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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.

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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.

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).


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.

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.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Bülbülderesi, Eyüp - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°03'10.0"N 28°55'46.5"E / 41.052778, 28.929583

Another building, around which a neigh bourhood was formed during Turkish times, is Evlice Baba (Uluca Baba) Mescidi. In front of the masjid there is a public square fountain built by grand vizier Çorlulu Ali Paşa in 1119 (1707) and the Evlice (Ülice) Baba Dervish Lodge. To the southwest, stand the mausolea of Nuri Baba and Hafız Hüseyin Nazmî Geylanî, built in 1216 of the Muslim era.

On the tombstone of Veliyüddin Efendi, founder of the mosque, there is the following inscription : "Ebû’l-feth ve’l-megâzi Sultan Mehemmed Gâzi Hazratları’nın Meşk hacesi sâhib’ül-hayrât Ve’l-hasenât Veli Baba’nın Rûhı şerifine el-fâtiha Sene 857"

Veli Baba, participant in the conquest, teacher of calligraphy of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, philanthropist and doer of good works, a prayer forhis soul. Year 857 (1453). Here, we notice that the date 1453 was also inscribed when the tombstone was renewed.

It is further stated that the founder of the mosque lived in the days of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, was his teacher of calligraphy and that he had had built the mosque. The date 1173 (1759) at the end of the inscription on the wall of the enclosed space within which Veliyüddin Efendi is buried, refers to the renewal of the tomb. The building stands on the Bülbülderesi slope and has been built according to the topographic characteristics of the location.

The entrance on the western side leads directly to the main section of the mosque. The building’s dimensions are 12.45 x 9.40 m and it is clear that recent restoration work has increased its size, changing the proportions between the spaces.

The building’s interior is lighted by means of two windows each on three walls. The northern wall is the only one without windows. The interior of the mosque and the mihrab are decorated up to a height of one metre, with late period Kütahya ceramic tiles. Both the mihrab and the minber are new. On the northern side there is a concrete women’s gallery.

The roof is flat concrete in the inside and sloping towards all foursides and tile covered on the outside. The minaret is on the western side to the south of the entrance, has a polygonal base, is adjacent to the building’s wall and part of the base projects into the inside.This masjid was repaired in the 1950’s, in1967 and in 1993 and is till in use nowadays.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Çengelköy, Üsküdar - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°03'25.2"N 29°03'11.1"E / 41.057011, 29.053081


Located in Çengelköy, this mosque was constructed by Kaymak Mustafa Paşa, son-in-law to Nevşehirli Ibrahim Paşa, who served as the fleet admiral for the Ottoman Navy, during the Tulip Era in 1720. Kuleli Kaymak Mustafa Paşa mosque, on the Bosphorus Asia shore, Istanbul, Turkey built in 1720 and extended in the 1800s.early.

On the ground floor of this timber mosque is a boathouse. Another interesting feature is the stubby minaret with a balcony in the form of a pavilion. This rectangular stone mosque with a wooden roof was extensively restored in recent years. The portico and royal gallery were added in 1837. In 1980, the mosque was restored by the Sabancı Foundation.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 1, 2018


Davutpaşa, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'23.3"N 28°56'05.9"E / 41.006472, 28.934972


Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa was the son (oğlu) of a court physician (hekim) and himself was Grand Vezir for 15 years under Sultan Mahmut I. The mosque dates from 1734-35, the architect was Ömer Ağa. It has characteristics of the classical style and of the new baroque style.

This classically planned three gated mosque was consructed of kufeki stones and adorned with tiles from Tekfur Palace. Inside lighted by hundred windows, the main dome of the mosque is borne by six elephant feet. In the tile panel around the mihrab, Ayet-el Kursi (a verse) is written. The mosque was partly rebuilt, and the minaret completely in 1960.

Along with the mosque, a tomb, lodge, fountain, library, public fountain were built as a part of the social complex. Made from sandstone, the mosque has 3 three courtyard doors and 3 three main doors. The entrance door is stone-vaulted and there are stairs rising up to the main doors.The courtyard is covered with stones and there are pine and plane trees in the garden of the mosque.

