Thursday, August 30, 2018


Kocamustafa Paşa, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'12.0"N 28°55'43.0"E / 41.003333, 28.928611


The building lies in the Istanbul district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Kocamustafapaşa, along Koca Mustafa Paşa Caddesi. It is placed inside the walled city, and not far from the church of Saint John of Stoudion, on the slopes of the seventh hill of Constantinople near the sea of Marmara.

Koca Mustafa Pasha Mosque (Turkish: Koca Mustafa Paşa Camii; also named Sünbül Efendi Camii) is a former Eastern Orthodox church converted into a mosque by the Ottomans, located in Istanbul, Turkey. The church, as the adjoining monastery, was dedicated to Saint Andrew of Crete, and was named Saint Andrew in Krisei or by-the-Judgment (Monr tοu Hagiοu Andreοu en tē Krisei). Although heavily transformed during both the Byzantine and the Ottoman eras, it is one among the few churches in Istanbul still extant, whose foundation goes back to the sixth century.

At the beginning of the 5th century, Princess Arcadia, sister of Emperor Theodosius II (r. 408-450), ordered the construction, near the Gate of Saturninus, of a monastery dedicated to Saint Andrew. The building, named also Rodophylion lay about 600 m. west of the gate. The monastery was later converted into a nunnery, mentioned for the first time in 792. The monastery of Saint Andrew was known under the appellation "by-the-Judgment", after the place where it lay, named "the Judgment".

Saint Andrew of Crete, a martyr of the fight against Byzantine Iconoclasm, killed on 20 November 766 in the Forum Bovis because of his opposition to the iconoclastic policies of Emperor Constantine V (r. 741-775), was buried there. Due to his popularity after the final triumph of Orthodoxy, the dedication of the church changed from Saint Andrew the Apostle to him. During the second half of the ninth century, Emperor Basil I (r. 867-886) wholly rebuilt the church, which possibly had been damaged during the iconoclastic fights.

Around 1284, Princess Theodora Raoulaina, niece of Michael VIII Palaiologos (r. 1259-1282) and wife of protovestiarios John Raoul Petraliphas, rebuilt the monastery and the church, deserving the appellation of second ktetorissa. She spent the last fifteen years of her life in the monastery, and was buried there. Neglected during the Latin occupation of Constantinople, two Russian pilgrims visiting Constantinople in 1350 and between 1425 and 1450 mention the church, affirming that Saint Andrew was worshiped by many who were afflicted by sickness.

Andreas Men Monastery, which existed in the 6th century, and a cemetery dated to the 5th century, existed in this place, when the structure was constructed, but information on the early period is unavailable. The monastery was given for the using by nuns afterwards. The church named Andreas after the relics of Saint Hosios Andreas the Cretan, who contributed too much effort for the acceptance of Christianity by the Byzantine people and who was executed on the 20th of November 766, were brought.

Emperor Basileos I renovated the church along with the ecclesiastical buildings around it between in years 867 and 886. The monastery was quite damaged during the Crusader occupation, it was rebuilt by Princess Theodora in 1284. The princess was buried in the monastery where she was cloistered.

Towards the end of its Byzantine period another Russian pilgrim came to honour the remains of S. Andrew the Strategos, and bring the Christian history of the church to a close. It was converted into a mosque by Mustapha Pasha, Grand Vizier in the reign of Sultan Selim I. (1512-1520). The custom of illuminating the minarets of the mosques on the eve of the Prophet's birthday was introduced first at this mosque.

After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople the monastery, known by the Turks as Kızlar Kilisesi (women's church), continued to be inhabited for a while. Between 1486 and 1491 Kapıcıbaşı (and later Grand Vizier) Koca Mustafa Pasha, executed in 1512, converted the church into a mosque. Some years later, the building of the monastery was endowed by his son-in-law, Şeih Çelebi Efendi as Tekke for the Dervishes of the Halveti order.

The dervishes were led at that time by the Sufi Master Sünbül Efendi. His türbe, a popular destination for Muslim pilgrims, lies next to the mosque, which is also named after him. At the beginning of the sixteenth century there were quarrels between Sultan Selim I and Şeih Çelebi, since the sultan wanted to pull down part of the monastery to build the Topkapı Palace.

Also in this period was born the tradition related to a chain hung to a cypress tree. The cypress is since long dead but still stands - together with the chain - inside a small round building in the yard of the mosque. The chain was swung between two people who were affirming contradictory statements, and the chain was said to hit the one who was telling the truth.

The dead Cypress where the chain once used as "lie detector" (now hidden in the wooden shelter) still hangs. The mosque lies on the right, while in foreground stands a column-shaped fountain. Behind the tree is visible the dome of the türbe of Sünbül Efendi.

