Friday, December 14, 2018


Eyüp - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'50.1"N 28°56'12.3"E / 41.047250, 28.936750

Büyük İskele Cami (Kaptan Paşa Mosque) is situated in the harbor square of Eyüp. It was built by Hacı Mahmud Ağa in 1577. The mosque that was restored by Cevri usta (the master) in 1819 was converted into its current structure today by the Minister of Navy of the period, Bozcaadalı Hasan Hüsnü Paşa in 1900.


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Eyüp - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'05.8"N 28°56'00.7"E / 41.034944, 28.933528


Maktul Mustafa Paşa Mosque is located outside Edirnekapı on the left corner where Fethi Çelebi Avenue and Otakcıbaşı Street meet. Mustafa Paşa, the builder of the mosque, was exiled to Mytilene in his third time as a prime minister and was killed in 1765. He was buried there.

Mustafa Paşa mosque was restored in 1996 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. The square-planned temple was made of one row of hewn stone and two rows of bricks.


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Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'19.1"N 28°56'11.6"E / 41.021972, 28.936556


Hirka-i Şerif Camii is built on a high terrace, partly artificial; to the south a long staircase leads down to a lower monumental gateway opening from the street below, Keçeciler Caddesi, the Avenue of the Goat Herder. If turn right (west) and follow this street, we come after 500 metres or so to a little mosque on the left which is of no interest save that its architect was Sinan. It was built in 1560, as an inscription shows, by a certain Hürrem who was a çavuş (messenger) in the Divan.

It is of the rectangular type with wooden roof and porch; restorations are recorded in 1844 and 1901. Perhaps because of these, it has lost any charm it may once have had. Just across the lane from the garden of the mosque there is a pleasant tea house named after Koca Mimar Sinan, the architect. One might feel inclined to rest here for awhile and have a glass or two of tea before strolling back to the main avenue.


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Monday, December 10, 2018


Draman, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'43.9"N 28°56'38.7"E / 41.028870, 28.944077

Yunus Bey, the translator (Dragoman) of Sultan Süleyman, had Architect Sinan build the Draman Mosque in 1541, which is 200 m far from Fethiye Mosque. It is said that after the death of Yunus Bey, his brother Mustafa Bey had the mosque completed to measurements of 13.57 x 12 m. It is single vaulted.

The inscription on the mosque is the work of Ebussuud Efendi, Sheikh ul-islam of the Ottoman Sultanate. The lodge lost its features during the restoration works held after the fire of 1729 and later it was called Sheikh Isazade. It was rebuilt by Sultan Mustafa III in 1764. The mosque, having been repaired many times for different reasons, was used continually until the abolishment of the lodges in 1925.

The Mosque received fire damage in 1729 and repaired by Sultan Ahmet III in the same year. It was restored in 1746 by a decree from Sultan Osman III, and once again in 1873 by Sultan Abdülaziz. During the 1985 restoration, the upper structure was renewed as a masonry dome. The portico has been enclosed; the fountain is not original either. The courtyard of the Mosque is now used by the Fatih Müftülüğü Tercüman Yunus Kuran Kursu, for religious studies.


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Eyüp - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'36.8"N 28°56'10.2"E / 41.043556, 28.936167


Cezri Kasım Paşa Mosque is situated on the Zalpaşa Avenue. It dates back to 1515. It was built by Cezri Kasım Paşa. The tile tablet portraying Mecca above the window next to the niche (mihrab) is significant.

He served during the Sultan Bayezid II and Yavuz Sultan Selim periods, was made the fourth vizier in the early years of the Kanuni period, settled down in Bursa after his retirement, died there in 1543 and was buried in Emir Sultan Tomb.


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Zeyrek, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'20.8"N 28°57'08.7"E / 41.022444, 28.952417


Yarhisar Camii, the second oldest mosque in the city, apparently pre-dated only by Sağrıcılar Camii. According to the register of pious foundations (Hayrat Kaydı) this mosque was built in 1461; its founder Musliheddin Mustafa Efendi was Judge of Istanbul in Fatih’s reign.

It was once a handsome edifice, built entirely of ashlar stone, its square chamber covered by a dome on pendentives, preceded by a porch with two domes and three columns.

It was burned in the great fire of 1917 which consumed most of this district, but even in its ruined state it was a fine and dignified structure. In 1954-6 the building was restored, with a thin veneer of brick and stone, Byzantine, covering the original structure, and the interior was redecorated.


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Friday, December 7, 2018


Vezneciler, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'46.3"N 28°57'29.2"E / 41.012863, 28.958122


The building complex is about 17. Century with a madrasa, a tomb, primary school and sabil(serving fountain) perhaps at the time of chief architect Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa, during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I. The inner part of the Madrasa is serving as Fine Arts Department of Istanbul Unıversity. The other parts and magazins are rented to individuals by the foundation.

The classical style Madrasah was built by Grand Vizier Kuyucu Murat Pasha, of Pomak origin, in 1610. L-shaped, with 14 rooms, the madrasah undergone numerous restorations during its history. Kuyucu Murat Pasha Madrasah in Vezneciler Street. Kuyucu Murat Pasha Madrasah is today the Faculty of Fine Arts of İstanbul University.

This elegant little complex was built in 1606 by Kuyucu Murat Paşa, Grand Vezir in the reign of Sultan Ahmet I. Murat Paşa received his nickname kuyucu, or the pit-digger, from his favourite occupation of supervising the digging of trenches for the mass burials of the rebels he had slaughtered.

The apex of the triangle is formed by the columned sebil, with simple classical lines. Facing the street is an arcade of shops in the middle of which a doorway leads to the courtyard of the medrese.

The tomb of the Kuyucu Murat Pasha, who died in 1611, is situated next to the madrasah. Also, buried in the tomb, are Abaza Ahmet Pasha (1638) and Cağaloğlu Sinan Paşazade Mehmet Pasha.

Entering, we find the türbe of the founder in the acute angle behind the sebil, and at the other end the dershane, which, as so often, served also as a small mosque. This building has been taken over and restored by Istanbul University; the courtyard has been roofed in and used as a small museum, while the dershane contains a library.


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Kantarcılar, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'07.1"N 28°57'57.4"E / 41.018639, 28.965944


Kantarcılar Mescidi, the mescit, or small mosque, of the Scale-Makers, named after the guild whose artisans have had their workshops in this neighbourhood for centuries. This mosque was founded during Fatih’s reign by Sarı Demirci Mevlana Mehmet Muhittin. It has since been reconstructed several times and is of little interest except for its great age.

One of the oldest mosques in İstanbul, the Kantarcılar Masjid was built in the second half of the 15th century. Kadızade Mehmet Efendi turned the masjid into a mosque by adding a pulpit in 1688. After being restored between 1848 and 1895, the mosque lost its unique features.


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Atikali, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'30.1"N 28°56'35.1"E / 41.025028, 28.943083


Üç Baş Camii, the tiny mosque we see to the right of the square. Evliya Çelebi tells us that the mosque received this odd name "because it was built by a barber who shaved three heads for one small piece of money, and, notwithstanding, grew so rich that he was enabled to build this mosque; it is small but particularly sanctified".

A more prosaic explanation is given in the Hadika, a comprehensive description of the mosques of Istanbul written in 1780; there we learn that the founder, Nureddin Hamza ben Atallah, came from a village in Anatolia called Üç Baş.

Madrasa of Üç Baş located in the threshold of the mosque, which was built with bricks and Stones, is dilapidated and idle. In addition to these, there is a little cemetery in the threshold.

