Hırka-i Şerif Mosque: Istanbul’s Islamic Gem

Hirka i serif

Updated On: April 15, 2024 by   Fatma MohamedFatma Mohamed

Hırka-i Şerif Mosque is an iconic historical mosque in the dynamic city of Istanbul. This architectural gem is a faithful witness to the rich history of Ottoman architecture and the cultural heritage of Türkiye. It is one of the most famous mosques in this archaeological area.

The mosque is also known as the Mosque of the Blessing Mantle (cloak)— the cloak of the Prophet Muhammad. It makes the place a very special and holy mosque for Muslims worldwide.

It’s no wonder to see long lines of people in front of the mosque waiting to visit it from all over Türkiye and the Islamic world. When you enter the mosque, you will be greeted by fantastic Islamic motifs, decorations and intricate Arabic calligraphy. The serene atmosphere invites you to immerse yourself in prayer and submissiveness.

If you want to learn more about the religious and Islamic heritage in Türkiye and enjoy a peaceful and faith trip, let’s go deeper!

Location

The historic mosque, which goes back to the 19th century, is located in the Muhtasip Iskandar neighbourhood in the heart of the landmark Fatih district in the European part of Istanbul. Due to the central location, it’s easy to reach the mosque by public transportation.

Hırka-i Şerif Mosque’s History

The mosque construction started in 1847 and was completed in 1851 by Sultan Abdulmajid during the Ottoman era. He ordered the building of the mosque to preserve the cloak of Prophet Muhammed— known in Turkish as Hirka-I Şerif, and that’s why it’s named like that.

Structure and Design 

Turkish references describe the mosque as a masterpiece built with great precision and care. The structure and design of the Hırka-i Şerif Mosque is simple but graceful.

The mosque was built inside guard walls extending from east to west. It has three massive gates surrounded by small gardens with very high trees. The doors were made of wood decorated with zinc. It has large hooked iron handles, and its main entrance opens to the east.

The mosque has two floors. The upper floor of the mosque houses the cloak of the Prophet Muhammed, which Turks called “Hirka-I Şerif”. At the same upper part are praying balconies overlooking the main praying space, imams’ and preachers’ rooms, and the halls for learning the Holy Quran and its provisions and lessons of jurisprudence, Arabic language and others.

The first floor has a pulpit, mihrab (prayer niche), with stunning decorations and motifs where Muslim worshippers perform their imposition, including Friday prayers and Taraweeh prayer. 

Some sources say the mosque’s octagonal interior interface design was chosen to simulate the octagon of the Grand Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The mosque has two minarets in the Ottoman style in design, each with a single balcony. The attraction has a single dome with four pillars, and the dome is covered in turquoise tiles and topped with a golden crescent moon. The appeal also has several coloured glass windows that provide natural light to the mosque’s interior.

The Cloak of the Prophet Muhammed and How It Reached the Mosque

As we mentioned, the Hirka-ı Şerif mosque was built to keep the cloak of Prophet Muhammed and save it. The Turkish references claim that Prophet Muhammed recommended his cloak to Owais Al-Qarni —one of the Followers— and after Owais’s death, his family inherited the Prophet’s mantle. Sultan Ahmed invited the family to Istanbul, and they accepted the invitation.

The head of the family, Shukrullah Al-Owaisi, rented a house, displayed the Prophet’s cloak (Burdah), and allowed the people to visit it. After frequent visits from the people, Sultan Abdulhamid built a room for the cloak, called it Hirka-ı Şerif’s room and kept it there. Afterwards, Sultan Abdulmejid built the Hirka-ı Şerif Mosque, preserving the Burdah. Sultan Abdulmejid enacted special decrees for visiting the cloak. This Burdah remains in the Hirka-ı Şerif Mosque in Istanbul, and people flock and stand in long lines to visit the mosque and see the Prophet’s cloak.

Visiting Hours to See the Holy Cloak

You can visit and see the mantle for the Prophet Muhammed in the Hirka-ı Şerif mosque between 10.00-18.00 on weekdays and 09.00-18.00 on weekends. The Holy Month of Ramadan is a special time for visiting, so the visiting hours can be extended till dawn.

Other Attractions in the Mosque’s Area

The vibrant city of Istanbul and its districts have plenty of attractive destinations and places. The Fatih district has a variety of tourist spots, restaurants and cafes to visit. Everywhere you turn, there is one thing to do or discover. We’ve listed other exciting places here if you intend to visit the Hirka-ı Şerif mosque and its surroundings.

