Friday, July 13, 2018

LITTLE HAGIA SOPHIA MOSQUE

Kumkapı, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'10.4"N 28°58'20.8"E / 41.002889, 28.972444



PHOTOGRAPHS ALBUM - 1

PHOTOGRAPHS ALBUM - 2

Little Hagia Sophia (Turkish: Küçuk Ayasofya Camii), formerly the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus, is a former Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Constantinople, converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire.

This Byzantine building with a central dome plan was erected in the sixth century by Justinian, likely was a model for Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia), and is one of the most important early Byzantine buildings in Istanbul. It was recognized at the time as an adornment to the entire city, and a modern historian of the East Roman Empire has written that the church, "by the originality of its architecture and the sumptuousness of its carved decoration, ranks in Constantinople second only to St. Sophia itself".

The Küçük Ayasofya Mosque is identified as the Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, constructed by Justinian I (527-565) following his ascension to the throne and is often considered the pre-cursor to the Great Church of Hagia Sophia. It was built inside the sea walls along the Sea of Marmara and stood in close proximity to the Hormisdas Palace, Justinian's residence prior to his enthronement. Historical resources show that the church dedicated to the Sts. Sergius and Bacchus was built adjoining the north wall of an existing basilica dedicated to the Sts. Peter and Paul. The two churches shared a courtyard to the west and were surrounded by monastery buildings managed by the Monophysites.

Location
The building stands in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih and in the neighborhood of Kumkapı, at a short distance from the Marmara Sea, near the ruins of the Great Palace and to the south of the Hippodrome. It is now separated from the sea by the Sirkeci-Halkalı suburban railway line and the coastal road, Kennedy Avenue.

History

Byzantine period
According to later legend, during the reign of Justin I, his nephew Justinian had been accused of plotting against the throne and was sentenced to death, avoided after Saints Sergius and Bacchus appeared before Justin and vouched for Justinian’s innocence. He was freed and restored to his title of Caesar, and in gratitude vowed that he would dedicate a church to the saints once he became emperor. The construction of this Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, between 527 and 536 AD (only a short time before the erection of the Hagia Sophia between 532 and 537), was one of the first acts of the reign of Justinian I.

The new church lay at the border between the First and Τhird Regio of the City, in an irregular area between the Palace of Hormisdas (the house of Justinian before his accession to the throne) and the Church of the Saints Peter and Paul. Back then, the two churches shared the same narthex, atrium and propylaea. The new church became the center of the complex, and part still survives today, towards the south of the northern wall of one of the two other edifices. The church was one of the most important religious structures in Constantinople. Shortly after the building of the church a monastery bearing the same name was built near the edifice.

Construction of the new church began shortly before that of Hagia Sophia, built from 532 to 537. It was believed that the building had been designed by the same architects, Isidorus of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, as a kind of "dress rehearsal" for that of the largest church of the Byzantine Empire. However, the building is quite different in architectural detail from the Hagia Sophia and the notion that it was but a small-scale version has largely been discredited.

During the years 536 and 537, the Palace of Hormisdas became a Monophysite monastery, where followers of that sect, coming from the eastern regions of the Empire and escaping the persecutions against them, found protection by Empress Theodora. In year 551 Pope Vigilius, who some years before had been summoned to Constantinople by Justinian, found refuge in the church from the soldiers of the Emperor who wanted to capture him, and this attempt caused riots. During the Iconoclastic period the monastery became one of the centers of this movement in the City.

The nave is elaborately detailed with carved capitals, and the gallery entablature-inscribed with a poetic praise of Justinian and his wife, Theodora-has a delicate contour. To the west, the gallery joins an unadorned double-story narthex, separated only by a series of columns and piers. Three small bays, placed along the southern gallery, may have led into the adjoining Church Sts. Peter and Paul. This wall, as seen from the outside, is indeed the northern wall of the latter church that remains incorporated into the neighboring structure.

Ottoman period
After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the church remained untouched until the reign of Sultan Bayezid II. Then (between 1506 and 1513) it was transformed into a mosque by Hüseyin Ağa, the chief of the Aghas (Black Eunuchs), who were the custodians of the Bab-ı-Saadet (literally The Gate of Felicity in Ottoman Turkish) in the Sultan's residence, the Topkapı Palace. At that time the portico and madrasah were added to the church. In 1740 the Grand Vizier Hacı Ahmet Paşa restored the mosque and built the Şadırvan (ablution fountain). The fountain was later removed in 1938. In 1762 the minaret was first built. It was demolished in 1940 and built again in 1956.

Damaged in the earthquakes of 1648 and 1763, the complex was repair by Sultan Mahmud II in 1831. If anything had remained from adjoining Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, it was removed during the construction of a railroad passing immediately to the south of the mosque in the 1860s, transforming the topography of the site. The architecture of the former church, despite modifications to its doors and windows, has largely remained intact.

