Süleymaniye beans: An ancient Ottoman taste enchants visitors still

ISTANBUL (AA): At the highest peak in Istanbul, the Süleymaniye Mosque stands with its four unique minarets overlooking the Bosporus and the Golden Horn, both in the middle of the old part of the city, and next to it is the old Istanbul University and its archaeological building.

In addition to containing the largest dome in Istanbul, the Süleymaniye Mosque complex includes touches of Turkish life in particular, and one of the most important of these touches is dried beans, or as the Turks call it, “kuru fasulye.”

Beans, a popular Turkish dish, is one of the oldest and most delicious meals, and you can taste it with its original Turkish taste only on that high peak of Istanbul.

On both sides of the mosque, small old family restaurants are spread, some of which are 100 years old or more, inherited by the sons of historical chefs of cooking beans.

The beans dish, with its unique taste, is the main attraction for the people of the city, visitors and tourists alike.

The meal, which is prepared daily with great care, is served with a plate of rice, as visitors prefer the sidewalk tables to dine after the pleasure of wandering the old districts of Istanbul.

The locals consider that the historical place brings them together in these restaurants to eat beans, and some of them prefer it, especially after the Friday prayers every week, meanwhile the students of the neighboring Istanbul University are frequent customers.

Prepared with care and love

The bean meal in this region is distinguished for being handed down through generations, and for nearly 60 years, it has been served in this area. It is prepared with pure specifications and methods that preserve its aroma, originality and distinctive taste.

Copper pots are chosen for the preparation of beans. These pots are characterized by being the original in which Ottoman foods were previously prepared, and the heat is distributed in them in a balanced manner thanks to the metal.

The bean is also chosen carefully and has important parameters for its measurement, which must be 11 millimeters, according to the experts on the matter. It is brought from the bean’s homeland in Türkiye, the northern state of Erzincan.

After choosing the sauces, spices and special vegetables with great care, the beans are attentively prepared and left to rest and simmer over the coals quietly and then served to the arriving customers.

Paradise for history-lovers

For decades, these restaurants next to the Süleymaniye Mosque have witnessed a large turnout of tourists who love traditional foods, especially after completing a tour of the dazzling mosque, which was built by the famous 16th-century Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.

“Süleymaniye” derives its name from the 16th-century Ottoman Sultan Süleyman I, or Süleyman the Magnificent, who ordered the mosque to be built, and his tomb is located there, so the area bears his name.

Sultan Süleyman commissioned Mimar Sinan, the most famous engineer in the Ottoman era, to supervise the construction and inauguration of the mosque.

The Süleymaniye Library of Famous Manuscripts, located in the area, is one of the largest ancient heritage libraries in the world and contains more than 70,000 manuscripts written in Arabic, Turkish and Persian.

The area is located on one of Istanbul’s strategic hills overlooking the Gulf of the Bosporus, a location that can be monitored from inside of the old city, in the Fatih district, and overlooks a wonderful scene of the city in which the landmarks of the ancient town enchant the eyes.