Thursday, August 9, 2018


Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'11.0"N 28°57'00.0"E / 41.019722, 28.950000


The complex extends along the Golden Horn side of Fevzi Paşa Street in Fatih. Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror had the complex constructed by the architect, Atik Sinani between the years 1463-1470. It was the largest example of Turkish-Islamic architecture to that date and represented an important stage in the development of classical Turkish architecture.The complex includes a set of well-planned buildings constructed around a mosque. They include: a medresse, a library, a hospital, a hospice, a caravanserai, a market, a hamam and various tombs which were added at a later date.

Fatih Mosque was constructed in the classic mosque style, but the Baroque influence can be seen in the decorations. A large dome of 26 meters in diameter is supported by four half-domes and rests upon four large marble columns. There are two minarets each with twin galleries. The calligraphy within the mosque exhibits a Baroque influence. The other important features of the complex are the medresses. Situated on both sides of the mosque, they were the foundation of İstanbul's universities and ensured the city's place as a center of education.

The Fatih Mosque was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, in Fatih region of Istanbul. In the reign of Byzantine, Havariyun Church was located on mosque’s place. It is thought that Fatih Mosque was built by using the ruins of that church. As informed, from the Arabic inscription on the both sides of the Cümle kapısı, the mosque was started to be built in 1467 and ended in 1470. The architect of the mosque is Sinaüddin Yusuf bin Abdullah. Mosque is built in the form of a monument.

Central dome, is constructed on two elephant foot shaped columns. Because the mosque ruined in an earthquake in 1766, Sultan Mustafa III, was restored it, to Architect Mehmed Tahir Ağa between 1767 and 1771.  The dome of the mosque collapsed in the 1766 earthquake and was reconstructed entirely in 1771.

The Fatih Mosque is the sanctuary of the imperial complex built by Mehmed II to commemorate his conquest of Constantinople in 1453. It stands at the center of an expansive precinct that was entered through gates along the northern and southern walls and between madrasa (medrese) buildings that enclose the space to the east and the west. The architect of the mosque, as of the complex, is Atik Sinan (Old Sinan). Built between 1463 and 1470, the complex was restored by Bayezid I following an earthquake in 1509. The dome of the mosque collapsed in the 1766 earthquake and was reconstructed entirely in 1771.

From its original construction only three parts of the fountain wall, the fountain, the crown door, the altar, the minarets till the first gallery, the porch parallel to the Kıble (direction of Mecca) wall are remained today. Outer hoop of the domes are octagonal and they are constructed on belts. Belts are generally decorated with red stone and white marble, and green stone is used only in decorating the pivot. Upstairs’ and downstairs’ window sides are encircled with silver thread. The door posts are made of marble and they are pointed out with a strong silver thread.

Iron railings are made from thick iron and they are knobby. There are eight porch columns, eight of them are green, two of them are pink, two of them are from brunette granite, the some of them are made out of Egyptian granite. Whole crowns are from marble. Cell corners are green poled, decorated with sand clocks and the head ends with a kind corolla.

Mehmed Tahir Ağa restored the mosque in the 19th century, he combined the remaining parts of the claasical mosque with baroque style parts he designed. Because the plaster windows of the mosque were ruined they were changed to simple windows. The fire pool near the Garden door was made built by Sultan Mahmud II in 1825. The mosque has a wide garden. The door was opening to clinic (tabhane) was remained from the old mosque.

Our knowledge of the original mosque is limited to the accounts and sketches of travelers and chroniclers. According to these sources, the mosque had large entry hall with a tall dome supported by a semi-dome of equal radius over the mihrab and three colossal arches on the remaining three sides. This ensemble was flanked by three domed bays to the east and west and was entered through an arcaded courtyard to the north. Three wings of the original courtyard have remained to our day. The new mosque by Mustafa III has also incorporated the portal, the mihrab and the lower shafts of the minarets belonging to the original structure.

The reconstruction by head-architect Mehmed Tahir was realized in the appropriate historic style, distinct from the rococo fashion seen in the contemporary mosques of Nuruosmaniye and Laleli. The form, however, was altered for the most part. The new mosque is slightly wider than the old one and has a tall central dome held by semi-domes on all four sides in ways that resemble the classical mosques of the sixteenth century. Four small domes complete the corners of the pyramid-like space. The plan, oriented 32 degrees east of south, is wider than it is deep and is equal in size to the open courtyard that precedes the mosque.