Hüseyin Ağa, the chief officer of the Ottoman Palace during the rule of Sultan Bayezid II (1481-1512), added the Ottoman narthex and built twenty-four zawiya cells enclosing the courtyard of the new complex, which he endowed with income from a nearby public bath and two hans near the Hagia Sophia. His tomb (türbe), built after his execution in 1510, lies in the walled cemetery that wraps around the north and east sides of the former church.

The pace of decay of the building, which already suffered because of humidity and earthquakes through the centuries, accelerated after the construction of the railway. Parts of St. Peter and Paul to the south of the building were demolished to accommodate the rail line. Other damage was caused by the building's use as housing for the refugees during the Balkan Wars.

Due to the increasing threats to the building's static integrity, it was added some years ago to the UNESCO watch list of endangered monuments. The World Monuments Fund added it to its Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in 2002, 2004, and 2006. After an extensive restoration which lasted several years and ended in September 2006, it has been opened again to the public and for worship.

Exterior Architecture
The complex is entered through three gates, north, south and west, which lead into a courtyard enclosed by the U-shaped zawiya on three sides. An inscriptive plaque located above the northern gate bears a saying of the Prophet. Located to the east of the courtyard, the mosque is entered through a five-bay classical Ottoman portico that precedes the narthex. Its central plan is composed of an octagon inscribed in a rectangle; the domed octagonal nave is outlined by a continuous gallery on two floors, which envelops the nave to the north, west and south.

The galleries terminate on either end of an apsidal sanctuary projecting to the east. Composed of sixteen ribs with eight windows, the nave dome is supported on eight wide arches that fall on eight heavy piers forming an octagon. The space between the piers is spanned by twenty-eight marble columns, two in each bay with the exception of the sanctuary, that form the double-story gallery. The upper gallery columns are interlaced with small arches and wooden balustrades.

Columns at the four corners of the nave are arranged to form semi-circular niches that are crowned with semi-domes at the upper gallery level. The nave is elaborately detailed with carved capitals, and the gallery entablature-inscribed with a poetic praise of Justinian and his wife, Theodora-has a delicate contour.

The exterior masonry of the structure adopts the usual technique of that period in Constantinople, which uses bricks sunk in thick beds of mortar. The walls are reinforced by chains made of small stone blocks. The building, the central plan of which was consciously repeated in the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna and served as a model for the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in the construction of the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, has the shape of an octagon inscribed in an irregular quadrilateral. It is surmounted by a beautiful umbrella dome in sixteen compartments with eight flat sections alternating with eight concave ones, standing on eight polygonal pillars.

The narthex lies on the west side, opposed to an antechoir. Many effects in the building were later used in Hagia Sophia: the exedrae expand the central nave on diagonal axes, colorful columns screen the ambulatories from the nave, and light and shadow contrast deeply on the sculpture of capitals and entablature. In front of the building there is a portico (which replaced the atrium) and a court (both added during the Ottoman period), with a small garden, a fountain for the ablutions and several small shops.

To the west, the gallery joins an unadorned double-story narthex, separated only by a series of columns and piers. Three small bays, placed along the southern gallery, may have led into the adjoining Church Sts. Peter and Paul. This wall, as seen from the outside, is indeed the northern wall of the latter church that remains incorporated into the neighboring structure. The mosque has a single minaret on the southwest corner, which dates from 1955.

Interior Architecture
Inside the edifice there is a beautiful two-storey colonnade which runs along the north, west and south sides, and bears an elegant inscription in twelve Greek hexameters dedicated to the Emperor Justinian, his wife, Theodora, and Saint Sergius, the patron-saint of the soldiers of the Roman army. For some unknown reason, Saint Bacchus is not mentioned. The columns are alternately of verd antique and red Synnada marble; the lower storey has 16, while the upper has 18. Many of the column capitals still bear the monograms of Justinian and Theodora.

Nothing remains of the original interior decoration of the church, which contemporary chroniclers describe as being covered in mosaics with walls of variegated marble. During the Ottoman conversion into a mosque, the windows and entrance were modified, floor level raised, and interior walls plastered.

The Küçük Ayasofya's interior is decorated and furnished as a mosque, with Arabic calligraphy and designs in blue painted on white walls. Originally, the walls and vault would have been completely covered in golden mosaics, like those that survive from this period in Ravenna, and probably frescoes as well.

Grounds
North of the edifice there is a small Muslim cemetery with the türbe of Hüseyin Ağa, the founder of the mosque.

