Visible in the cross section of the Süleymaniye Mosque is the qibla wall. At center of the qibla wall is the mihrab, a niche in the wall facing Mecca. This indicates the direction the faithful pray when at the mosque. Ornamental muqarnas, or “honeycomb” carving decorates the upper part of the mihrab. This is a design typical of Ottoman architecture. To the left and the right of the mihrab are a series of arches leading to a space not visible in the plate. Further above the mihrab are additional arches that ultimately form pendentives, which are an architectural feature that allow the central dome to be placed on top a square structure. Within the large central dome there are a series of windows designed to allow natural light to enter the mosque.
This is often considered to be a visualization of Sura: 24, Verse: 35: “God is the light of the Heavens and Earth,” which equates the light with the presence of God.
By Kaitlyn Nichols and Laylah Roberts