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Atik Ali Paşa Complex

The Atik Ali Paşa Complex, located on Yeniçeriler Street in the Çemberlitaş neighborhood of  the Eminönü district, was built by the Grand Vizier named Bosnalı Hadım Atik Ali Paşa in 1496 during the reign of Sultan Beyazit II (1481-1512). It is thought that the complex consisted of amosque, a soup kitcken (imaret), a religious school (madrasa), a dervish lodge (tekke), a caravanserai, and a tomb. However, only the mosque, tomb, and madrasa continue to stand today. The mosque is the main element of the Atik Ali Paşa Complex, and has also been known as the Sedefçiler Mosque, the Çemberlitaş Mosque, and the Sandıkçılar Mosque.

During the earthquake of 1648, its dome was completely destroyed and its minarets partially collapsed. It was also damaged by the earthquakes which occurred in the years 1716 and 1766. Each time the mosque was has been erected again after being demolished by these earthquakes. The last prayer section of the mosque, which is composed of cut stones, is covered by five domes. The mosque also has a space of 21.55 x 28.13m. The central dome of the mosque, measuring 13.30m in diameter, forms the ceiling of the structure and is supported by a half-dome and four smaller domes.

Sixteen windows are placed on the lower part of the dome and window gaps are placed on the other domes contributing to the interior lighting of the mosque. The central niche, with muqarnas showcasing Classical Ottoman architectural concepts, and the pulpit both are covered with black and white marble in order to protect their simplicity during the first years of construction. As for to the mosque’s minaret, with its single shrefe (balcony), it has lost its original shape after the earthquake in 1648. It is unknown for whom the tomb was built, and the graveyard of the complex is located in the corner of the street wall. During road broadening works in 1880, the front part of the Madrasa (religious school), one other building of the complex which has stood until today, was demolished and two rooms were later added.

Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL

 


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