This is one among many surviving folk tales concerning the mosque (like those about the çifte Sultanlar, the "twin Sultans"), all with Byzantine roots. They testify the merge between Ottoman and Greek popular culture and beliefs.

At the beginning of 17th century, Defterdar (treasury minister) Ekmekçizade Ahmet Paşa (d. 1618) let build a Medrese, the gates of the complex, a zaviye, and a mekteb (school). About one century later Hekimbaşı (Sultan's chief physician) Giridli Nuh Efendi (d. 1707) closed the Tekke and enlarged the Medrese, while in 1737 Kızlar Ağası Hacı Beşir Ağa erected in the yard a column-shaped fountain.

Chief Doctor Nuh Efendi built a madrasah, square planned with 14 rooms and one classroom, in place of a previous tekke. Kızlarağası Beşir Ağa built a monolithic marble fountain in the courtyard in 1737. In the 19th century, dynasty members renovated various buildings of the complex.

The earthquake of 1766 destroyed the dome of the building: it was rebuilt in 1768. During the 19th century, Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808-1839) rebuilt the porch. In 1847-1848, Sultan Abdülmecid I (r. 1839-1861) let the wall which encircles the complex be rebuilt. Some years later two fountains were erected in the yard of the mosque. Finally, in 1953, the building was restored again. The tradition to light up the minaret of the mosques on the eve of the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (Mawlid al-Nabi) was born in the Koca Mustafa Mosque.

Sünbül Efendi (died 1529 AD in Istanbul) was the founder of the Sünbüliyye Sufi order (also spelt Sünbüli). The Sünbüliyye were a derivative of the Khalwati (also spelt Halveti and Halvetiye ) order. Sünbül is the Turkish word for hyacinth (plant), a flower. Sünbül Efendi's successors, the next generations were settled around 1550 in Nurullah town by Konur, Içel Province.

The building was originally of the ambulatory type, and is oriented in east-northeast - west-southwest direction. It has a central dome and a three apses, placed of the east side. An esonarthex and exonarthex are placed in the west side. On the other three sides the dome was originally surrounded by arcades surmounted by barrel vaults. During the Ottoman period the building underwent important alterations. The entrance is on the north side, where the Ottomans built an arcade covered by five domes.

After the earthquake of 1766, the central dome was rebuilt. It is circular inside, octagonal outside, and rests on a high drum pierced by eight windows. On the north and south sides of the main dome, two half domes were added during the Ottoman period. They are also both pierced by three large windows, which outside look like dormers.

All the domes rest on arches. The eastern arch sustaining the main dome is prolonged into a barrel vault bema, flanked by niches which originally led to the Prothesis and Diaconicon. Only the diaconicon, covered with a cross-groined vault, survives. The west arch sustaining the dome is filled in with a triple arcade resting on two marble columns topped by cubic capitals. The inner narthex is divided into three bays. The north one is covered with an Ottoman dome. The central one is surmounted by a barrel vault, while the south one is surmounted by a cross groined vault.

The last two are Byzantine. The outer narthex is divided into five bays, the three central corresponding with those of the inner narthex. The central bay is covered by a central saucer dome resting on pendentives. It is separated by the two intermediate bays by columns set against pilasters. These two bays are covered with groined vaults put on ionic capitals, which resemble those used in the Church of Saints Sergius and Baccus. The two external bays are surmounted by central saucer domes and are separated from the others by projecting pilasters.

The exterior is clearly Ottoman. It is made with finely dressed and polished stone, with no tiles, and has a stone moulded cornice. Above the drum of the halfdomes there is a stone molded cornice. The square base of the drum and the dome itself are faced with polished stone alternating with courses of three bricks set in a thick bed of mortar. Also the dome is crowned with a stone molded cornice. The roof is covered with lead.

The Byzantine monastery has disappeared completely, except for an underground cistern which lies southeast of the mosque. A beautiful Byzantine carved door frame, possibly of the sixth century, belonging to the Medrese, has been brought to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Despite its architectural significance, the building has never undergone a systematic study.

On account of the serious changes made in the building and its surroundings when it became a mosque, and after the earthquake of 1765, its real character is not immediately apparent. The present entrance is in the northern side, where a fine Turkish arcade has been erected. The mihrab is on the south side, a greater change for the correct orientation of a mosque than is usually necessary in the adaptation of a church to the requirements of a sanctuary in which the worshippers turn towards Mecca.

To the east a hall has been added for the accommodation of women who attend the services; while on the west is another hall, where the dervishes of the Tekke attached to the mosque hold their meetings. The north aisle also has been much altered and is covered with Turkish domes.

The first impression produced by the interior of the building is that we have here a church on the trefoil plan, similar to S. Mary of the Mongols  or S. Elias of Salonica, for the central area is flanked by two semi-domes, which with the eastern apse form a lobed plan at the vaulting level. A closer examination of the building, however, will prove that we are dealing with a structure whose original features have been concealed by extensive Turkish alterations, and that the trefoil form is a superficial disguise.