The fountain has a wooden roof supported by six marble columns. Next to the fountain, there is a lodge where the tombs of Hekimoglu Ali Pasha and his family were situated. Moreover, the beautiful tiles which were used for interior decoration consists of a large part of the tiles used in the old Byzantine architecture, the Tekfur Palace. The other tiles were brought from Kutahya which is famous for its kiln products and well-known as a tile center of Turkey. The minbar in the narthex gained recognition as a unique piece of art.

At the corner of the precinct wall beside the north entrance is a very beautiful sebil of marble with five bronze grilles; above runs an elaborate frieze with a long inscription and fine carvings of vines, flowers and rosettes in the new rococo style that had recently been introduced from France. The façade of the türbe along the street is faced in marble, corbelled out towards the top and with a çeşme at the far end. It is a large rectangular building with two domes dividing it into two equal square areas.

Farther along the precinct wall stands the monumental gateway with a domed chamber above; this was the library of the foundation. Though the manuscripts have been transferred elsewhere, it still contains the painted wooden cages with grilles in which they were stored; an elegant floral frieze runs round the top of the walls and floral medallions adorn the dome.

From the columned porch at the top of the steps leading to the library, one commands a good view of the whole complex, with its singularly attractive garden full of tall cypresses and aged plane trees, and opposite the stately porch and very slender minaret of the mosque.

The mosque itself, raised on a substructure containing a cistern, is purely classical in form. Indeed its plan is almost an exact replica of that at Cerrah Paşa, which we saw earlier on this tour. In contrast to that, the present building is perhaps a little weak and effeminate; there is a certain blurring of forms and enervating of structural distinctions, an effect not mitigated by the pale colour of the tilerevetment.

The tiles are still Turkish, not manufactured at Iznik as formerly, but at the recently established kilns at Tekfur Saray. All the same, the general impression of the interior is charming if not exactly powerful. There is a further hint of the new baroque style in one of its less pleasing traits in some of the capitals of the columns both in the porch and beneath the sultan’s loge.

The traditional stalactite and lozenge capitals have been abandoned there in favour of a very weak and characterless form, such as an impost capital which seems quite out of scale and out of place. The whole complex within the precinct wall has been very completely and very well restored. Outside the precinct, across the street to the north-east, stands the tekke of the foundation, but little is left of it save a very ruinous zaviye, or rooms for the dervish ceremonies.

According to the Turkish inscription upon its gate, the madrasah was built by the Architect Ömer Ağa between in years 1734 and 1735. The books of the library, consructed on the top of main gate, were carried to the Süleymaniye Library.

Next to the fountain, there is a lodge where the tombs of Hekimoglu Ali Pasha and his family were situated. The Pasha, who became grand vizier thrice, was killed by being poisoned in Kütahya in 1758. The square planned tomb of Ali Pasha was built by Architect Mustafa Ağa and Simon Kalfa.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Ayvansaray, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'19.0"N 28°56'39.0"E / 41.038611, 28.944167


The building lies in the district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Ayvansaray, in Çember Sokak. It lies a few hundred meters inside the walled city, at a short distance from the shore of the Golden Horn, at the foot of the sixth hill of Istanbul.

The Mosque viewed from southwest.Atik Mustafa Pasha Mosque (also named Hazreti Cabir Camii) is a former Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul, converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. The dedication of the church is obscure. For a long time it has been identified with the church of Saints Peter and Mark, but without any proof. Now it seems more probable that the church is to be identified with Saint Thekla of the Palace of Blachernae, Hagia Thekla tou Palatiou tōn Vlakhernōn). The building belongs stylistically to the eleventh-twelfth century.

Towards the middle of the ninth century, Princess Thekla, eldest daughter of Emperor Theophilus enlarged a small oratory lying 150 m east of the Church of Theotokos of the Blachernae dedicated to her homonymous Saint. In 1059 on this site, Emperor Isaac I Komnenos built a larger church, as thanks for surviving a hunting accident. The church was famous for its beauty, and Anna Comnena writes that her mother, Anna Dalassena, used to go often and pray there.

Actually, there is no clear information about the church, in Çember Street in Ayvansaray. Some researchers suppose that the first church was built by Byzantine Emperor Leon Flavius I in 458 and dedicated to the apostles. However, some sources say, that the church was dedicated to Emperor Theophilus’s daughter Thekla, who was later proclaimed a saint, between 829 and 842. It is known from the book of Anna Komnene that the quincuncial plan shaped (cross-in-square) church was restored in 1059, the daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (1081 - 1118).

