The mosque is part of a great Kulliye which comprises a mosque, four medreses, a medical medrese, darussifa, darulhadis, medrese, primary school, darulkurra, tabhane, daruzziyafe, caravanserai, shops, hammam and tombs. It is the largest Ottoman complex with construction involving the organisation of the one of the largest building site in the history of architecture.
As history often repeats itself, with similar political motives the Suleymaniye mosque became the Ottoman's answer to the Byzantine's great achievement in their area - the Hagia Sophia. The result is that one finds in the Suleymaniye mosque the inspiration of the Hagia Sophia as well as the distinctive Islamic qualities that Sinan brought to it.
Because Sinan worked on the Hagia Sophia he became intimately familiar with its form and structure so its not surprising that it had an influence on much of his work. Of all his buildings, conceptually the Suleymaniye is probably the most similar to the Hagia Sophia with the basic concept of the central domed space made larger with attached semidomed spaces which in turn have smaller spaces attached topped by smaller domes. Because the dome of the Hagia Sophia was considered to be a great feat for the Christians Sinandesigned the dome of the Suleymaniye to send the message that not only were Muslims just as capable but, with an even larger and higher dome, that they were superior.
Sinan, who created over 400 works in his own time, was the royal architect under Suleyman and as such was also in charge of the Hagia Sophia's restoration.
This Kulliye is a symbolic creation of the most brilliant period of the Ottoman State, the most powerful ruler and the greatest architect. Members of the Imperial Association of Architects, Janissary recruits and members of the Janissary Corps, together with paid workers and galley slaves from all over the Empire were conscripted for labour on the project. In summer months the workforce numbered an average of 2,000. The official opening of the mosque was carried out by Mimar Sinan on the orders of the Sultan.
Suleyman was the wealthiest and most powerful Sultan of the Ottoman empire. He is known by the Turks as the Ottoman sultan who introduced laws but not by " magnificent" as his Western title. He undertook much construction, rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (which was part of the Ottoman Empire 1516), and a lot of monuments throughout his empire.