Yesterday I met up with jewellery designer extraordinaire Shamila Jiwa to wander around Eminönü and visit the humble yet stunning Rüstem Paşa Camii. Rüstem Paşa is a hidden gem; a little mosque just to the left of the Spice Bazaar, if you are facing the Golden Horn. Known for its exquisite examples of İznik tiles, this quiet oasis was built from 1561 to 1563. I am mad for all things İznik— decorative ceramics popular in the 16th century, that were originally inspired by Chinese porcelain, which was lusted after by Ottoman sultans. In the chaos of Eminönü, this beautiful mosque is a wonderful escape. Be sure to take off your shoes upon entering, and ladies, out of respect, please cover your head and any tiny clothing with a scarf. You can pick up a lovely multicoloured 5 lira one at the Spice Bazaar before visiting.
The floral and geometric designs are typical of Islamic art and architecture— unlike many forms of Christianity, it is forbidden to depict the image of Allah, The Prophet and people. Because of this, the art of calligraphy was perfected— and let me tell you, the geometric patterns will just blow you away. Rüstem Paşa is full of light, blues and serenity— truly a place worth visiting.