An inscription over the gate gives the date of foundation as A.H. 940 (A.D. 1532-3). The mosque is of no interest except for its name. Opposite the mosque there is a ruined medrese, founded in 1575 by a certain Halil Efendi. In the centre of the square is an old fountain, the beautifully written inscription on which indicates that it was founded by one Mustafa Ağa in 1681.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Eyüp - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'54.5"N 28°56'03.5"E / 41.048472, 28.934306


This baroque complex, which was built for Mihrişah Sultan, wife of Sultan Mustafa III and mother of Sultan Selim III, near to Bostan Pier of Eyüp in between 1792 - 1795, is quite broad. The complex was built by Arif Ağa the chief architect in between 1792 - 1794.

The inscription on the baroque - rococo style fountain, which dates to 1795 and is in the southeast direction of the complex, belongs to Galip who was the sheikh of the Galata Mevlevihane. The tomb, which was built in 1792 for Mihrişah Sultan who died in 1805, is a quite beautiful example of the Ottoman baroque style. The names of the Prophet Muhammad and four caliphs were inscribed on the roundels between the window arches.

Leaving Eyüp Mosque by the north gate, one finds oneself in a narrow street that leads down to the Golden Horn. Most of the left side of this street is occupied by the enormous külliye built in 1794 by Mihrişah Valide Sultan. This is one of the largest and most elaborate of all the baroque complexes and includes the türbe of the foundress together with a mektep, an imaret, and a splendid sebil and çeşmes.

The türbe is round, but the façade undulates turning it into a polygon, the various faces being separated by slender columns of red or dark grey marble; in general it recalls the türbe of Nakşidil at Fatih, though it is not quite so flamboyant.

The entrance is in a little courtyard filled with tombstones and trees, along one side of which runs the columned portico of the mektep or primary school.

Farther along the street another monumental gateway leads into the vast courtyard with more and tombstones and surrounded on three sides by the porticoes of the huge imaret or public kitchen. This is one of the very few imarets in Istanbul which still fulfil their function as food kitchens for the poor of the district; some 500 people are served daily at 11 o’clock with food to take away.

In leaving you should notice the magnificent sebil at the end of the garden wall on the street side. Continuing towards the water, one passes on the right the türbe and on the left the library of Hüsrev Paşa, dated 1839 and both in heavy Empire style; but the domes of the library reading-rooms contain a good example of that horrendous Italianate comic opera painted decoration of garlands, draperies and columns, which is so distressing when it occurs in classical buildings but is quite appropriate here.


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Küçükpazar, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'12.8"N 28°57'47.8"E / 41.020222, 28.963278


The Üç Mihraplı Mosque or Kazancılar Mosque (mosque with three mihrabs), or the Üç Mihraplı Hoca Hayreddin Mosque, is located in the neighborhood of Küçükpazar, Unkapanı, İstanbul. This mosque built in the 1475 is the only mosque in İstanbul that has three mihrabs. Situated on the Unkapanı Road, in a place called Küçükpazar, Üç Mihraplı Mosque with the features it possesses is a quite interesting mosque. The benefactor of the mosque is Hoca Hayrettin Efendi who tutored Fatih Sultan Mehmet in time.

The mosque was built in 874, and its second mihrab was added by Sultan Mehmed II (the Conqueror) and the third one by the wife of Hayreddin Efendi’s son Ahmed Efendi, who died when he was the kadı (judge) of Damascus. The mosque’s last mihrab was added when the bride of Hoca Hayreddin Efendi added her house to the mosque.

The main body of the building, which seems to be original in form though heavily restored, consists of a square room covered by a dome resting on a high blind drum, worked in the form of a series of triangles so that pendentives or squinches are dispensed with.

In the dome are some rather curious arabesque designs, not in the grand manner of the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries nor yet in the degenerate Italian taste of the nineteenth; they are unique in the city and quite attractive both in design and colour.

The deep porch has three domes only, the arches being supported at each end by rectangular piers and in the centre by a single marble column. The door is not in the middle but on the right-hand side, so as not to be blocked by the column; this arrangement, too, was common in the preclassical period, but there are only a very few such examples in the city.

To the south of the main building is a rectangular annexe with a flat ceiling and two mihrabs; it is through this annexe that we enter the mosque today. According to one authority this section is wholly new; possibly, but as far as form goes, it might well be the dwelling house added by Hayreddin’s daughter-in-law.


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Karaköy, Beyoğlu - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'23.1"N 28°58'24.8"E / 41.023074, 28.973552


There are conflicting reports on the history of this mosque. Some say the original building was built on the order of Haci Ali Bereketzade, the castellan of the nearby Galata Tower, in 1453. Others say it dates from circa 1702 and was built by Bereketzade Mehmed Efendi.

It was completely destroyed in 1948 and the current building dates from 2006. The old drinking fountain once onsite has been moved to a location close to the Galata Tower.


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Sunday, November 18, 2018


Saraçhane, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'53.4"N 28°57'22.6"E / 41.014833, 28.956278


A pretty little mosque, recently restored, called Burmalı Cami. It was built about 1550 by the Kadı (Judge) of Egypt, Emin Nurettin Osman Efendi. Although of the very simplest kind - a square room with a flat wooden ceiling - it has several peculiarities that give it a cachet of its own. Most noticeable is the brick minaret with spiral ribs, from which the mosque gets its name (burmah = spiral); this is unique in Istanbul and is a late survival of an older tradition.

Then the porch is also unique: its roof, which is pitched, not domed, is supported by four columns with Byzantine Corinthian capitals. The reuse of ancient capitals also occurred in the earlier architecture of Bursa and among the Selçuks, but it is very rare indeed in Istanbul.

The architect who so ably restored the mosque, found the original Corinthian capitals so decayed and broken as to be unusable in the restoration, but architect was able to find in the Archaeological Museum four others of the same type with which she replaced the originals.

Finally, the entrance portal is not in the middle but on the right-hand side. This is usual in mosques whose porches are supported by three columns only - so as to prevent the door being blocked by the central column - but here there seems no reason for it. The interior of the mosque has no special features.


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Unkapanı, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'17.6"N 28°57'43.8"E / 41.021556, 28.962167


The mosque, which was built by Yavuz Er Sinan, banner bearer of Sultan Mehmet II, in 1455, is the oldest surviving mosque in İstanbul. It was restored in 1905 after the earthquake of 1894. However, it remained as a ruin for a long time after the fire of 1918. Renovated in 1960, the mosque measures 8.22 x 8.24 m. The fountain next to the mosque was restored in 1882.

When Horoz Dede, woke up soldiers by his imitating a rooster’s crow during the siege of Constantinople, passed away in the final assault, he was buried into the tomb behind the mosque, where Yavuz Er Sinan was also buried. In 1943, during construction works of Atatürk Boulevard, the tomb of Horoz Dede was moved next to Vakıf tombs.

The building is of the simplest type, a square room covered by a dome, the walls of stone. It was restored in 1960 with only moderate success. But although the mosque is of little interest architecturally, its historical background is rather fascinating. For one thing, this is probably the oldest mosque in the city, founded in 1455 by Yavuz Ersinan, standard-bearer in Fatih’s army during the final siege of Constantinople.

This gentleman was an ancestor of Evliya Çelebi; his family remained in possession of the mosque for centuries, living in a house just beside it. Evliya was born in this house in about 1611 and there, 20 years later, he had the dream which changed his life (and immeasurably enriched our knowledge of the life of old Stamboul).