After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the building was heavily damaged during the earthquake of 1509, which destroyed the dome. Shortly after that, Kapicibaşi (and later Grand Vizier) Koca Mustafa Pasha, executed in 1512, repaired the damages and converted the church into a mosque. Up to the end of nineteenth century, a Hamam, placed 150 m south of the building, also belonged to the mosque's foundation.

In 1692, Şatır Hasan Ağa built a fountain in front of the mosque. In 1729, during the great Fire of Balat, the building was heavily damaged and repaired some years later. It was damaged again during the earthquake of 1894, which destroyed the minaret, and reopened for worship in 1906. A last restoration occurred in 1922. In that occasion, a marble christening font was brought to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Inside the south apse of the building there is the tomb attributed to Hazreti Cabir Ibn Abdallah-ül-Ensamı, one of the companions of Eyüp, fallen nearby in 678 during the first Arab siege of Constantinople.

The church was converted into a mosque by the Grand Vizier Koca Mustafa Pasha in 1490. The original roof, fell down in 1894 earthquake, was replaced with its current dome. The building was restored beween 1906 and 1922, after the fire of 1729 and the earthquake of 1894. Atik Mustafa Pasha Mosque is also named as the Cabir Mosque because of the belief that here is the grave of Cabir, who was from the sahaba (the companions of Prophet Muhammad).

In 1729, during the great Fire of Balat, the building was heavily damaged and repaired some years later. It was damaged again during the earthquake of 1894, which destroyed the minaret, and reopened for worship in 1906. A last restoration occurred in 1922. In that occasion, a marble christening font was brought to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Hazreti Cabir Tomb
Inside the south apse of the building there is the tomb attributed to Hazreti Cabir Ibn Abdallah-ül-Ensamı, one of the companions of Eyüp, fallen nearby in 678 during the first Arab siege of Constantinople.

The building is 15 m wide and 17.5 m long, and has a domed Greek cross plan. It is oriented in a northeast - southwest direction. It has 3 polygonal apses, and the narthex has been destroyed. The edifice has no galleries, and the dome, which has no drum, is almost certainly Ottoman, although the arches and the piers which sustain it are Byzantine.

The arms of the cross, the pastophoria, the Prothesis and Diaconicon are covered with barrel vaults, and communicate through arches. The north and south walls have a floor level with three arcades, a first level with three windows, and a second level with a window with three lights. On the southeast side, the three apses project boldly outside with three sides. The roof, the cornice and the wooden narthex, which replaced the old Byzantine narthex, are Ottoman.

A cruciform font which belonged to the baptistery of the church and lied on the other side of the street has been moved to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The dome piers, which form the internal side of the cross, are L-shaped. They are an example of the stage preceding that of the cross church with four columns. Remains of frescoes placed on the south side of the building have not yet been published. Despite its architectural significance, the building has never undergone a systematic study.

The north and south walls have a floor level with three arcades, a first level with three windows, and a second level with a window with three lights. On the southeast side, the three apses project boldly outside with three sides. The roof, the cornice and the wooden narthex, which replaced the old Byzantine narthex, are Ottoman. A cruciform font which belonged to the baptistery of the church and lay on the other side of the street has been moved to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The dome piers, which form the internal side of the cross, are L-shaped.

They are an example of the stage preceding that of the cross-in-square church with four columns. Remains of frescoes placed on the south side of the building have been published. Moreover, during the floor renewal in the 1990's, several tesserae have been found, showing the previous existence of mosaics panels and frescoes in the building. Despite its architectural significance, the building has never undergone a systematic study.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.


Vefa, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'59.0"N 28°57'37.0"E / 41.016389, 28.960278


The building lies in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Vefa, less than one kilometer to the northwest of the other great Byzantine building in Vefa (the mosque of Kalenderhane), and a few hundred meters south of the Süleymaniye Mosque. Vefa Church Mosque (Turkish: Vefa Church Mosque, meaning "the church mosque of Loyalty", to distinguish it from the other churches mosques of Istanbul.