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar, or Kapalıçarşı, is one of the largest and foremost covered markets in the world. It is located in the Fatih district and is 6 minutes from Hirka-ı Şerif Mosque. The covered market is like a marvel maze, with unique, fabulous architecture from the early times. It has an ancient history, as Fatih Sultan Mehmet ordered it to be built in 1460. Imagine anything, and you can find it in Grand Bazaar.

The products vary from masters, carpets, jewellery, silver and gold and other souvenirs to skin care products, soaps, clothes, bags, etc. Besides the shops, there are also cafes where you can enjoy the best cup of Turkish coffee ever, as everyone knows the fame of Turkish coffee. Don’t miss out on that incredible shopping and cultural tour.

Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) Mosque

Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) Mosque is a mesmerising architecture mixing impressive history and perfect beauty. The holy place has a fascinating history and is almost 15 minutes from Hirka-ı Şerif mosque. It is an unbelievable place where you feel you have been on a trip through time. The building was built 1,500 years ago and is listed on the UNESCO Heritage Sites List. 

The mosque has beautiful and incredible motifs with impressive Arabic writings. One fascinating piece of information about the mosque is that it was a church in the past and then became a museum. After it returned to be a mosque, it blended Byzantine architecture with an Islamic atmosphere. Discover the extraordinary design, feel the ancient walls holding you and take a trip to the past within the holy walls.

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge

Hırka-i Şerif Mosque

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is the second bridge built across the Bosphorus. It is another of the picturesque structures gracing Istanbul. Enjoy a boat cruise along the Bosphorus while seeing an impressive bridge linking East and West; at night, it lights up and looks spectacular.

To avoid spending hours in traffic without an exit, be careful with your travel timing. Istanbul rush hours are 7:00 to 9:00 am and 18:00 to 19:30. We are sure you will be relaxed and happy while breathing fresh Bosphorus air.

Basilica Cistern

Hırka-i Şerif Mosque

It is an amazing tourist spot in the Fatih district, around 13 minutes from Hirka-ı Şerif mosque. Basilica Cistern is a vast underground chamber with 336 marble columns decorated with various styles, including Ionic, Corinthian, and Doric. The attraction is also called Sunken Palace, dating back to the 6th century.

The attraction was utilised to store water for the Great Palace of Constantinople. It was also used as a public store where people could come to collect water for drinking and bathing.

After Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turk’s hands in the 15th century, the cistern was only used once rediscovered in the 16th century. The spot opened to the public in 1987 and has become a popular tourist attraction.

Foods and Drinks

If you are thinking about what you can eat or drink during your trip, don’t worry; we listed some restaurants here for you to choose from.

Tarihi Bursa Iskender

It is a famous restaurant in Istanbul thanks to its delicious Iskender kebab. Iskender kebab is a dish of thin-clipped grilled meat served with bread, tomato sauce, onion and yoghurt. It is a well-liked dish in Türkiye and originated in Bursa in 1867. The place is one of the oldest restaurants in Istanbul, and it has high-quality meat and uses traditional cooking techniques.

Suppose you want a place to try authentic Iskender kebab. In that case, we highly recommend Tarihi Bursa Iskender, with over 150 years of the same delicious taste.

Etiler Marmaris Bufe

This is a restaurant with several Turkish dishes, including Kebabs, Pide, and Lahmacun. It is a famous site for locals and tourists alike.

Kebab is a kind of grilled meat that is renowned in many countries around the world, including Türkiye. Pide is also called Turkish Pizza because it does look like Pizza. It is made with a thin crust and topped with numerous options, such as meat, cheese, and vegetables. Lahmacun is a Turkish flatbread with minced meat, onions and spices on top. This spot is known for its fresh ingredients, delicious food, and reasonable prices. If you fancy trying different items from Turkish cuisine, we recommend giving Etiler Marmaris Bufe a try.

Altintel Kunefe

This restaurant serves kunefe, a very famous and yummy Turkish dessert made with cheese and syrup. It is a wonderful place to try this delightful treat and please your sweet tooth.

Istanbul is an amazing city with plenty of destinations and places to visit. Some of those destinations are religious spots, but you don’t have to be a Muslim to visit them. A spiritual trip will be useful for your soul; simultaneously, you can have fun and enjoy various activities. We hope we covered all these sides and wish you an enjoyable journey!

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