Sokollu (or Sokullu) Mehmed Pasha was born in Sokol of Bosnia in 1505. Thanks to his honest and trusty public service he was quickly promoted to higher ranks in the Ottoman Empire. After the death of Barbaros Hayrettin in 1546 he became the Admiral of the Navy and later General of the Army. He commanded the troops during the war with Austria outside Szigetvar in Hungary in 1566, during which Suleyman died because of his old age and illnesses.
He served as a highly talented Grand Vizier for three Sultans; Suleyman I (The Magnificent), Selim II(The Sot), and Murad III. He was married to Ismihan, daughter of Sultan Selim Unfortunately he had a terrible fate when he fell out of favor and was executed without any objection during the reign of Sultan Murat III after serving him for five years. At first, his friends and followers were first disgraced and then executed one by one. Finally, Sokollu himself was attacked and murdered in his own home in 1579. Because his public service and rule was ‘faultless’, his killing had to look like an assassination by an outsider; by a “crazed dervish”. His murderer was captured but the crime was conveniently attributed to a personal grievance. Sokollu was buried near Eyup mosque in Istanbul.
Sokollu was one of the first to plan a grand canal across the Isthmus of Suez, designed to link the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and beyond. During his life time he had it built several hammams, a caravanserai, fountains, and mosques. The most important mosque and medresseto his name is in Kadirga, near Sultanahmet district of Istanbul. It was built in 1577-78 by the great architect Sinan.