The founder himself is buried in the little graveyard beside the mosque. Beside him is buried one of his comrades-in-arms, Horoz Dede, one of the fabulous folk-saints of Istanbul. Horoz Dede, or Grandfather Rooster, received his name during the siege of Constantinople, when he made his rounds each morning and woke the troops of Fatih’s army with his loud rooster call. Horoz Dede was killed in the final assault and after the city fell he was buried here, with Fatih himself among the mourners at his graveside. The saint’s grave is venerated to this day.


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Eyüp - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'31.5"N 28°56'01.3"E / 41.042083, 28.933694


It is located on the corner where Haydar Baba Avenue and Baba Haydar Cami Street meet. It has doors opening to both streets. The stairs that open to the Haydar Baba Avenue leads you to the courtyard of the mosque.

Behind the necessity window on the right side, there is the tomb of Haydar Baba. The large fringe of the wooden late comers’ area is supported by the props.

Its minaret is on the right hand side and its bastion (şerefe) is enclosed by a metal railings. The square-planned temple located on a set considering the avenue, has a wooden roof and pulpit.


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Sunday, November 11, 2018


Emirgan, Sarıyer - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°06'16.4"N 29°03'22.5"E / 41.104560, 29.056260


Emirgan Mosque (Turkish: Emirgan Cami), officially Emirgan Hamid-i Evvel Mosque (Ottoman Turkish: Emirgan Hamid-i Evvel Cami‎) is an 18th-century Ottoman mosque located in the Emirgan neighborhood of the Sarıyer district in Istanbul.

The mosque was built in 1781 by Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid I (reigned 1774–1789) in memory of his early-died son Mehmed and the mother of his son Hümaşah Kadınefendi. The mosque is officially named after the sultan's name in Ottoman language. Originally, it was part of a complex consisting of a still-existing square fountain, and non-existent structures like a Turkish bath, a bakery and a mill. The complex was constructed on the place of a former coastal palace owned by Emirgüneoğlu Yusuf Pasha. The current mosque was rebuilt by Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808–1839), the son of Sultan Abdul Hamid I.

The architectural style details and the decorations of the mosque comply with the architecture of Empire Period (1808–1876) of the Sultan Mahmud II era rather than with the Baroque Period (1757–1808) architecture of the Sultan Abdul Hamid I era. Apparently, no part of the mosque building is original except the inscription dating the first construction by Sultan Abdul Hamid I in 1871, which is kept on place as a sign of respect.

The square-plan mosque was built in a courtyard in ashlar masonry with a wooden roof. The big windows in two rows on each side bring natural lighting into the mosque. A cylindrical slim minaret with one balcony erected on a square base is situated south of the mosque. The Acanthus-type foliage ornaments and other decorations on the minaret, typical of 19th-century minarets, indicate that it underwent modifications.

A two-story sultan's pavilion is attached to the mosque's eastern wall with a separate entrance. A bay window, supported by six columns, served as relaxation room for the sultan. According to a two-line poetic inscription written in Thuluth on top of the shadirvan situated at the northern corner of the mosque's courtyard, it was endowed by Rebgigül Hanım, the head of female servants in the house of Mümtaz Kadın, a spouse of Wali and Khedive of Ottoman Egypt Kavalalı Mehmet Ali Pasha (r. 1805–1848).


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Atikali, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'25.2"N 28°56'47.0"E / 41.023667, 28.946389


It is situated in the District of Fatih, at the junction of Yavuz Selim Road and Mustakimzade Street. It was built for Mimar Sinan-i Atik who passed away in 1471. Even though it is called with the name of its benefactor, it got the name of “Kumrulu Mescid” (The Masjid with Doves) from the bird reliefs situated on the ornamental slab of the now dry fountain i located in the corner of the structure which depicts birds drink ng water out of a bowl.

Kumrulu Mescidi, takes its name from a fragment of Byzantine sculpture used in the adjoining çeşme, showing two turtledoves drinking from the Fountain of Life. This mosque is of interest principally because its founder and builder was Atik Sinan, the Chief Architect of Sultan Mehmet II and the designer of the original Mosque of the Conqueror. Atik Sinan’s tombstone is to be seen in the garden of the mosque, with an inscription which tells us that he was executed by Fatih in 1471.

The mosque was the work of a less well known Sinan, Atik Sinan (Sinaüddin Bin Yusuf), about whose life we know almost nothing. As the almost certainly apocryphal story goes, he was rewarded for his efforts by having his hands chopped off in 1471 when the sultan realized that the dome of Hagia Sophia still outstripped that of his new mosque. He was buried in the grounds of the Kumrulu Cami in nearby Karagümrük.

After the architect’s death in 1471, the same year the mosque was finished, his entire estate was donated to a mescit (small mosque), zaviye (sufi lodge) and a school that he had built in the Fatih district. His grave is in the section of the Sinan-ı Atik Mosque cemetery known as the Kumrulu Mescit. It’s a nice story but whether it’s true or not is for you to decide.

The structure, which was lastly repaired in the years 1963-64 has a plain architecture with an oblong design. Its mihrab is ornamented with encaustic tiles. it a building made of bricks and stones that has a roof covered with tiles. It has got a single minaret with a single balcony.


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Kandilli, Üsküdar - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°03'51.5"N 29°03'18.8"E / 41.064306, 29.055222


Vaniköy Mosque is one of the few Bosporus mosques that has regular attendants who visit at times other than during Friday prayers. There has always been sycamore tree in its courtyard. The mosque, which gave its name to the neighborhood around it, is only unlocked at prayer times.

On the seafront next to the quay is the unassuming Vaniköy Mosque, built in 1665 by Vani Mehmet Efendi. Sultan Mahmut I (1730-1754) added a royal gallery to the rectangular mosque, which has masonry walls and a pitched roof. Now we come to Göksu, a favourite picnic and excursion place in the 19th century.

Vanî Mehmed Efendi (b.?- d.1685), who lived during the era of Ottoman empire Sultans called Mehmed IV and Sultan Ibrahim, is one of the distinguished scientists raised by the 17th Turkish period. After completing his education in Van he worked as a hodja and preacher in Erzurum, Istanbul and Bursa. Furthermore, he served as a sultan preacher and hace-i sultan in İstanbul.


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Thursday, November 8, 2018


Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'36.9"N 28°56'43.9"E / 41.026917, 28.945528


Close to Manyasizade Street, the Mehmet Ağa Mosque was built by Architect Davut Ağa in 1584-1585 for Mehmet Ağa, the chief eunuch of black eunuchs brought from Ethiopia as slaves. In addition, it is shown as one of the work of Sinan the Architect in some references. He was a high rank officer in the palace responsible from harem and the commander and the palace halberdiers.

The construction which was a Mimar Sinan monument was built according to topography as we encountered in many works of the master. The construction which has alcoves opened to a rectangular planned courtyard and alternative wall masonry still serves as cultural centre.

In the square planned mosque, which has a central dome measuring 11 m in diameter and very beautiful tiles of İznik, 16th century tiles of Kütahya and 18th century tiles of the Palace of the Porphyrogenitus can still be seen today.

A square room covered by a dome, with a projecting apse for the mihrab and an entrance porch with five bays. But unlike most mosques of this simple type, the dome does not rest directly on the walls but on arches supported by pillars and columns engaged in the wall; instead of pendentives there are four semidomes in the diagonals. The mosque is about 380 m2.

Even though the name of the architect Davut Ağa is mentioned on the inscription panel, this mosque is listed among Sinan’s architectural works in Tuhfetü’l Mimaran. Since Sinan is credited as the architect, we assume that he greatly contributed to the design of the mosque. In general, it displays well-preserved architectural characteristics of the period of Sinan.

The tile rosettes on the pendentives in the interior are interesting and highly refined. Mehmet Ağa had been brought to the Palace as a slave from Ethiopia and had risen to the level of Chief Eunuch of the Harem.