Vefa Kilise Mosque (Turkish: Vefa Kilise Camii, meaning "the church mosque of Vefa", to distinguish it from the other kilise camiler of Istanbul: also known as Molla Gürani Camii after the name of his founder) is a former Eastern Orthodox church converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. The church was possibly dedicated to Hagios Theodoros (St. Theodore, but this dedication is far from certain. The complex represents one of the most important examples of Comnenian and Palaiologan architecture of Constantinople.

The dedication to Hagios Theodoros is also far from certain. In the first half of the 14th century a parekklesion was built along the church. During the Latin domination of Constantinople after the Fourth Crusade the edifice was used as a Roman Catholic church. Shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the church became a mosque, founded by the famous scholar Molla Gürani, who was the tutor of Sultan Mehmed II and would become Şeyhülislam and the first Mufti of Istanbul.

In year 908 the Byzantine Admiral Konstantinos Lips, who would perish in 917 fighting against Simeon I's Bulgaria, inaugurated at the presence of the Emperor Leo VI the Wise a nunnery dedicated to the Virgin Theotokos "Immaculate Mother of God" in a place called "Merdosangaris", in the valley of the Lykos. The monastery, which had also a Xenon "hospital" with 15 beds attached, was known also after his name (Mone tou Livos), and became one of the largest of Constantinople.

The church of the monastery, also dedicated to the Virgin, was built on the remains of another shrine of the sixth century, and using the tombstones of an ancient roman cemetery. The church hosted the relics of Saint Irene, and the monastery, according to its Typicon, hosted a total of 50 women.  The church was generally known as "North Church".

After the Latin invasion and the restoration of the Empire, between 1286 and 1304, Empress Theodora, widow of Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, erected another church dedicated to St. John the Baptist south of the first church. Several exponents of the imperial dynasty of the Palaiologos were buried there besides Theodora: her son Konstantinos, Empress Eirene of Montferrat and her husband Emperor Andronikos II. This church is generally known as the "South Church".

During the fourteenth century an esonarthex and a parekklesion were added to this church. The habit of burying members of the imperial family in the complex continued also in the fifteenth century with Anna, first wife of Emperor John VIII Palaiologos, dead in 1417. The church was possibly used as resting place also after 1453.

The conversion took place during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II, it was Molla Gürani, sheikulislam, who transformed the church into a waqf founded in 1484 by mosque. A Gürani and signed by Mullah Ali bin Yusuf-ul Fenari, provided for the upkeep of this structure with income from a group of buildings in the mahalle of Sheik Vefa.

On the site, encircled by the Vefa Street, Vefa Tomb and the Darülhadis Streets, the earliest buildings of Sheikh Vefa Complex dated from 1476. The complex consisted of social buildings such as kitchen, library, etc, which were built between 1481 and 1490. The mosque of the complex was demolished between 1908 and 1910 in order to reconstruct it. However, the restoration dragged on until 1990s due to the effects of World War I.

The brick wall mosque measures 27 x 15 m, and it is covered by a dome measuring 11 meters in diameter. The çilehane, which is reached through mihrab, is a small cabin measuring 2.5 x 2.7 m. The tomb of Sheikh Vefa measuring 8.3 x 8.3 m is lit by eight windows. Today, theological school (tekke) and madrasah are virtually in ruined.

In 1497 / 98, shortly after the Fall of Constantinople and under the reign of Sultan Beyazid II, the south church was converted into a mescit (a small mosque) by the Ottoman dignitary Fenarizade Alaeddin Ali bin Yusuf Effendi, Kadıasker of Rumeli, and nephew of Molla Şemseddin Fenari, whose family belonged to the religious class of the ulema. He built a minaret in the southeast angle, and a Mihrab in the apse. Since one of the head preachers of the Madrasah was named İsa "Jesus" in Arabic and Turkish, his name was added to that of the mosque.

The edifice burned down in 1633, was restored in 1636 by Grand Vizier Bayram Pasha, who upgraded the building to cami (mosque) and converted the north church into a Tekke (a dervish lodge). In this occasion the columns of the north church were substitued with piers, the two domes were renovated, and the mosaic decoration was removed.

