FATİH – EDİRNEKAPI – ZEYREK
In this district, which grew after the conquest of Istanbul, the churches and mosques that were formerly churches are impressive works.
The district of Fatih is one of the most famous residential areas of the Turkish era. It bears the title of the conqueror of the city (Fatih means conqueror) and was built around the first big mosque and soup kitchen of the city.
The mosque built when the külliye was first built has not survived into the present. The Fatih Mosque, which is inside the külliye today, was built in the late 18th century. This new Fatih Mosque whose reconstruction was ordered by Sultan Mustafa III in 1767 was built by Mimar Mehmed Tahir in a different form. The Fatih Mosque was built with classical mosque architecture but the decoration displays influences from the baroque style. Its big dome, whose diameter is 26 meters, is situated on three large marble pillars and supported by four semi-domes. It has two minarets with two minaret signs each. The pen decorations inside the mosque also display influences of the baroque style. Another important element of the külliye is the madrasahs. The madrasahs on both sides of the mosque also formed a foundation for İstanbul University. Some of the madrasahs that went through various restorations over time were totally destroyed during road construction. Only eight of these madrasahs has survived up to now. In the direction of Mecca from the mosque is a library built in 1724. However, the books
belonging to this library are preserved in the Library of Süleymaniye and the building is presently under restoration.
Also in the direction of Mecca from the mosque are three tombs belonging to Fatih Sultan Mehmed, his wife Gülbahar Hatun, and Nakşidil Sultan, the mother of Sultan Mahmud II. There are also many graves belonging to various state officers in the burial grounds of the külliye. The tabhane (lodging rooms for travelers), the bazaar, and the Turkish bathhouse were torn down years ago.
The Fethiye Mosque was originally built as a church in the late 13th century by one of the prominent people of Byzantine, Mihail Glabas Tarkaniotes. After the conquest of İstanbul, it was used as a patriarchate from 1454. After the conquest of Azerbaijan and Georgia during the Persian wars in 1590, it was turned into a mosque as a memorial for the conquests. The apse section of the church was pulled down and a suitable altar was built in the direction of Mecca, as well as a minaret and a madrasah. It was turned into a museum during the Republic era. The mosaics and frescos inside it were uncovered in 1955 and pillars suitable for its former style were built. It was opened for religious services again as a mosque in the 1960’s.
Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque and Külliye
The Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque is located in the middle of the outer courtyard. The interior courtyard can be entered through three gates. Eighteen pillars and 22 domes surround the courtyard and the final meeting place of the people. Tiled panels surround the 20 windows around the courtyard. These tiles are the best examples of the time. There is a fountain with eight marble pillars and a dome in the middle. The wings of the gates are among the finest examples of the arts of carving and ornamental inlaying. The mosque has a plain structure with a square plan. It has two minarets with one minaret symbol each. There are three tombs belonging to Yavuz Sultan Selim, the princes and daughters of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman and Sultan Abdülmecid in the burial ground in the direction of Mecca. The covers, door and windows and the mother of pearl ornamental carvings inside the tomb of Yavuz Sultan Selim are true masterpieces.
Şebsefa Hatun Mosque
This mosque was ordered by Fatma Şebsafa Hatun, one of the wives of Sultan Abdülhamid I, in 1787 for his son Şehzade Mehmed who had died. The mosque, which is known as Zeyrek Mosque, was built in the baroque style. The minaret to the right, which has one minaret symbol, was built from hewn stones. The main dome is supported with four small domes in the corners. The poem in the epigraph was written by Şeyhülislam Yahya Tevfik V. The grave of Şebsafa Hatun is inside the burial grounds of the mosque.
The most important of the monasteries whose plans were designed as Greek crosses is the Pantocrator Christ Monastery built in the 12th century by the Comnenos family on an area with a good view of the Golden Horn. It is also known as the Zeyrek Church Mosque today The church consists of three structures adjacent to each other. The church in the middle was built as the burial chapel of the Komnenos family. Among the additional structures of the Pantocrator monastery was a hospital which had a capacity of 50 beds. Also the Akataleptos Monastery was built in the 11th century on a central point of the slope leading from Fatih to the Golden Horn. It had a church which is known as the Eski İmaret Mosque.
The Fourth Crusade turned against the Byzantine Empire and the Western knights who came here as friends overthrew the Byzantine emperor and took over the capital in 1204. They established a Latin Kingdom which made the Byzantine Empire lose its status in world politics. The control of some churches and monasteries in the city passed to the Catholics and the city turned into a ruin.
Mihrimah Sultan Külliyesi-Edirnekapı
This külliye was ordered by Kanuni Sultan Süleyman for his daughter Mihrimah Sultan
and was built by Mimar Sinan. The construction of the külliye is thought to have been completed in the 1560’s. The külliye consists of a mosque, double bathhouse,
a tomb and a children’s school. The mosque has a single dome with a diameter of 20 meters and a height of 37 meters. It has a single minaret. The mosque is illuminated with 161 windows. The ornamental inlaying on the windows and door wings are precious works of art. In the direction of Mecca from the mosque are the children’s school and the tomb of Güzel Ahmed Paşa. Nothing has survived from the bazaar up to now.
THE SULTAN THAT CHANGED AN AGE
FATİH SULTAN MEHMED HAN (1451-1481)
Sultan Mehmed II, who was the son of Sultan Murat II and Hüma Hatun, was born in Edirne in 1444. He ascended to the throne as the seventh sultan in 1451. He had a versatile personality and his superior intelligence could be observed even when he was a small child. He was educated by famous teachers and he could read and write in Arabic, Persian, Greek and Slavic in addition to Turkish. He became a noted poet. Soon after his father left the throne, he undertook the government of the state for a short time but had to leave the throne to his father again due to the events of the time. After the death of his father in 1451, he took over the throne again. He was a good commander, a powerful man of the state, and a ruler who was open-minded for his time. He maintained close relationships with the scholars of his time and ensured that science developed in the country while ensuring the synthesis of the civilizations of the west and the east by inviting and bringing artists from the west. His greatest wish was to conquer ‹stanbul and he ensured the transition from the Medieval Age to the New Age by fulfilling this wish at a very young age. He changed the traditions that had existed until his time and reorganized the state. He made use of all opportunities to make the Ottoman Empire a state of the world. He protected the management of the state by a single central authority and ensured the sustainability of the state with the codes he adopted. He also gathered the codes before him under the name of “Kanunnâme-i Âli Osman”. His turban was like the one of his grandfather, Çelebi Sultan Mehmed. His outfit stood as an example to other sultans.