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YENİ (CEDİT) VALİDE MOSQUE

Üsküdar - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'28.8"N 29°00'55.2"E / 41.024667, 29.015333



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The Yeni Valide Mosque is an Ottoman mosque in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul. Designed by Kayserili Mehmed Ağa, the chief architect of the palace, this mosque was built in 1710 on the decree of Sultan Ahmet III in memory of his mother, Emetullah Rabi'a Gülnış Sultan. It consists of a group of buildings, including a soup kitchen, a mausoleum, fountains, a clock room, a chamber for the Sultans, a market, etc. The social complex, bearing the touch of Classical Ottoman architecture, constitutes one of the female attributes of Üsküdar.

The complex was composed of a mosque in the center and a madrasah parallel to the mosque sharing the same courtyard, a dervish lodge that is on the left side of the mosque on the same street, a primary school, an imaret (soup kitchen), a caravansary, printing house, a school for Quran reciters, a Turkish Bath and a Daruşşifa, which was designed as a full-scale hospital. The treatment and needs of the patients admitted to the darüşşifa were funded by revenues from the land properties donated by Nurbanu Sultan.

Construction on this mosque began in 1708, and was completed in 1711, when the mosque first opened for prayers. The Yeni Valide Mosque is also known as the Valide-i Cedid. The main part of the building is square in shape and covered with a flattened main dome and four half domes. Calligraphy inside the mosque is the work of Hezarfen Mehmet Efendi.

This mosque boasts two minarets with two galleries apiece, as well as a notably serene courtyard, access to which can be found via five different gates. As the benefactor of this historic mosque, the Valide Sultan lies in her tomb - which itself is reminiscent of a paradisiacal garden - in the courtyard of the mosque. When you finally come to see this mosque, you might hear writer Yahya Kemal whisper in your ears, “As the years pass by, İstanbul, appears to have depth not just through land but through history.”

The clock room is to the right of the graveyard. This room has three walls and three windows, and it is the place where prayer times were determined for the mosques in Üsküdar. There are four birdhouses built into the walls of the mosque. In particular, the birdhouse consisting of three domes and two minarets that protudes on the upper walls, facing the stone bier, is a masterpiece of Turkish stonework.

Located on Hakimiyet-i Milliyet Street, the octagon mausoleum of white marble was designed in 1708-1711 by Mehmet Ağa, the chief architect of Tulip Era, in the form of a bird cage; Gülnüş Vâlide Sultan had wished for an open-air tomb. Near to the tomb there is a building where drinking water was served in cups as a form of charity. Above its windows there is an epitaph belonging to the famous Divan poet Naima.

Across from the Balaban gate of the mosque, to the left of the soup kitchens, is the Sineperver Vâlide Sultan fountain, built on the orders of the second wife of Sultan Abdülhamid I in memory of his dead son, Şehzade Ahmed. The fountain is in the Turkish Baroque style. Next to the soup kitchen, there is a market consisting of twelve shops, that are located both on the left and the right. It was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1794. Only a small part of it and the fountain have survived.

It was one of the last big complexes to go up in the city in the days when mosques formed the centerpieces in networks of social facilities, including schools and hospitals, known as külliyes. The mosque itself has been restored recently and is well worth a look, as is the Yeni Valide Camii, mere steps away across another busy road. If you leave the Yeni Valide Camii on the sea-facing side, you will emerge opposite the newly restored Cedid Valide İmareti (soup kitchen), with its twin domes and a very pretty corner fountain.

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ESKİ İMARET MOSQUE

Zeyrek, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'18.0"N 28°57'18.0"E / 41.021667, 28.955000



PHOTOGRAPHS ALBUM

Eski Imaret Mosque (Turkish: Eski Imaret Camii) is a former Eastern Orthodox church converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. The church has traditionally been identified with that belonging to the Monastery of Christ Pantepoptes. It is the only documented 11th-century church in Istanbul which survives intact, and represents a key monument of middle Byzantine architecture. Despite that, the building remains one among the least studied of the city.

The building lies in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih, in the neighbourhood of Zeyrek, one of the poorest areas of the walled city. It is located less than one kilometer to the northwest of the complex of Zeyrek. The building lies on a slope which overlooks the Golden Horn, and rests on a platform which is the ceiling of a cistern.

Some time before 1087, Anna Dalassena, mother of Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, built on the top of the fourth hill of Constantinople a nunnery, dedicated to Christos Pantepoptes, where she retired at the end of her life, following Imperial custom. The convent comprised a main church, also dedicated to the Pantepoptes. On April 12, 1204, during the siege of Constantinople, Emperor Alexios V Doukas Mourtzouphlos set his headquarters near the Monastery.