The arches supporting the central dome on the north and south sides are filled in with semi-domes which rest on arches thrown diagonally across the 'aisles' on each side of the central dome. These arches are very clumsily set to the sides of an irregular hexagon, with the central wall arch much larger than the side arches. They have no responds, and have every appearance of being makeshifts.

The eastern dome arch is prolonged into a barrel-vaulted bema, flanked by shallow niches leading to the prothesis and diaconicon, and beyond the bema is the semicircular apse. Only the diaconicon now remains, covered by a cross-groined vault, and its apse pierced by a door leading to the hall of the Teké. The place of the prothesis has been taken by a similar door and a small Turkish dome.

The western dome arch is filled in with a triple arcade resting on two marble columns with finely carved cubical capitals. Above the arcade is a group of three windows whose heads are circular on the inside, but pointed on the outside. To the west of this arcade is an oblong passage corresponding to the 'inner narthex' of S. Theodosia. It is in three bays.

The central long bay is barrel-vaulted; the two outer bays open into the north and south aisles; the bay to the north is covered by a Turkish dome, while that to the south has a cross-groined vault which seems to be original. Beyond this to the west is the outer narthex, a fine piece of work, and, from the character of its details, of the same period as the western dome arcade. It is in five bays.

The three central bays correspond to the 'inner narthex'; the middle bay is covered by a low saucer dome on pendentives, and is separated from the two side bays by columns set against flat pilasters. The latter bays are covered by groined vaults springing from the imposts of the capitals, which are of the Byzantine Ionic type, with high carved imposts. They resemble the capitals in the gallery of SS. Sergius and Bacchus, and are worthy of particular notice.

The two outer bays are separated from the central compartment of three bays by strongly projecting pilasters. They are covered by low saucer domes similar to the dome over the central bay, and communicate on the east with the 'aisles.' Both outer and inner narthexes are in one story, above which rise the windows of the western dome arch and the semi-domes on north and south.

Turning now to the exterior, the south wall is the only outer wall which is exposed at the ground level. It is faced with finely dressed and polished stone, with thin joints, no tiles, and a stone-moulded cornice. The windows are covered with four centred Turkish arches and are evident insertions. Above the stone cornice rise the low drums of the semi-domes. These, as well as the square base of the dome and the dome itself, are faced with polished stone alternating with courses of three bricks set in thick beds of mortar.

The angles are plain, without shafts, and the drums, dome base, and dome are crowned with stone cornices moulded to a reversed ogee. The north and south semi-domes are each pierced by three large windows, which on the interior cut through the curved surface of the domes, and on the exterior appear as dormers in the roof above the cornice.

Accordingly they are double glazed, with one glazed frame on the inside corresponding to the curved dome surface, and a second upright glazed frame on the outside. The roofs are covered with lead. The central dome is circular inside, with a high drum pierced by eight windows. On the outside it is octagonal, with a window on each side. These have circular arched heads, but have no moulding, shaft, or inset to either arches or sides. The dome is crowned by a moulded stone cornice of the same type as that of the other walls.

In attempting to reconstruct the original form of the church we may first note those features which are evidently Turkish. None of the exterior masonry is Byzantine, as the use of polished ashlar with fine joints, of pointed arches, and of moulded stone cornices clearly proves. The absence of shafts at the angles of the dome drums and the unrecessed windows are additional proofs of this fact, and we may conclude that the entire exterior was refaced in Turkish times.

The diagonal arches under the north and south semi-domes are peculiar. Furthermore, in lobed Byzantine churches the lateral apses project beyond the square outer walls. Here they are contained within the walls. Nor are the semi-domes themselves Byzantine in character. The large windows in the dome surface and the lead-covered dormers placed above the flat moulded cornice betray a Turkish hand; for windows in the dome are universal in the great Turkish mosques, and the method of protecting them on the exterior with wooden dormers is quite foreign to Byzantine ideas.

The form of the drums and cornices should be compared with the minor domes of the mosque of Sultan Bayazid. A careful examination of the building has led to the following conclusions. The lateral semi-domes with their supporting arches are a Turkish addition. The central dome, including the drum, is probably entirely Turkish, and takes the place of an original ribbed dome. The two easternmost domes in the north 'aisle' and those over the inner narthex and the prothesis are also Turkish, and, as already stated, the exterior of the entire building.

On the other hand, the eastern apse, the dome arches, the arcade, and the windows above it on the west side of the dome, the inner narthex with the ground vault to the south of it, and the entire outer narthex, are parts of the original building, dating probably from the sixth or seventh century. It should be particularly noticed that the windows over the western dome arcade are circular-headed inside, though they have been provided with pointed heads on the outside in the process of refacing.