After another fire in 1782, the complex was restored again in 1847 - 1848. In this occasion also the columns of the south church were substituted with piers, and the balustrade parapets of the narthex were removed too. The building burned once more in 1918,  and was abandoned. During excavations performed in 1929, 22 sarcophagi have been found. The complex has been thoroughly restored between the 1970s and 1980s, and since then serves again as a mosque.

This is a brand new mosque erected on the site of the original Vefa Camii, built in the late fifteenth century. All that is left of the original mosque complex is the türbe of its founder, Şeyh Muslihiddin Vefa, dated A.H. 896 (A.D. 1491). In years past Şeyh Vefa was one of the most popular folk-saints in Istanbul, and even today a few old women occasionally come to pray at his türbe. Although Şeyh Vefa was one of the most renowned scholars of his time, he decided quite early in life that he would devote himself entirely to the welfare of the poor.

He therefore expended his fortune to build a pious foundation which included a mosque, hamam, primary school, imaret and kervansaray, where the poor could be assured of food and shelter for as long as they were in need. All of these benefactions have now disappeared, although the pious poor of modern İstanbul still come to pay their reverence at Şeyh Vefa’s tomb.

The mosque is also named after him. In the 19th century the mosque was badly damaged, possibly by the fire which in 1833 ravaged the surrounding quarter. In 1848 the complex was restored: in that occasion the mosaics which adorned the building were largely destroyed. It is also possible that at the same time the parekklesion was pulled down, and the four columns at the center of the church were substituted with pillars. In 1937, the building underwent a partial restoration, and its surviving mosaics were uncovered and cleaned.

The origin of the building, which lies on the southern slope of the third hill of Constantinople, is not certain. The dedication to S. Theodore is based upon the identification of the surroundings with the byzantine neighborhood of ta Karbounaria (the coal market), but this is not sure. On the site, rests of buildings of the 5th century have been found. Judging by its masonry, it was erected in the 10th or the 11th centuries.

The church proper, which has never been studied systematically, has a cross-in-square (or quincunx) plan, with each side nine meters long. Together with the Eski Imaret Mosque, provides an example of the Komnenian style in Constantinople. Its masonry consists of bricks, mounted adopting the technique of the recessed brick, typical of the Byzantine architecture of the middle period. In this technique, alternate courses of brick are mounted behind the line of the wall, and are plunged into a mortar bed.

Due to that, the thickness of the mortar layers is about three times greater than that of the brick layers. The building has blind arcades, and the apse is interrupted by a triple lancet window with niches over it. The light penetrates into the cross arms through triple arcades. The exterior of the main church has occasional decorative motifs, such as snake patterns. Besides this building, the complex contains also an exonarthex to the west, a portico (which joins a parekklesion with the bema) with columns and arches to the south, and finally a corridor to the north.

The exonarthex represents one of the most typical examples of Palaiologan architecture in Constantinople, along with the parekklesia of the Pammakaristos, the Chora Churches, and Fethiye Mosque. The date of its edification should be placed after those of the parekklesia of the Pammakaristos and Chora Churches. Its façade has two orders, both opened with arcades. On the lower order there are angular niches followed by triple arcades.

The higher order is quite different from the lower, and has five semicircular blind arcades framing windows. The masonry is made of banded and colorful brickwork and stonework, especially visible on the north side. Overall, the execution is less refined than in the parekklesion of the Fethiye Mosque. The exonarthex is surmounted by three domes.

The lateral ones are of umbrella type, while the central one has ribs. The internal decoration of the exonarthex includes: columns, capitals and closure slabs which are all reused material from the Early Byzantine period. The three domes were all covered with mosaics. Those on the south and the central domes were cleaned in 1937 under the direction of M. I. Nomides and the Ministry of Mosques, but as of 2007 they have disappeared almost completely.

They represent respectively the Virgin Theotokos surrounded by prophets and two imperial officers with prophets. The interior of the church proper, on the contrary, has never been de-plastered up to now. Two fairly large underground cisterns placed to the S and W of the church hint to the existence of a monastery in the Byzantine age.

The church is a good example of the four column type, with an outer and an inner narthex. The former is in five bays, and extends to the north and south, by one bay, beyond the inner narthex and the body of the church. The terminal bays, it would seem, led to cloisters built against the exterior of the northern and southern sides of the building. Le Noir and Salzenberg show a cloister along the south side of the church, with four columns and an apse at its end.

