Situated on a small hill in the centre of Edirne, the kulliye is composed of the mosque, a medrese, a dar-ul had is and a timekeeper’s room. The arasta (row of shops) which, due to the slightly sloping nature of the ground, acts as a retaining wall at the bottom part of the courtyard, was enlarged after Sinan. With its dome and four minarets, the mosque can be seen from a long way as one approaches the city, which it has come to symbolise. The courtyard is very large. Sinan may have planned to include more buildings in it.
Here, Sinan attempted to apply the Rustem Pasha plan on a monumental scale (the dome has a diameter of 31.22 m and a height of 42.25 m), with the addition of a protruding mihrab, producing the most acclaimed work in Ottoman architecture. The single dome covers the whole depth of the mosque while the salient mihrab and lateral spaces add an extra perspective. The span lengths are reduced due to the greater number of piers causing the dome to appear more elevated and dominant than in the case of domes supported by square structures, where the arches and their windowed intermediary walls are indeed at least as large, and therefore as impressive as the dome itself. The dome of the Selimiye covers some 30% of the mosque’s floor surface (2000 m2). In the Sehzade and Suleymaniye, this ratio is 17%. In terms of general space perception on the other hand, the Selimiye reaches a value slightly below that of the Sehzade.
The weight of the dome bears on the pillars and from there reaches on to the buttresses through the arches linking these two elements. As for the buttresses, they are integrated into the basement portico of the outer facade, while the .gallery walls on the second storey protrude as far out as the basement portico, giving a palatial aspect to the whole facade. The buttress piers graduatly retreat as they rise, reaching up to the stabilising turrets through abutment arches. The outer portico is not confined to the flanks but, for the first time in mosque architecture, continues also along the mihrab wall. The muezzin’s gallery is situated directly below the dome, with a sadirvan type of fountain installed on the ground floor. The pyramidal structure of the building is steeper than in the sehzade and the Suleymaniye. There are four minarets of the same height (71 m) situated at the corners of the building. Each minaret is decked with three balconies. No one before Sinan had been able to establish the position of the J minarets and their proportion in relation to the main body of the mosque as t well as he generally did. In the case of the Selimiye, these proportions reach a perfection found in no other mosque. The mosque is also famous for its tile panels, its marble pulpit, the ornamental paintings of its muezzin gallery and the geometric kundekari motifs of its door panels.