If we stand in the northern lateral apse and face the mihrab the reason for the alterations is evident. The original Christian orientation is ignored, and the apses, in place of being lateral, are terminal. To the left is the old apse left unaltered; to the right, the original filling of the dome arch forms a 'nave-arcade' similar to that of the mosque of Sultan Bayazid; while by means of the additional apses the building has been converted into a miniature imperial mosque of the S. Sophia type, a distinctly clever piece of Turkish alteration.

In its original form the central dome was surrounded by an 'ambulatory' of one story formed by the aisles and 'inner narthex.' Such a plan is common to both the domed basilica type and the domed cross type, the difference depending upon the treatment of the cross arms above. In both types, however, the side dome arches are invariably filled in with arcades similar to that filling in the western arch of S. Andrew. We are therefore justified in restoring such arcades here.

The type thus restored differs from the domed cross church in that the cross arms do not extend to the outer walls, and from the domed basilica in that the western dome arch is treated in a similar manner to the lateral arches. To this type the term 'ambulatory church' may be applied. Adjoining the west end of the church is the fine cloister of the Tekke of dervishes, probably on the lines of the old monastery. All the columns around the court are Byzantine, and one of them bears the inscription: the (column) of, Theophane.

In the south wall is built a beautiful Byzantine doorway having jambs and lintel decorated on the face with a broad undercut scroll of flat leaves and four-petalled flowers, running between two rows of egg and dart, while on the intrados are two bands of floral ornaments separated by a bead moulding. One of the bands is clearly a vine scroll. The method employed here, of joining leaves to a centre so as to form spiral rosettes, is found also on some of the small capitals in S. Sophia. Similar rosettes appear in the decoration of the doorway to the Holy Sepulchre on the ivory in the Trivulce collection at Milan.

Sünbül Efendi Tomb
The tombs of Sheikh Yusuf Sünbül Sinanüddin Efendi, who died in 1559, and his wife Safiye Sultan still draw many visitors. Sultan Mahmut II figured out that two daughters of Hz. Hüseyin were murdered at the bottom of a 500 years old tree, near the tomb, and he built an open tomb there. The tomb’s calligraphy was inscribed by Yesarizade Mustafa İzzet. Near the türbe of Mustafa Pasha. Several Halveti Sheiks were buried in the cemetery behind the Mosque.

The tomb of Sümbül Sinan Efendi is next to the Koca Mustafa Pasha Mosque in Istanbul. The site of his tomb was once his Tekke and is now a mosque. The Tekke itself was once a convent that was abandoned after the conquest of Constantinople and handed over to the Khalwatis by the Sultan to use as a Tekke. Almost all of the sheikhs who sat at the post of grand sheikh of this order are buried at the Tekke, including another noted Sheikh of this order, Merkez Efendi (d.1552) in Yenikapı. The tomb is frequently visited by Muslims, some of whom consider him to be a saint.

The fact that the türbe of Sümbül Efendi (Sünbül is the Turkish word for hyacinth (plant), a flower.) - an esteemed Ottoman scholar honoring Kocamustafapaşa’s Ali Fakih district with his presence for almost 500 years - has always been a center of attraction notwithstanding, it has begun to host an even greater number of visitors in recent years. During his lifetime, Sünbül Efendi was responsible for a well that is known as the well of health.

Just beyond the cemetery is Sümbül Efendi’s türbe. It is very clean and well-looked after. Further along lies Şeyh Yakup Efendi, and to the north is Şeyh Hasan Adli Efendi’s grave. One must not forget to read the Fatiha while here. At the foot of Sümbül Efendi’s türbe lie the grandchildren of Caliph Ali, descended from his son Hüseyin. According to one narration, these twin sultans, as they are called, came to İstanbul with the Prophet’s companions for the conquest of İstanbul and passed away here.

According to another story, they were captured as prisoners of war by the Byzantines and thus came to İstanbul. The graves of these two sultans, Fatma and Sakine, were lost over time. Sümbül Efendi discovered that they were buried here. Their current türbe was subsequently constructed by Sultan Mahmud II. At the head of their türbe is a centuries-old cypress protected by a wooden structure. It is believed that this cypress was planted after their burial by Jabir, a companion of the Prophet.

The dergah has become a place frequented by Alevis due to the presence of these twin sultans. In the middle of the courtyard is the Sümbül Efendi Mosque. The mosque was in fact originally a Byzantine church. The church was converted into a mosque by Koca Mustafa Paşa upon the request of Sultan Bayezid II. The mosque has a constantly changing congregation. The last few years in particular, and with the influence of the mosque’s imam, the congregation has been teeming, even during morning prayers. The mosque itself, however, is in need of a restoration.


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