Visiting the mosques of Edirne is not only a great lesson on architecture and history but also an illustration how modern practical solutions can damage the pure beauty of the Ottoman buildings. This fact can be easily observed on the example of Süle Çelebi Mosque.
This small mosque was built in October 1559 on the orders of its founder, known as Hacı Süle Çelebi. He also established Edirne's Kirişhane District where the mosque was erected. The first part of his name - Hacı - has a special meaning in Islam. It was a title which is initially given to a Muslim person who has successfully completed the pilgrimage (tr. hac) to Mecca. Later it was also used as an honorific title for a respected man.
Süle Çelebi Mosque is a simple building on a square plan, covered with a dome. In front of the prayer room, there is a portico with two arches, topped with two smaller domes. A single minaret stands in the northwest corner of the building. The building is located in a courtyard surrounded by walls from four sides. There is a graveyard with several tombstones, adjacent to the mosque.
The inscription placed above the entrance to the mosque shows that it was renovated in the years 1833-1834. Another restoration was carried out in 2005 by the Directorate General of Foundations (tr. Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü). It is a governmental institution that manages and audits the religious foundations dating back to the Ottoman Empire that have been preserved to our times. During the worksn, the original appearance of the mosque was restored, including the rebuilding of the dome destroyed by an earthquake.
The controversial change to the mosque was made in 2016. The elegant portico of the building that so far had been open to the world, was closed off with glass panels on metal frames. The muhtar (official representative) of Abdurrahman district of Edirne, Şaban Ergit, explained that the area covered with glass in the front of the mosque was made by collecting money from the public. In his opinion, this change was necessary as there were too many people who wanted to pray in the mosque and otherwise they would have to stand outside, in rain or snow. While the practical reasons for this modification are apparent, sadly the glass panels and modern frames have changed the original, elegant appearance of the mosque.
Süle Çelebi Mosque is located on Tarlakapı Street, south-east of the historical centre of Edirne, 2 km to the south of Selimiye Mosque. Bulgarian Orthodox church of Saints Constantine and Helena is situated near the mosque, 450 meters to the south.