From this vantage point he could see the Venetian fleet under command of Doge Enrico Dandolo deploying between the monastery of the Euergetes and the church of St. Mary of the Blachernae before attacking the city. After the successful attack he took flight abandoning his purple tent on the spot, and so allowing Baldwin of Flanders to spend his victory night inside it.

From this vantage point he could see the Venetian fleet under command of Doge Enrico Dandolo deploying between the monastery of the Euergetes and the church of St. Mary of the Blachernae before attacking the city. After the successful attack he took flight abandoning his purple tent on the spot, and so allowing Baldwin of Flanders to spend his victory night inside it. The complex was sacked by the crusaders, and afterward it was assigned to Benedictine monks of San Giorgio Maggiore.

During the Latin occupation of Constantinople (1204-1261) the building became a Roman Catholic church. Based on this information, the Patriarch Constantius I (1830-1834) identified the Eski Imaret with the Pantepoptes church. This identification has been largely accepted since, with the exception of Cyril Mango, who argued that the building's location did not actually allow for complete overview of the Golden Horn, and proposed the area currently occupied by the Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque as an alternative site for the Pantepoptes Monastery.

Austay-Effenberger and Effenberger agreed with Mango, and proposed an identification with the Church of St. Constantine, founded by the Empress Theophano in the early 10th century, highlighting its similarities to the contemporaneous Lips Monastery.

Immediately after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the church became a mosque, while the buildings of the monastery were used as zaviye, medrese and imaret for the nearby Mosque of Fatih, which was then under construction. The Turkish name of the mosque "the mosque of the old soup kitchen" refers to this. The complex was ravaged several times by fire, and the last remains of the monastery disappeared about one century ago.

Until 1970 the building was used as a koran school, and that use rendered it almost inaccessible for architectural study. In 1970, the mosque was partially closed off and restored. Despite that, the building appears to be in rather poor condition.  It is closely hemmed in all sides, making an adequate view of the exterior difficult. Its masonry consists of brick and stone, and uses the technique of recessed brick; it is the oldest extant building of Constantinople where this technique can be observed, which is typical of the Byzantine architecture of the middle empire.

Its masonry consists of brick and stone, and uses the technique of recessed brick; it is the oldest extant building of Constantinople where this technique can be observed, which is typical of the Byzantine architecture of the middle empire. In this technique, alternate coarses of bricks are mounted behind the line of the wall, and are plunged in a mortar bed. Due to that, the thickness of the mortar layers is about three times greater than that of the brick layers. The brick tiles on its roof are unique among the churches and mosques of Istanbul, which are otherwise covered with lead.

The plan belongs to the cross-in-square (or quincunx) type with a central dome and four vaulted crossarms, a sanctuary to the east and an esonarthex and an exonarthex to the west. This appears to be an addition of the Palaiologan period, substituting an older portico, and is divided into three bays. The lateral ones are surmounted by cross vaults, the central one by a dome. A unique feature of this building is the U-shaped gallery which runs over the narthex and the two western bays of the quincunx.

In this technique, alternate coarses of bricks are mounted behind the line of the wall, and are plunged in a mortar bed. Due to that, the thickness of the mortar layers is about three times greater than that of the brick layers. The brick tiles on its roof are unique among the churches and mosques of Istanbul, which are otherwise covered with lead. The plan belongs to the cross-in-square (or quincunx) type with a central dome and four vaulted crossarms, a sanctuary to the east and an esonarthex and an exonarthex to the west.

This appears to be an addition of the Palaiologan period, substituting an older portico, and is divided into three bays. The lateral ones are surmounted by cross vaults, the central one by a dome. A unique feature of this building is the U-shaped gallery which runs over the narthex and the two western bays of the quincunx. The gallery has windows opening towards both the naos and the crossarm. It is possible that the gallery was built for the private use of the Empress-Mother.

As in many of the surviving Byzantine churches of Istanbul, the four columns which supported the crossing were replaced by piers, and the colonnades at either ends of the crossarms were filled in. The piers divide the nave into three aisles. The side aisles lead into small clover-leaf shaped chapels to the east, connected to the sanctuary and ended to the east, like the sanctuary, with an apse. These chapels are the prothesis and diaconicon. The Ottomans resurfaced the apses and built a minaret, which does not exist any more.

The dome, which during the Ottoman period was given a helmet-like shape, recovered its original scalloped roofline in the restoration of 1970. This is typical of the churches of the Macedonian period. The tent-like roofing of the gallery has been also replaced with tiles that follow the curves of the vaulting.

The exterior has occasional decorative motifs, like sunbursts, meanders, basket-wave patterns and cloisonnés: the latter motif is typical of the Greek architecture of this period but unknown elsewhere in Constantinople. Of the original interior, nothing remains but some marble moldings, cornices, and doorframes. Despite its architectural significance, the building is still one among the least studied monuments of Istanbul.

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