Madrasa which was the part of a small complex was built by Hacı Mehmet who was one of the Darüssade aghas of Topkapı Palace in 1580. The madrasah, having 10 rooms and one big classroom, was later converted into a home for women. This madrasah, was given to the Society for the Protection of Children from the beginning of the Turkish Republic until 1986. It later was assigned to the Authors Association of Turkey in 1989.

As understood from the inscription on his tomb that is situated in the threshold of the mosque, he is known to have died in the 1590. There ara two morc mosques in Üsküdar, a madrasa, a school, and a water fountain on the Divan Road, in front of Hoca Rüstem Mosque built for Mehmed Aga. Architect of the mosque is Davut Ağa.

lts mihrab and minbar are made of marble and the tile panels crowning the lower windows and the tiles embracing thr mihrab from both sides ara thr ornamentation apparatus which ara 16th century Kütahya or Iznik tiles and or ara the tiles belonging to 18th century Tektur palace.

Dated to 1586, the bath built by the architect of the complex, Davut Ağa, can be seen near the mosque. The Bath House, which still continues to serve the public, is next to the mosque and the tomb, and open to public. Just to the south outside the precincts stands a handsome double bath, also a benefaction of Mehmet Ağa and presumably built by Davut Ağa.

The general plan is standard: a large square camekân, the dome of which is supported on squinches in the form of conches; a cruciform hararet with cubicles in the corners of the cross, but the lower arm of the cross has been cut off and turned into a small soğukluk which leads through the right-hand cubicle into the hararet; in the cubicles are very small private washrooms separated from each other by low marble partitions – a quite unique disposition. As far as one can judge from the outside, the women’s section seems to be a duplicate of the men’s.

The square planned tomb of Mehmet Ağa in the complex is relatively plain. The Mehmet Ağa Tomb is nearby, next to the mosque. Its square plan is original, yet it has lost some of its 16th century features. The Tomb can be viewed from the outside; it is closed to visitors at this time.


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Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'18.5"N 28°56'51.3"E / 41.021806, 28.947583


It is located between Fatih Avenue and Hafiz Pasha Street in Küçükkaraman in Fatih. It was constructed along with Madrasah, Daru’l Kurra and Public Fountain in 1595 upon the order of Hafiz Ahmet Pasha who was the Sadaret Governor and Grand Vizier of Sultan Murat IV.

Hafız Ahmed Pasha (1564 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria – 10 February 1632 in Istanbul), also known by epithet Müezzinzade ("muezzin's son"), was an Ottoman grand vizier. Born as son of a Pomak muezzin, he went to Istanbul at the age of 15 and was an employee in the sultan's palace for many years. From 1609 on, he became Governor of Damascus (Syria), Van (Turkey), Erzurum (Turkey), Baghdad (Iraq), and other Anatolian eyalets.

The kulliye consisting of the mosque, madrasah, Daru’l Kurra, public fountain and the fountain had been ruined during the 1918, Fatih fire and all the parts of it except 14 madrasahs, collapsed and some part of the walls could stand. The kulliye which was damaged heavily during the earthquake of 1648, fires of 1782 and 1918 was restord for many times.

There were baroque decorations on the balcony of the minaret and inside the dome of the mausoleum. In the kuliyat which stayed as ruined for a long time after the fire of 1918, the public fountain compietely burnt out, and the most parts of the mausoleum, mosque, darulkurra, and madrasah porticos burnt out.

The restoration of the kulliye was initiated by the chamber of foundations in 1976 and the madrasah was partly restored while the mosque was left unfinished. Beginning from 1990 with the support of Selam Foundation the mosque was restored with its minaret and opened to worshipping.

The mosque on the south of the kulliye has a transverse plan with a square place in the middle and sub-places smaller in size and having a square plam again on both sides. Marble covered mihrab niche which was restored is heptagon and its top was ended with muqarnas veil.

The minaret which has sixteen bodies over the original concrete square base was covered leaded cone. In the old pictures the elliptical transition of 18th century baroque style on the balcony and girlant decorations on the parapets are seen.


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Eminönü, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'00.0"N 28°58'25.6"E / 41.016666, 28.973786


The Hidayet Mosque located on Yalı Köşkü Street in Istanbul’s Eminönü district, was built in 1813 (Islamic Calendar 1229) under Sultan Mahmud II. Originally of wood construction, it was reconstructed by the French architect Alexander Vallaury in 1887 under the direction of Sultan Abdülhamid II, as described by the inscription on the entrance to the courtyard.

Hidayet Mosque was built for Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) in 1813 from in wood. When it was entered from the South side, on the threshold gate is the inscription written with the lettering of Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet, When the wooden mosque built for Sultan Mahmud II had become ruined time, the mosque was rebuilt for Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1909) in 1887 in its today’s outlook.

The design of the two-story mosque can be described as Orientalist. There are two large pointed-arch windows on the Eastern and Western sides of the mosque and 21 windows in the dome. The mosque built over 500 m2 appears as a two-floor building it its original. Stairs lead to the second floor, where there is a prayer room and a domed sanctuary.

The mosque built over 500 m2 appears as a two-floor building it its original. The last section is the main praying space. Its design is close to square. There is the room fort he imam in the symmetry of the steps to upstairs. The main space is in square design. There are two large operable windows on itse ast and west walls and the mosque is illuminated with 21 windows situated on the dome.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Doğancılar, Üsküdar - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'17.2"N 29°00'36.9"E / 41.021444, 29.010250


This mosque was built in 1597 by Mehmed Ağa, Vizier Sinan Paşa's mirahur (stableman). Over time, the word mirahur became distorted to imrahor, and thus became the name of the district.

The most charming element of the structure which preserves traces of Ottoman architecture from the Classical period is the red and white panelled arch.  This arch is decorated with palmated rosettes that are tiered with a slight arch molding. By incorporating these techniques, the aesthetic image of the structure was reinforced.

This outstanding Ottoman fountain and its facade decorated with plant motifs was actively used until 1940. In the following years, the water of the fountain was provided from the city’s water network.

Next to the mosque there is a water depot that was built in 1813. On the right is the fountain of Başkadın, built during the Tulip Era by Ematullah Kadın of Sultan Ahmet III. The fountain of Ayşe Sultan, built in 1599 by the daughter of Sultan Murad III, can also be found here.

To the south of the mosque there is one of the few "charity stones" that have survived until today. The stone, which used to be taller than the height of an average man, was broken due to frequent changes in location. Poor people used to take the money that was put on the high niche, taking only as much as they needed.


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Sultanahmet, Fatih, İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'12.1"N 28°58'45.5"E / 41.003372, 28.979294


Akbiyik Mosque, one of the oldest mosques of Istanbul, is situated in Ahirkapi between the railroad and seashore and was built for one of the statesmen of Fatih Sultan Mehmet period, Akbiyik Muhyiddin Efendi, in 1464.

It was build by Fatih Dede an ulema that lived during Fatih Sultan Mehmet and it dates at the end of the 15th century. One of the oldest mosques of Istanbul, yet only the minaret is originally dated to the 15th century. Many repairs and restorations changed its original building. The mosque was located at the farthest point of the city that once was inside the Great Walls of Constantinopolis and was considered as the closest one to Kaaba.

It has a square design with a wooden roof and has an inner space of 192 square metres. The minaret with a single balcony still preserves its old body and balcony. Minbar was added subsequently.

The district was also called with the same name until 1934. It was included into the District of Sultanahmet in that year. As mentioned above, the tomb of its benefactor, Muhyiddin Efendi, is in the garden of the mosque.