The courtyard has one main and two side entrances. The main portal is located to the northwest, on axis with the entry to the mosque and the ablution fountain at the center of the courtyard. It is adorned with seven rows of stalactites inside three arches. The side entrances, with cascading steps on the outside, are located where the courtyard gallery meets the taller portico of the mosque.

Windows placed low in each bay of the gallery creates visual connection between the mosque courtyard and the lower grounds. The gallery columns are carved of granite, white marble and green stone. The tympana of each window is adorned with Koranic inscriptions in white and green marble on the precinct side. Ceramic tiles other inscriptions decorate the tympana of two windows inside the mosque portico.

The mosque entrance is marked by the raised dome and the green and white voussoirs of the central bay of portico. The muqarnas portal, maintained from the original structure, has been transformed on the interior with the addition of a balcony above its ribbed semi-vault and a raised terrace (mahfil) with side bays at its front. The central dome, supported by two elephant piers and two porphyry columns in the old structure, is carried on four large piers that section the interior space. The decorative painting of the interior reflects the baroque influence on 18th century Ottoman architecture.

While rebuilding the mosque, the side walls were taken in to accommodate sheltered terraces on either side that have rows of faucets for ablution. A ramp was built on the eastern corner adjoining the marble royal lodge (hünkar mahfili) to allow the sultan enter on his horse. The original Fatih Mosque had two minarets with single balconies. They were rebuilt with two minarets after the earthquake, incorporating the old foundations and the lower shafts. The minarets were refurbished in empire style during the 19th century; their stone spires were replaced by lead spires in 1965, with no alteration to the balconies. The mosque is currently under restoration to repair damage caused by the earthquake on August 18, 1999.

Fatih Külliyesi which was built at the same time with the Fatih Mosque is composed of a school (mektep), library, 16 classes (medrese), a hospice (imaret), an inn (kervansaray), a clinic (tabhane), an asylum (darüşşifa) and a bath (hamam). The schools are at the south and north side of the mosque and are named as the Black Sea school, the Mediterranean Sea school, Başkurşunlu school and Çifteayakkurşunlu school. These schools are composed of 19 cells, one classroom, and four toilets. Schools are encircled with porches and they have courtyards with fountains. Porch domes do not have hoops.

The hospice is on the wide west part of the clinic’s courtyard. It is made out of thick stone walls. Its plan could not have been found but it is understood from the ruins that there were two domes with windows and a wall connecting these. The inn is at the south-eastern corner of the clinic’s courtyard. The entrance supposed to be located at the beginning of the way from Public Library opening to Nakşidil Tomb.

The clinic is in the south-eastern part of the mosque. The clinic is a structure which is separated from the surrounding walls of the mosque with a road and its surrounding walls cover the hospice and the inn with the dimensions of 64x43 meter rectangle. Entrance is from the west.

The Bursa arch shows that the saloon was a big open antechamber (eyvan) with 5.5 meters wide and 7 meters high . At both sides of the antechamber there were two rooms which have stoves and connected to each other with inner doors. The hole which is just in front of the saloon have two domes on both left and right sides is uncovered to give the impression of a kind of side antechamber. The big dome with an open antechamber was used in the summers, the two rooms upstairs were used in winter times and namaz place with two domes, and with antechambers were used to put goods of the guests.

The original library was located in a separate building which no longer exists today. The present library building was built in 1742, and the remaining collection of the old library was carried to the new library. The existing manuscript collection of the library was also carried to the Süleymaniye Manuscript Library in 1956. Currently, the old architectural fabric of the library is undergoing restoration.

The Black Sea and Mediterranean Madrasas
Sixteen madrasas, arranged in two rows of four to the northeast and southwest of the mosque area, are called the Black Sea (Karadeniz Medreseleri) and Mediterranean (Akdeniz Medreseleri) Madrasas. Each medrese complex is composed of four senior madrasas that abut the mosque precinct and four junior madrasas (tetimme medreseleri) placed behind them. Three of the four junior madrasas on the Black Sea Complex have been rebuilt at different points in time, while the junior madrasas of the Mediterranean complex have been demolished to give way to highway expansion in 1928. The Mediterranean madrasas were modified further in 1958 when the walls of the senior madrasas were excavated to match the street level.

Each senior madrasa has nineteen domed rooms, a large classroom (dersane) and two service eyvans protected by a domed arcade enclosing a rectangular courtyard. Their classrooms have mihrab niches and are distinguished with ornamental brickwork on window exteriors. The junior madrasas are of equal length but are lower and less wide than the senior madrasas. They have ten rooms each with a flat-roofed arcade on two or three sides of a long and thin courtyard. The portals of all eight madrasas face the mosque and their arcades have been glazed for contemporary use.

