Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Karagümrük, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'31.8"N 28°56'27.1"E / 41.025500, 28.940861

 photo semizali_madrasa105.jpg


Beyond the türbe in the main street is an attractive medrese of the classical period, which has been restored and converted into a children’s clinic. This medrese, also called Zincirli Kuyu, was founded by another Ali Paşa who was Grand Vezir in the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent. Because of his great girth he was called Semiz Ali, that is Fat Ali, or sometimes Kalın Ali, Ali the Bear. It is a work of Sinan but presents no special features except the two symmetrical entrances on either side of the dershane.

He was one of the great characters of his time and was known for his wit and conviviality as well as for his honesty, a pleasant contrast to his predecessor Rüstem Paşa. Ali Paşa was a Dalmatian by birth and had been educated in the Palace School at the Saray, later becoming in turn Ağa of the Janissaries, Beylerbeyi of Rumelia, Second Vezir, and finally Grand Vezir. Since he died in office in 1564, the medrese must have been built before that time.

Semiz Ali Paşa madrasa is an example of the structures that are independent and not being a part of a complex. The building with 16 rooms (cells) in total was completed in 1559. The cells of the madrasa are constituted on three sides around a courtyard with a rectangular plan. The entrance and the lecture building are at the same axis.

The Semiz Ali Pasha Madrasa was built independent from any other complex of buildings, by Grand Vizier Semiz Ali Pasha, who was born in Bosnia. The madrasa has lost some of its original features over the years, due to various fires, earthquakes, and restoration attempts. During the reconstruction of the nearby Fevzi Pasha Avenue, an entrance was opened up on the solid wall facing the avenue, while the main entrance along the Hasan Fehmi Pasha Avenue was closed off.

The madrasa was damaged because of the Balat fire in 1729 and the earthquake in 1894. The missing parts of the madrasa are the eaves at the façade, the fountain at the courtyard and the staircase which leaded to the entrance.

Due to re-use of the madrasa, this staircase is removed and the main entrance is closed. It was restored in 1960 and staircases leading to the basement are added.  Another entrance was opened on the new road. Also, the portico of the madrasa is fitted with glass panes. Today, this madrasa building is being used as the Bilim ve İnsan Vakfı.


Phone : +90 212 533 0455
Fax : +90 212 533 3920

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