SİNAN’S ISTANBUL: KANUNİ SULTAN SULEİMAN BRİDGEIn his autobiography, of the Kanuni Sultan Suleiman Bridge that was completed in 1567, Sinan says, "Among my works, it’s my masterpiece". There had been a broken Roman bridge located on the shallow area where Lake Büyükçekmece and Marmara Sea merge, close to the Kanuni Sultan Suleiman Bridge.
One day, before heading to Hungary for the Campaign of Zigetvar, during which he would die, Sultan Suleiman, who wants have a new bridge built at the area, summons Sinan and asks for a report on the causes of the demolishment of the Roman bridge.
In his report, Sinan concludes that the Romans, in order to cut the expenses, built the bridge on a shallow area far from the sea, and thus its foundation was damaged. Upon drawing his plan of the new bridge in his report, Sinan adds: If the bridge is built close to the sea, it would be more solid.
In the course of the campaigns he had participated as a jannisary (imperial soldier) in his youth, Sinan had been fortunate enough to examine the ancient ruins in the Balkans, East Europe, South Italy, Iran, Iraq and Syria, most of which once belonged to the Roman Empire. He reinforced his expertise and knowledge, gathered in those campaigns, by building beautiful and solid aqueducts in various areas of Istanbul. While building the Kanuni Sultan Suleiman Bridge, he used a construction method that dates back to the Roman Empire.
During the construction of the bridge, which started in 1565, Sinan emptied the water in the lake by huge pumps and nailed massive piles on the surface. After combining the cut stones with iron bars, he poured lead to gaps between the stones. For the 636-meter-long bridge, composed of four sections and twenty-eight spans, 40.000 m3 stone was used.
Kanuni Sultan Suleiman Bridge is the only monument that Sinan put his signature on. Of this masterpiece that Sinan loved dearly, Mustafa Said Çelebi, a poet and biographist of Sinan’s time, wrote on the inscription at the Mimar Sinan Tomb: "He built a high arch on the Çekmece Bridge that resonates with the Milky Way in the mirror of time."