The central bay and the two terminal bays are covered with domes on high drums, without windows. The dome of the central bay has sixteen lobed bays, while its companions have each eight flat ribs. All traces of the mosaics which Salzenberg saw in the central dome have disappeared. On the exterior the three domes are octagonal, decorated with flat niches and angle shafts supporting an arched cornice.

The exonarthex deserves special attentions on account of its façade. It is a fine composition of two triple arcades, separated by a solid piece of masonry containing the door. On either side of the door, and on the piers at each end of the façade, are slender flat niches, similar to those which occur in S. Mark's, Venice.

The finely carved capitals of the columns differ in type, the two northern being a variant of the 'melon type,' the pair to the south being Corinthian. They are probably old  capitals re-used. Throughout the building are traces of stones from some older building recut or adapted to the present church. Between the columns is a breastwork of carved marble slabs similar in style to those seen in S. Mark's and in S. Fosca, Torcello.

The upper part of the façade does not correspond to the composition below it, but follows the divisions of the internal vaulting. It is in five circular-arched bays, each containing an arched window. The infilling is of brick in various patterns. The cornice looks Turkish. While the masonry of the lower portion of the arcade is in alternate courses of one stone and two bricks, that of the upper portion has alternate courses of one stone and three bricks.

Moreover, while the design of the upper portion is determined by the vaulting of the narthex, the lower portion takes a more independent line. These differences may indicate different periods of construction, but we find a similar type of design in other Byzantine buildings, as, for example, in the walls of the palace of the Porphyrogenitus, where the different stories are distinct in design, and do not closely correspond to one another.

The outer narthex of S. Theodore may have been built entirely at one time, or its upper story, vaults, and domes may have been added to an already existing lower story. But in any case, notwithstanding all possible adverse criticism, the total effect produced by the façade is pleasing. It presents a noteworthy and successful attempt to relieve the ordinary plainness and heaviness of a Byzantine church exterior, and to give that exterior some grace and beauty.

The effect is the more impressive because the narthex is raised considerably above the level of the ground and reached by a flight of steps. 'Taking it altogether,' says Fergusson, it is perhaps the most complete and elegant church of its class now known to exist in or near the capital, and many of its details are of great beauty and perfection.

The esonarthex is in three bays covered with barrel vaults, and terminates at both ends in a shallow niche. The outer arches spring from square buttresses. From  each bay a door conducts into the church, the central door being set in a marble frame and flanked by two Corinthian columns, which support a bold wall arcade.

The drum of the dome is a polygon of twelve sides, and was lighted by the same number of windows. It rests on four columns, which were originally square, but now have large champs at the angles, dying out at top and bottom. Barrel vaults cover the arms of the cross, and dome vaults surmount the chambers at its angles. As in the Pantokrator, the eastern arm is pierced by two windows in the vaulting surface.

The central apse is lighted by a triple window, having oblong shafts, circular on their inner and outer faces, and bearing capitals now badly injured. A niche indents the northern, eastern, and southern interior walls of the apsidal chapels. The windows in the northern and southern walls of the church have been built up almost to their full height, leaving only small openings for light at the top.

There can be little doubt that they were triple windows with a parapet of carved marble slabs between the shafts. On the exterior the apse shows five sides, and is decorated by an arcade of five arches and an upper tier of five niches. The lateral apses do not project beyond the face of the eastern wall, but are slightly marked out by cutting back the sides and forming angular grooves.

Bayet assigns the church to the ninth or tenth century, the age of Leo the Wise and Constantine Porphyrogenitus. Fergusson is of the same opinion so far as the earlier portions of the building are concerned. But that date is based on the mistaken view that the building is the church of the Theotokos erected by Constantine Lips. Diehl assigns the church to the second half of the eleventh century.

This church presents a good example of the greater interest taken during the later Byzantine period in the external appearance of a church. To the exterior of the walls and the apses some decoration is now applied. The dome is raised on a polygonal drum, with shafts at its angles, and an arched cornice over its windows; the roof gains more diversity of form and elevation by the multiplication of domes, by the protrusion of the vaults of the cross arms and of the apses, thus making the outward garb, so to speak, of the building correspond more closely to the figure and proportions of its inner body.


These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2018, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.