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Caferağa, Kadıköy - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 40°59'26.6"N 29°01'25.7"E / 40.990721, 29.023809


The mosque erected by Sultan Mustafa III. Architect Mehmed Tahir Ağa built it in 1759-1763. Mosque was destroyed in a fire. Sultan Abdülmecit rebuilt a stone masonry mosque in 1858. The single dome mosque underwent a renovation in 1975.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Cankurtaran, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'23.2"N 28°58'53.8"E / 41.006444, 28.981611


İshak Pasha Mosque Located in the street leading to Ahırkapı from Cebehane. İshak Pasha, a Vizier to both Sultan Mehmet II and Sultan Beyazıt II, had the mosque built in 1483. The viemity, the road and the mosque share the same name.

Ishak Pasa, one of the Grand Viziers of 15th century was originally a Greek who was educated in Enderun “the palace school” as a Muslim and had ascended the Grand Vizierate from treasurership during the reign of Sultan Murat II.

It is a small and very modest building with one dome covering an interior space only 75 square meters (807 square ft). The minbar of the mosque was built later for Mehmet Paşa who was one of the Viziers of Fatih Sultan Mehmet.

The mosque has undergone several restorations some of which took place in 1704, 1731, and 1811. The restoration works for the mosque, which measures 8.6 x 8.6 m, began shortly after the fire of 1918 and it was completed in 1951. The mosque and the modern bath were converted into a military warehouse after the fire of 1912.

Ishak Pasa was deposed just before the campaign over the Akkoyunlu and Mahmut Paşa ascendded the Grand Vizierate fort he second time. After the ascension of Sultan Bayazid II to throne, he was brought back to Grand vizierate one more time in 1481 and continued his post with success till he retired in 1492. He died in 1497.

Just across the street for the small mosque you find a large derelict building. It used to be the Ishak Paşa hamam or bath house that dates to the same period as the mosque, i.e. the late decades of the 15th century.


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Gülhane, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'38.6"N 28°58'38.1"E / 41.010722, 28.977250


A small mosque with an elegant sebil at the street corner. This mosque and its külliye were built in 1745 by Beşir Ağa, Chief of the Black Eunuchs in the reign of Sultan Mahmut I. Hacı Beşir Ağa Complex is located in the Fatih (old Eminönü) District of İstanbul. Hacı Beşir Ağa who was the Chief Eunuch of the Sultan’s Harem (called the Darüssaade Ağası) in the middle of the eighteen centrury (1744-1745).

The complex is consist of a mosque, a library, a madrasa, a tekke (dervish lodge), a sebil (kiosk for the distribution of drinking water or sherbet to passers-by in cups), two fountains, seven shops and a place is attached to the east side of the mosque which could be used as a primary school or a special place for Sultan.

Except from the madrasa and tekke the complex was restorated by The General Directorate for Foundations between the November of 2008 and January of 2010. During the restoration lots of expert (such as architect, restorer, chemist, art historian) worked together as a team and all works have been documented.


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Salmatomruk, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'45.0"N 28°56'22.5"E / 41.029167, 28.939583

The Mosque lies in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Salmatomruk, not far from Edirnekapı (the ancient Gate of Charisius), more or less halfway between the Chora Church and the Fethiye Mosque, and about 100 m Southwest of the remains of the Odalar Mosque. The small mosque - enclosed in a garden with trees - lies between Koza Sokak and Kasım Odalar Sokak, and is surrounded by modern blocks.

Kasım Ağa Mosque (Turkish: Kasım Ağa Mescidi; also Kasım Bey Mescidi, where mescit is the Turkish word for a small mosque) is a former Byzantine building converted into a mosque by the Ottomans in Istanbul, Turkey. Neither surveying during the last restoration nor medieval sources have made it possible to find a satisfactory answer as to its origin and possible dedication.

It is probable that the small building was part of the Byzantine monastery whose main church was the building known in Ottoman Age as the Odalar Mosque, whose dedication is also uncertain. The edifice is a minor example of Byzantine architecture in Constantinople, and is important for historical reasons.


The building was erected on the top of the sixth hill of Constantinople, on a plateau which is limited by the open air Cistern of Aetios (now a football field) and by the unidentified Byzantine edifice denominated in Ottoman times as Boĝdan Saray. Nothing is known about the edifice in the Byzantine Age. Both usage and possible dedication of this building are unknown,  but it is probable that it was an annex of the monastery whose katholikon is the building known in the Ottoman Age as Odalar Mosque.

According to a member of the monastery, who flourished in the eleventh century, the House was founded by a monk named Bara in the reign of Anastasius I. (491-518) near an old half-ruined chapel dedicated to S. John the Baptist, in what was then a lonely quarter of the city, between the Gate of S. Romanus (Top Kapoussi) and Blachernae.

The monastery becomes conspicuous in the narratives of the Russian pilgrims to the shrines of the city, under the designation, the monastery of S. John, Rich-in-God, because the institution was unendowed and dependent upon the freewill offerings of the faithful, which 'by the grace of God and the care and prayers of John' were generous.

Thrice a year, on the festivals of the Baptist and at Easter, the public was admitted to the monastery and hospitably entertained. It seems to have suffered during the Latin occupation, for it is described in the reign of Andronicus II. as standing abandoned in a vineyard. But it was restored, and attracted visitors by the beauty of its mosaics and the sanctity of its relics.

In 1381 a patriarchal decision conferred upon the abbot the titles of archimandrite and protosyngellos, and gave him the third place in the order of precedence among the chiefs of the monasteries of the city, that thus the outward honours of the house might reflect the virtue and piety which adorned its inner life. Owing to the proximity of the house to the landward walls, it was one of the first shrines to become the spoil of the Turks on the 29th of May 1453, and was soon used as a quarry to furnish materials for new buildings after the conquest.

Gyllius visited the ruins, and mistaking the fabric for the church of S. John the Baptist at the Hebdomon, gave rise to the serious error of placing that suburb in this part of the city instead of at Makrikeui beside the Sea of Marmora. Gerlach describes the church as closed because near a mosque. Portions, however, of the monastic buildings and of the strong wall around them still survived, and eikons of celebrated saints still decorated the porch.

On an eikon of Christ the title of the monastery, Petra, was inscribed. Some of the old cells were then occupied by nuns, who were maintained by the charitable gifts of wealthy members of the Greek community. The water supply for this complex came without doubt from the nearby Ipek cistern. Anyway, at the time of the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the edifice was already in ruin. After the Conquest of Constantinople, a predominantly Christian population settled in the neighborhood around the building.

Despite that in 1506, under the reign of Sultan Bayezid II, a foundation endowed by Kasım bey bin Abdullah (possibly at that time Sekbanbaşı, that is, chief (Turkish: Agha of the Janissaries), had a small mosque erected on the ruins of the building. To the mosque were endowed several shops and plots of land nearby, among them also the still existent Byzantine cistern named Ipek Bodrum (Turkish: Silk Basement, named so because in the Ottoman Age the ample room was used as silk throwing workshop).

The small mosque was heavily damaged by the earthquake of 1894 and by the Salmatomruk fire on 2 July 1919, so that afterward only the perimeter walls and the base of the minaret were still standing. Subsequently abandoned, from the middle of the 20th century the edifice was used as a shanty, but in the 1970s it was fully restored and is now open for worship and a minaret was added in 1989, is not in its original cover.


The edifice has a square plan, with a northeast-southwest orientation. The Byzantine edifice was also roughly square in plan, with a single nave preceded by an atrium at NE and a projecting room on the east side. Due to its small dimensions, the building can hardly be identified as a church, but rather as an annex belonging to a monastery.

