Sunday, March 19, 2017


Nişanca, Eyüp - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'34.1"N 28°55'58.5"E / 41.042806, 28.932917

 photo seyhulislam_lodge101.jpg


This is situated in the Düğmeciler (Buttonmakers) neighbourhood of the Nişancı (Nişanca) district, bordered to the south and west by Baba Haydar Mektebi Street, to the north by Haydar Çeşmesi Street and to the east by Balcı Hill. This tekke (lodge) was connected to the Nakşibendi sect and is one of the most impressive dervish lodges of Istanbul. It was built in 1744-45 (1157 in the Muslim calendar) by Feyzullah Efendizade Şeyhülislam Seyyid Mustafa Efendi (died 1745), and has survived until this day with only a few minor changes.

The son of the founder, Kazasker Seyyid Abdullah Efendi (died 1767), added a small mosque-ceremonial hall and a pulpit, and a wooden harem building that was reconstructed in the 19th century but that no longer exists today. During the Republican era the building fell into disrepair, until the mosque-ceremonial hall and the main building containing the dervish cells were restored in the 1970s by the Religious Foundations.

However, since the building was not given a new function these were again abandoned to their fate, with squatters taking up residence and causing considerable damage to the building. Because the site slopes down towards the Golden Horn to the east, the buildings are constructed on two levels, the higher level containing the main building, the kitchen to the southwest and the hamam and toilets to the northwest, while the lower level contains the hamam building and a small graveyard.

On the higher level, the main gate adjacent to the Beyzade Mehmet Efendi Çeşmesi, dating from 1646 (1056), and opening onto Haydar Çeşmesi Street is constructed of cut sandstone, and its low arch contains an inscription in verse belonging to Katipzade Mehmed Ref’i Efendi (in Persian script) and giving the construction date of the lodge. The main building of the lodge, which holds its most important sections, measures 32.5 x 27.75 m. Its walls consist of single rows of cut sandstone alternating with double rows of red brick.

Over the low arched entrance located in the northern façade is an inscription in verse, the poetry belonging to Kazasker Mirzazade Neyli Ahmed Efendi (died 1748) and the calligraphy to Şeyhülislam Veliyeddin Efendi (died 1767). All of the units that make up the structure are arranged around a rectangular open-air inner courtyard (15 x 11 m), fronted by a twentyfour sectioned portico. The pointed arches of the portico are carved from marble and are supported by marble columns with muqainas capitals.

Some sections of the portico are domed, some vaulted, and all are covered with lead and crowned with marble crescents. To the south of the courtyard, on the symmetrical axis, is the mosque-ceremonial hall with a octagonal prism shaped body-crowned by dome, and connected to this what must have been the apartment used for the solitary confinement of novices and a room for the serving of fruit drinks, along with two dervish cells. There are five dervish cells on each of the east and west wings.

The windows on the walls of the mosque-ceremonial hall, which project horizontally and vertically beyond the main block of the building, conform with classical Ottoman requirements; being arranged in a double row, the lower row rectangular with cut stone frames topped with pointed arches of brick and metal railings, and the upper row again with pointed arches has been filled in with plastered windows. In addition, a small plastered window with pointed arches has been opened on each corner of the octagonal dome.

Some of the dervish cells are square and domed, others rectangular and vaulted, but each have a door and window opening onto the portico, along with two windows opening to the outside. Between the cells on the west wing is a corridor with five vaults that connected the service units on that side (the kitchen, hamam and toilets) with the main building, which opens with a low arch onto the portico and the outside.

An octagonal marble water fountain is located in the middle of the courtyard, its sides decorated with broken curved arches, rosettes and cypress motifs. In the southern and western walls is the low vaulted kitchen, with its huge oven, built in haphazard alternating rows of rough sandstone and brick and covered over with paneled vaults. The same type of wall was used for the small hamam and the adjacent rows of toilets, which were gable roofed. It is known that the harem was a two-storied wooden building situated on an alternately laid base.

There is an undated inscription over the low arch of the graveyard, which is surrounded by walls with rectangular opening windows fronted by railings. The decorations of the fountain, decorated capitals of the pillars and the pointed arches of the Şeyhülislam Tekkesi all show that at the time of its construction during the reign of Sultan Mahmud I (1730-1754) classical Ottoman forms continued to take precedence over Baroque architecture. As is well known, the complex of Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa, dating from 1734-35 (1147), is generally accepted as the last classic building.

In fact the Şeyhülislam Tekkesi dating from 1744-45 (1157) represents the true turning point in our architectural history. The buildings considered to be Group II buildings are establishments that served a double function, in the nature of mosque-cum-lodge or masjid-cum-lodge. This type of building was widespread throughout the Ottoman Empire, one the one hand providing a mosque for the use of the local community and on the other hand serving as the tekke or lodge for a particular order.

The mosque section, when not in use for prayer, served as the ceremonial hall of the sect used for ceremonies led by the sheik, who usually also served as the imam (prayer leader). Some of these were planned for double function use, and the charters of their foundations were drafted accordingly, while others were designed to function as mosques only to begin with, and later became the centers of sufi orders during the Ottoman era, when additions were made to their charters and to their architectural structures under the process termed "vaz-ı meşihat" (the awarding of a sheikdom).

The roots of these organizations stretched back for centuries to a time when Sufism was not organized into orders and separate sect structures did not exist, so that mosques were used for gatherings of Sufis and for their ceremonies. In most such examples, which form small complexes with scattered dwellings, the mosque-ceremonial hall section is built of brick or stone and roofed with wood according to classic Ottoman mosque architecture.

These sections were designed independently, and generally had tombs or a small graveyard located to the east, west and south, while the other buildings required by the order (meeting place, dervish cells, kitchen, etc.), apart from the harem building, were positioned around the fountain to the north of the mosque-ceremonial hall in a haphazard manner, and the harem was isolated from the fountain courtyard with its own garden (the harem garden).


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