

Visiting hours: you can go to the mosque in between prayers.

Cost: admission is free.

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How to get there

Tram line T 1 Kabataş - Bağcılar

The Rustem Pasha Temple is located on the New Mosque Square in the Eminenu district of Istanbul. To get to the object, you must use the tram line T 1 Kabataş – Bağcılar. It is very convenient that the tram of this line runs close to the main attractions of Istanbul, such as Hagia Sophia and Topkapi. If you are leaving from Sultanahmed Square, you can board the car at Sultanahmet or Gülhane stations and land in the Eminönü area. Next, you need to walk about 600 meters to the Egyptian market west of the stop along Ragıp Gümüşpala Cd.

Entrance to the Rustem Pasha Mosque

The entrance to the mosque was hidden among the trading stalls of the bazaar, so finding it is not so easy. You will have to wander through the narrow streets of the market in search of stairs, which leads to the desired place. In order not to spend too much time, contact the locals and ask them to indicate the right direction.

Note: In which area of ​​Istanbul is better for a traveler to stay, see here .

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Visiting Rules

It is necessary to observe the rules of appearance

As with any other religious institution, special rules must be observed in the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul. First of all, they relate to appearance. Women should be covered with their heads, hands and feet should also be hidden from prying eyes. Men are not allowed to go inside in shorts and a T-shirt. At the entrance to the shrine, you must remove your shoes, leaving it at the door or putting it in a bag.

Do not go near praying parishioners

In the mosque they can pray not only during prayer hours, but also at any other time. Therefore, if there are worshipers in the hall, do not go near them. Loud conversations and laughter are not allowed in the temple; you need to behave calmly and accurately. It is not forbidden to take a photo in the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul, but here it is worthwhile to exercise restraint and, if possible, not violate the established rules.


The Rustem Pasha Mosque is a little-known landmark of Istanbul, so you will not catch crowds of tourists here. The calm and peaceful atmosphere of the temple, combined with its skillful decoration, will surely give you new impressions. Therefore, when visiting a metropolis, do not forget to add this object to your tour list.

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