The analysis of the brickwork during the restoration showed different construction phases, and revealed that the foundations and the surviving walls were made of brick and stone. Moreover, the surveys show that during the conversion into a mosque in 1506 the atrium and the wall of the Mihrab had to be rebuilt. At the same time, a massive minaret was erected on the northeast side of the building.

The building is in two stories, and may be described as a chapel over a crypt. It points north-east, a peculiar orientation probably due to the adaptation of the chapel to the position of the residence with which it was associated. The masonry is very fine and regular, built in courses of squared stone alternating with four courses of brick, all laid in thick mortar joints, and pierced with numerous putlog holes running through the walls.

 It presents a striking likeness to the masonry in the fortifications of the city. The lower story is an oblong hall covered with a barrel vault, and terminates in an arch and apse. In the west side of one of the jambs of the arch is a small niche. The vault for one-third of its height is formed by three courses of stone laid horizontally and cut to the circle; above this it is of brick with radiating joints. Here cows are kept.

The upper story is m 3.75 above the present level of the ground. It is a single hall m 8.80 in length and m 3.70 wide, terminating in a bema and a circular apse in brick. Over the bema is a barrel vault. A dome, without drum or windows, resting on two shallow flat arches in the lateral walls and two deep transverse arches strengthened by a second order of arches, covers the building.

In the wall towards the north-west there is a window between two low niches; and a similar arrangement is seen in the opposite wall, except that the door which communicated with the residence occupies the place of the window. The apsidal chambers, usual in a church, are here represented by two niches in the bema. Externally the apse shows five sides, and is decorated by a flat niche pierced by a single light in the central side, and a blind concave niche, with head of patterned brickwork, in the two adjacent sides.

The dome, apse, vaults, and transverse arches are in brick, laid in true radiating courses. The absence of windows in the dome is an unusual feature, which occurs also in the angle domes of S. Theodosia. The pendentives are in horizontal courses, corbelled out to the centre, and at each angle of the pendentives is embedded an earthenware jar, either for the sake of lightness, or to improve, as some think, the acoustics of the building. This story of the chapel is used as a hayloft.

A careful survey of the building shows clearly that the domical character of the chapel is not original, and that the structure when first erected was a simple hall covered with a wooden roof. Both the shallow wall arches and the deep transverse arches under the dome are insertions in the walls of an older fabric. They are not supported on pilasters, as is the practice elsewhere, but rest on corbels, and, in order to accommodate these corbels, the lateral niches, originally of the same height as the central window, have been reduced in height.

A fragment of the original arch still remains, cut into by the wall arch of the dome. The flat secondary arches crossing the chapel at each end are similarly supported on corbels. This view is confirmed by the examination of the plaster left upon the walls. That plaster has four distinct coats or layers, upon all of which eikons in tempera are painted.

The innermost coat is laid between the transverse dome arches and the walls against which they are built. Those arches, therefore, could not have formed parts of the building when the first coat of plaster was laid, but must be later additions. In keeping with this fact, the second coat of painted plaster is found laid both on the arches and on those portions of the old work which the arches did not cover.

The secondary arches under the transverse arches at each end belong to a yet later period, for where they have separated from the arches above them, decorated plaster, which at one time formed part of the general ornamentation of the building, is exposed to view. At this stage in the history of the chapel the third coat of plaster was spread over the walls, thus giving three coats on the oldest parts where unaltered - two coats on the first alterations, and one coat on the second alterations. The fourth coat of plaster is still later, marking some less serious repair of the chapel.

The voussoirs of the lateral dome arches should be noticed. They do not radiate to the centre, but are laid flatter and radiate to a point above the centre. This form of construction, occurring frequently in Byzantine arches, is regarded by some authorities as a method of forming an arch without centering. But in the case of the lateral wall arches before us it occurs where centering could never have been required; while the apse arch, where centering would have had structural value, is formed with true radiating voussoirs.

The failure of the voussoirs to radiate to the centre therefore seems to be simply the result of using untapered voussoirs in which the arch form must be obtained by wedge-shaped joints. For if these joints are carelessly formed, the crown may very well be reached before the requisite amount of radiation has been obtained. On the other hand, if full centering had been used, we should expect to find marks of the centering boards on the mortar in the enormously thick joints.

But neither here nor in any instance where the jointing was visible have such marks been found. Still, when we consider the large amount of mortar employed in Byzantine work, it seems impossible that greater distortions than we actually meet with in Byzantine edifices would not have occurred, even during the building, had no support whatever been given. It seems, therefore, safe to assume the use of at any rate light scaffolding and centering to all Byzantine arches.


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Thursday, October 18, 2018


Sofular, Eyüp - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'44.6"N 28°55'56.1"E / 41.045722, 28.932250

Sofu Ali Çavuş Mosque (also Sofular Mosque) is in the Sofular Avenue. It was built by Ali Ağa, one of the sergeants of the Fatih period. Çavuş Ali Ağa is buried in the courtyard of this mosque built in 1464. It was restored by the General Directorate for Foundations in 2011. The building whose landscape planning was carried out by the Municipality of Eyüp is now ready for worship.

The Sofular Mescidi was built by the brother of Kâsım Çavuş and it is also the focus point of another Eyüp neighbourhood formed during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. This building is also known as the Sofu Ali Çavuş Mescidi. According to Tahsin Öz it was built in 1464 and the chronicler şeyhülislam Hoca Saadettin Efendi had the minber added. Ayvansaray gives us information about the founder and his foundation.

Searching through the register of repairs, we notice that the minaret was rebuilt in 1189 (1775) when it collapsed as a result of having been struck by lightning. In the 1950’s and in 1975 the entrance section was repaired and in 1977 the mosque was completely rebuilt. The ground around it has risen through time so access to the courtyard happens by means of steps. The entrance is enclosed by an iron and glass structure.

On the southern side of this section the reare two windows and a door in the western corner leading to the inside of the mosque. On this side there is also a mükebbire (special place from which the müezzin recites his call to prayer). The main section of the mosque is 12,15 x 9,80 m. Its walls, the mihrab and the minber are covered with late Kütahya ceramic tiles.

The building receives natural lighting by means of two windows at each corner. The women’s gallery stands on the northern side, supported by polygonal columns. The interior of the roof is flat wooden and its exterior slopes towards all four sides and is covered with roof-tiles. The minaret stands on the western side supported by a square base.

The base is made up of alternate rows of bricks and cut stones, while the transition to the main spiral body of the minaretis by means of triangles. The masjid’s walls are made of roughly hewn stone and bricks.To the west of the mihrab there is the tomb-stone of Ali Çavuş, founder of the mosque. The inscription on the tombstone shows us that itwas renewed in 1200 (1785).


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Divanyolu, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'02.0"N 28°42'11.0"E / 41.033889, 28.703056


Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmet Pasha and his son Köprülü Ahmet Pasha, from the famous Köprülü family, commissioned Chief Architect Kasım Ağa to build the Köprülü Complex between 1659 - 1667 opposite the Tomb of Sultan Mahmut II.

The mosque is a few steps beyond the türbe, projecting out into the sidewalk of Divan Yolu. The mosque, which is octagonal in shape, was once the dershane, or lecture-room, of the Köprülü medresesi, most of which has now disappeared.

The complex of mosques, madrasas, mausoleums, fountains, springs and the library, the inn and the shops has occurred, a large space. As by now, you have seen a variety of complexes on your Istanbul tours that were built by viziers, pashas or the royal family members.