The Hospital and the Hospice Precincts (The Hospice, Soup Kitchen and the Caravanserai)
The hospital (darüssifa) and the hospice (tabhane) had their own enclosed precincts to the southwest of the mosque and the madrasas. The hospital, that is no longer extant, was probably destroyed in the 1766 earthquake; its site has been taken up by housing. It was built on a square plan, with rooms of various sizes around a courtyard with a domed arcade.

The hospice has survived to our day with some rebuilding in the 19th century when it was converted to a madrasa. It boasts a rectangular courtyard building with a forecourt to the northwest. It has ten single-bay rooms on all four sides of the arcaded courtyard, double-bay spaces on either end of the northeast and southwest wings and a large domed eyvan placed on axis with the entrance at the center of the southeastern wing. The double-bay rooms on the north and west corners are the hospice kitchens and are accessed only through the forecourt.

The other two are side eyvans that lead into adjoining dining rooms. The large eyvan, ornamented with muqarnas pendentives, has stalactite niches on either side of the entrance and on qibla wall. A set of stairs set into a wall on the southwestern wing leads up to a mezzanine (kursunluk) and storage areas; there is a side entry located next to the stairs. The hospice is constructed of stone, except for portions of the southeastern wall, which was restored in brick and stone.

There was once a soup kitchen (imaret) and a caravanserai (kervansaray) sited along the southwestern wall of the hospice precinct. Little remains of the soup kitchen; it was a small building with three rooms in a U-shaped plan. It provided food twice daily for the guests in the caravanserai, the students of the madrasas and employees of the complex as well as the poor people in the neighborhood.

There were remains of the caravanserai until 1930, it has since been rebuilt with extensions and is used for commercial purposes. It was a long rectangular building consisting of a series of rooms with barrel vaults. Also found in the hospice precinct is a structure built as a police station (karakolhane) by Sultan Mahmud II in 1838 (1254 A.H.) and another to the south of the hospice that was built as a Military High School in 1875 (1292 A.H.)

Library and Kouranic School
The complex had a library (kütüphane) and a Koranic School (mekteb) that were single unit structures located along the precinct walls probably between the Painter's Gate and the Pastry Maker's Gate. The library was lost sometime during the 19th century. The current library of the complex was built in 1742 (1155 A.H.) by Mahmud I and is located to the southwest of the mosque, adjoining the prayer hall. There is no trace of the Koranic School.

Mausolea of Sultan Mehmed II, Gülbahar Sultan and Nakşidil Sultan
Sultan Mehmed II or Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror (30 March 1432 - 3 May 1481). Sultan Mehmet II also known as el-Fatih, "the Conqueror" in Ottoman Turkish; in modern Turkish, Fatih Sultan Mehmet; also called Mohammet II in early modern Europe was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Rum until the conquest) for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from February 1451 to 1481. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire, absorbing its administrative apparatus into the Ottoman state.

The mausoleum of Sultan Mehmed, built by Sultan Bayezid II in 1482, is found within the Fatih Mosque Complex. This grand marble mausoleum is crowned with a ten-sided dome, and its interior is elaborately decorated with gold and silver.

It is in the tomb of Sultan Mehmed The Conqueror and located in the Mosque of Fatih. The first tomb was built in front of altar, but it was destroyed in the earthquake in 1766. The new tomb was erected on the foundation of the first one. Its door frame was renovated and a verse and a piece of the Koran were written on it by the order of Sultan Abdülhamid I, in 1784.

The large and excavated eaves outside the tomb are in the baroque style, belong to the end of 18th century and beginning of 19th century. Fatih Tomb was repaired again in 1865, in the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz, golden drawings and sash windows were made.

The two royal tomb, located in the cemetery behind the qibla wall of mosque, were rebuilt on their stone bases following the earthquake of 1766. The tomb of Mehmed II is a decagonal building covered by a dome. The corners of the decagon are marked with pilasters on the exterior and the walls are capped with a rococo cornice. Entered through a low vestibule to the northeast, the tomb remains as it was restored during the rule of Abdülaziz I (1861-1876).

The tomb of Gülbahar Sultan is a hexagonal domed unit and houses the tombs of Gülbahar, the wife of Sultan Mehmed II, one of their daughters and two other palace members. In 1817, a third large tomb was built in the cemetery for Nakşidil Sultan, mother of Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839), in the contemporary empire style. The cemetery, which holds graves of many significant people, was also enclosed at this time.


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