Much to the astonishment of the travellers who arrive at the city, Edirne has it all - historical mosques, baths, bridges, and museums. There is even Suleymaniye Mosque in the town, but it cannot match the splendour of the mosque bearing the same name erected by Sinan in Istanbul. Actually, the Suleymaniye Mosque in Edirne is a very modest structure, erected not on the orders of the sultan but one of the local governors.
Unfortunately, the construction year of Beylerbeyi Suleyman Pasha Mosque is not known. We might presume that it was built in the second half of the 15th century when Hadım Suleyman Pasha - who gave the structure his name - was active on the political scene. He was an Ottoman statesman of Balkan origins. He served the function of Beylerbey - a governor-general of the largest and most important provinces of the Ottoman Empire - first in the Rumelia Eyalet, around 1474-1475, and next in the Anatolia Eyalet, around 1482.
When Hadım Suleyman Pasha was the Beylerbey of Rumelia, he led an active and aggressive policy in the Balkans. First, he besieged Shkodër with about 8,000 men. Shkodër is now in a town in Albania, but then it was a strategic fortress held by Venetian forces under the command of Antonio Loredan. He was a fearsome character who supposedly said to his soldiers: "If you are hungry, here is my flesh; if you are thirsty, I give you my blood." He managed to keep the Ottoman forces out of Shkodër, and Hadım Suleyman Pasha had to withdraw.
It was not the end of the Beylerbey's military adventures in Europe. Soon afterwards, in December 1474, he marched with an army against Stephen the Great of Moldavia. The Ottoman troops were exhausted after the unsuccessful siege of Shkodër and winter was coming but Hadım Suleyman could not dare to oppose the orders of the Sultan. Actually, his soldiers were Rumelian local levies. The battle between the Ottoman and Moldavian forces took place in January, 1475, at Vaslui, where once again, the Ottomans were defeated. Apparently, Sultan Mehmed II had enough of the strategic blunders of Hadım Suleyman Pasha and decided to lead the army personally. He defeated Stephen the Great in July 1476, in the battle of Valea Albă.
What happened to Hadım Suleyman Pasha afterwards? If he fell out of the sultan's favour, it was not permanent. He later held the position of the governor of the Sanjak of Amasya in Asia Minor. He died as the governor of the Sanjak of Smederevo in Central Serbia in 1490.
The mosque that he built in Edirne has a square plan and the prayer room covered with the central dome. There is a portico in front of the building, supported by four columns and covered with three small domes. The minaret, built on the north-eastern corner of the building was unfortunately destroyed during the earthquake. It was reerected during the renovation of the mosque in the years 2013-2015.
The interior of the mosque is decorated with calligraphies showing floral motifs. The medallions bearing the names of Allah, Mohammed, Hasan, and Hussein, and the first four caliphs on the walls create a sombre atmosphere in the main prayer hall.
The mosque in Talat Pasha neighbourhood, on Alemdar Street, near the banks of the Tunca River. This quarter of Edirne is also known as Bostanpazarı and the mosque is commonly known as Suleymaniye Mosque.