The complexes that government officials donate are smaller in size then the complexes that royal family members donate. This is a way of showing respect to royal family. Köprülü Complex consists of a masjid (a small place for prayers), a madrasah (teological school), a tomb, a sebil, a fountain and some stores.

The madrasah was renovated in 1873.

The fountain of the complex was completed in 1661.

Köprülü Mehmet Pasha, died in 1661, his son Fazıl Ahmet Pasha and Ayşe Hanım were buried in the tomb.

Vezir Han
On the side - street of Janissaries Street, the Vizier Han was built by Grand Vizier Fazıl Ahmet Pasha between 1659 and 1660, as a part the Köprülü Complex. The Han, which was built of stone and brick, has two courtyards and two floors. The epigraph on the doorway was inscribed at the restoration in the years 1894 - 1895. There is a masjid in the second yard that was not used.

The first courtyard is triangular and the second is a trapezoid measuring 70 x 47 x 65 x 45 m. The Han remained as a slave bazaar until slavery was abolished in the Ottoman Empire in 1855. Mustafa Ziya Bey began to publish the first sports gazette of the Ottoman Empire which commercial on the 11th of October 1910 in Vezir Han.

Köprülü Library
Located on Divanyolu Street across from the Tomb of Sultan Mahmut II in the Eminönü of Istanbul, the Köprülü Library was built by Fazıl Ahmet Pasha (1635 - 1676), the son of Sadrazam (Grand Vizier) Köprülü Mehmet Pasha, on the last wish of his father. Köprülüzade Fazıl Mustafa Pasha completed the establishment of the library with the composition of a vakıf [non-for-profit organization] charter in 1678.

The library was opened with its staff being composed of three librarians, one binder, and one janitor. The first book was donated by the Köprülü family, and the number of available books continued to increase with further donations and purchases. Of all the donations to the library, those by Köprülü Mehmet Pasha, Fazıl Ahmet Pasha, Hacı (Hafiz) Ahmet Pasha, and Mehmet Asım Bey were among the highest.

Its collection contains more than 1,000 booksand approximately 3,000 manuscripts in Turkish, Arabic and English as well as approximately 1,500 printed works. The author, book, and subject lists of manuscripts and printed works are organized according to the Dewey Decimal Classification Method. The Köprülü Library is one of the first examples of an independent library design in Istanbul

It is located in a garden, whose three sides are surrounded by streets and is constructed with alternating stones and bricks. It is covered by a dome placed on an octagonal rim on the outside with a pendentive square plan. The arcade part, which is reached by a four-step staircase in the western section of the library, was moved to the front and has assumed a T-shape.

There is a diamond-shaped head placed on top of six marble pillars, spire arch arcade is covered with four domes. The library is accessed through a low-pitched door in the central axis of the arcade. The interior is illuminated by windows, with one on each side, two in the upper level, and three each with six upper part windows across the entrance. There are spire discharge arches with rectangular jambs. The interior surface of the dome and pendentives are decorated with over-the-gate pen works.

Both "C" and "S" curves are attract visitors’ attention among these brown, black and red ornamentations. Written underneath the flower designs are the word, “Maşallah,” and date, 1181 Hijri (1667-1668). Furthermore, both “Masallah” and the date of 1289 Hijri (1872) and 1327 Hijri (1911) are written on the inner door. Based on these inscriptions, it is understood that the library underwent  restoration in both 1872 and 1911.

During the restoration in 1911, the electric lines were floored, cushions and book lecterns were removed, and in addition, tables and chairs were replaced. Only 9 out of the 12 rooms of the madrasah are preserved and its architect was probably Chief Architect Mustafa Ağa.


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Kocamustafa Paşa, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'10.1"N 28°56'05.1"E / 41.002806, 28.934750


The medieval structure, choked by artisan shops, lies in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Kocamustafapaşa (historically Samatya), on Teberdar Sokak, about five hundred meters north east of the Kocamustafapaşa station of the suburban railway line between Sirkeci and Halkalı.

Sancaktar Hayrettin Mosque (Turkish: Sancaktar Hayrettin Câmîi; also Sancaktar Hayrettin Mescidi, where Mescit is the Turkish word for a small mosque, or Sancaktar Mescidi) is part of a former Eastern Orthodox monastery converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. It is generally believed that the small building belonged to the Byzantine Monastery of Gastria, meaning "Monastery of the Vases". The edifice is a minor example of Palaiologan architecture in Constantinople, and is important for historical reasons.


The origin of this building, which lies on the southern slope of the seventh hill of Constantinople and overlooks the Sea of Marmara, is not certain. The tradition says that in year 325 Helena, the mother of Constantine I, coming back from Jerusalem with the True Cross and entering the City through the Port tou Psomatheou, left in this place some vases (Gastria) containing aromatic herbs collected on Calvary. Then she founded there a nunnery. In reality, no monastery was established in Constantinople before the last quarter of the fourth century, so this has to be considered only a legend.

The nunnery of Gastria was first mentioned at the beginning of the ninth century. At that time Theoctista, mother of Empress Theodora (wife of Emperor Theophilos and restorer of the cult of the icons) bought in the quarter of Psamathia a house from the Patrician Nicetas (possibly Saint Nicetas the Patrician), and established there a nunnery. The title of Ktētorissa (foundress), together with the property of the buildings, was inherited by her daughter Theodora.

Together with her daughters Anna, Anastasia and Pulcheria, Theodora was removed to the monastery by her brother Bardas after her deposition. All of them were forced to accept the tonsure. Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus writes in his book De Ceremoniis that the church of the nunnery served also as a mausoleum for the members of Theodora's family. The Empress, her brother Petronas, her mother and her three daughters were all buried there.

The last mention of Gastria before 1453 comes from a Russian pilgrim, who visited the City during the second quarter of the fifteenth century. He remembers a nunnery placed near the Golden Gate, where the relics of Saint Euphemia and Saint Eudokia were venerated. This building could well be identified with Gastria.

This mosque is situated in the quarter of Samatya, at a short distance to the north of the Armenian church of S. George (Sulu Monastir), which stands on the site of the Byzantine church of S. Mary Peribleptos. Paspates, who first recognized the Byzantine character of the edifice, regards it as the chapel attached to the convent of the Gastria, i.e. in the district of the Flower-pots.

The building is situated in the district of Psamathia, where the convent of the Gastria stood; secondly, it is in the neighbourhood of the Studion, with which the convent of the Gastria was closely associated during the iconoclastic controversy; thirdly, the copious and perennial stream of water that flows through the grounds below the mosque would favour the existence of a flower-garden in this part of the city, and thus give occasion for the bestowal of the name Gastria upon the locality.

The argument is by no means conclusive. A more fanciful explanation of the name of the district is given by Byzantine etymologists after their wont. According to them the name was due to the circumstance that the Empress Helena, upon her return from Jerusalem with her great discovery of the Holy Cross, disembarked at Psamathia, and having founded a convent there, adorned its garden with the pots of fragrant shrubs which accompanied the sacred tree on the voyage from Palestine.

More sober historians ascribe the foundation of the convent to Euphrosyne, the step-mother of the Emperor Theophilus, 466 or to his mother-in-law Theoctista. 467 Both ladies, it is certain, were interested in the House, the former taking the veil there, 468 while the latter resided in the immediate neighbourhood. 469 Probably the convent was indebted to both those pious women for benefactions, and it was unquestionably in their day that the monastery acquired its greatest fame as the centre of female influence in support of the cause of eikons.

Theoctista was especially active in that cause, and through her connection with the court not only strengthened the opposition to the policy of her son-in-law, but also disturbed the domestic peace of the imperial family. Whenever the daughters of Theophilus visited her she took the opportunity to condemn their father's views, and would press her eikons on the girls' lips for adoration.

On the occasion of the breach between Theodora and her son Michael III., on account of the murder of her friend and counsellor Theoctistos at Michael's order, she and her four daughters, Thekla, Anastasia, Anna, and Pulcheria, were confined in the Gastria, and there, with the exception of Anna, they were eventually buried. At the Gastria were shown also the tombs of Theoctista, her son Petronas, Irene the daughter of Bardas, and a small chest containing the lower jaw of Bardas himself. It is this connection with the family of Theophilus, in life and in death, that lends chief interest to the Gastria.

Shortly after the Fall of Constantinople, Hayrettin Effendi, Sancaktar (standard-bearer) of Sultan Mehmed II, converted the building into a mescit (oratory) and was buried there. The charter for this religious foundation has not survived. The great earthquake of 1894, which had its epicentre under the Sea of Marmara, partially destroyed the mosque, which was restored only between 1973 and 1976.


Due to its small dimension, the building cannot be identified with the church of the nunnery, but rather with a martyrion (burial chapel) or a mausoleum, which can be dated to the Palaiologan period (14th century). The building had the shape of an irregular octagon with a cross-shaped interior and an apse oriented toward East. Light penetrates into the building through windows opened on alternate sides, which illuminate the arms of the cross-shaped interior.

Each window is inside a blind arch which spans the whole side. The masonry uses alternate courses of brick and ashlar, giving to the exterior the polychromy typical of the Palaiologan period. Remnants of walls still present in the northwest and south sides before the restoration showed that the building was not isolated, but connected with other edifices. A minaret has also been added to the restored building.

Although the building is now almost a complete ruin, it still preserves some architectural interest. On the exterior it is an octagonal structure, with a large arch on each side rising to the cornice, and thus presents a strong likeness to the Byzantine building known as Sheik Suleiman Mesjedi, near the Pantokrator. The northern, southern, and western arches are pierced by windows.

The entrance is in the western arch. The interior presents the form of an equal-armed cross, the arms being deep recesses covered with semicircular vaults. The dome over the central area has fallen in. The apse, semicircular within and showing five sides on the exterior, is attached to the eastern arm. Its three central sides are occupied by a triple-shafted window. Two shallow niches represent the usual apsidal chambers.

A similar niche is found also on both sides of the entrance and on the eastern side of the northern arm of the cross. In the wall to the west of the southern arch is a small chamber. The joint between the apse and the body of the building is straight, with no bond in the masonry; nor is the masonry of the two parts of the same character.

In the former it is in alternate courses of brick and stone, while in the latter we find many brick courses and only an occasional stone band. Evidently the apse is a later addition. In view of these facts, the probable conclusion is that the building was originally not a church but a library, and that it was transformed into a church at some subsequent period in its history to meet some special demand.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Şehzadebaşı, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'23.4"N 28°58'28.6"E / 41.006500, 28.974611


This complex was built in 1720 by the order of Damad Ibrahim Pasha (1718-1730) who held the office of Grand Vizier three times of Ottoman Empire. It is located at the corner of Dede Efendi Street and Şehzadepaşa Street. The complex was built by Chief Architect Kayserili Mehmet Ağa for Nevşehirli Damat Ibrahim Pasha in the 1720s.

It is one of the most important works of Damat Ibrahim Pasha Complex. If we consider water-tank with a fountain as the centre of Complex, Madrasa covers a half of the complex. All the other parts of complex are on the other side of water-tank. Damad Ibrahim Pasha Complex was built with the aim of being used as Darul Hadis Madrassa and library. Today madrasa is used as cultural centre by East Turkistan Foundation.

Built between 1726-1727 under Damat İbrahim Pasha's direction, it consists of a mosque, madrasah, sabil, cemetary, library, sibyan mektebi (junior school), imaret (kitchens for madrasah students) and Turkish bath.

Kurşunlu Mosque is known as Damat İbrahim Pasha Mosque. However because its domes are made out of lead, locally it is called Kurşunlu Mosque (Leaded Mosque). It was built by head architect Mehmet Ağa and his foreman Serkis and located in a courtyard surrounded by high and thick walls. The courtyard has three entrances.

The west side door which is also used today has double arches. The inner arch is decorated with verses from the era's famous poet Nedim.The main area of the mosque is reached through a wooden door with two arches. The lower arch is decorated with verses from Seyyid Vehbi. This square shaped main area is covered with a dome.

The exterior of the building has a simple architecture, however the interior has been adorned with stencilled motifs from the Lale Era. The minaret on the north side of the mosque is built in the baroque style and embellished with Acanthus leaves. In the years when the schoolroom of the complex was transformed into a mosque, the minaret with a sherefe (minaret balcony) was added to the present complex. This structure is the only remaining part of the complex that has survived until today.

The Ablutions Fountain stands in the middle of the courtyard, on top of 8 marble pillars and covered with lead. The body of the water tank has 12 corners. The taps are separated by small marble pillars. The gutter of the wooden interior domes is decorated with geometrical shapes and zigzags. The water-tank with a fountain of the mosque is located at the woodland in the complex.

As for the fountain of the mosque, it was located in the middle of the courtyard, amid the trees. The fountain of the complex was damaged during road works. The public fountain of the complex, according to its inscription, was finished in 1719.

Madrasah (School) built at the same time, it stands on the west side of the mosque. Cut stone was used in its construction. After being refurbished in 1961 it was reopened as a Public Library. The arched entry door of the madrasah contains an epigraph from Seyyid Vehbi. A square shaped courtyard holds domed madrasah rooms containing cupboards and stoves. There are also iwan rooms that were used by the students studying in the madrassa.

The rooms with eyvan, a vaulted room with one side open to a courtyard, located in the same direction of the graves, was built for madrasah (Qur'an School) students. In the period of its activity as a madrasah, it is known that the little complex had been decked out with a crowded permanent staff. Flowers motif used in the ornaments of the structure showed parallelism with the understanding of architecture during the “Tulip Era” (1718-1730) and increases its artistic value.

Library located to the north east of madrasah, it dates to 1727. The interior of this domed square structure is decorated with stencils. It is known that Damat İbrahim Pasha presented 187 volumes to the library. The structure with portico and dome, opposite the masjid on the right side of the crowned gate, is a library.

Imaret (Kitchen) built in 1726, it stands south of the madrasah. It consists of two rooms, a kitchen, toilets and a storage room carved in rock. It was used as a prison for some time and in 1949 transformed into a museum. Today it is used as a soup kitchen.

Sibyan Mektebi (Junior School) located to the south of the Imaret in the same courtyard, the first floor of this two-storey building was carved in rock. Today it is used as a storage depot. The second floor is made of cut stone and has three domed rooms each holding a window looking onto the courtyard.

Turkish Bath built in 1727 to the north of the mosque complex, it consists of separate buildings that are made out of cut stone. An octagonal saloon on the top floor holds changing rooms with wood cladding. There is an octagonal pool in the middle of the domed saloon.

Fountains are two fountains in the mosques complex; the first one is on the north wall of the mosque courtyard, and the other one, which holds an epigraph by Seyyid Vehbi (a poet), is on the supporting wall on the corner of Sibyan Mektebi. Both are adorned with various decorations. The public fountain of the complex, located on Şehzadepaşa Street, came to harm during road construction.

The grave of Damat Ibrahim Paşa and his sons are present in the southern section of the complex’s courtyard. The graves of Damat İbrahim Pasha and his sons, Mehmet and Mustafa, are situated in the southern section of the complex’s courtyard.


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