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Laleli Complex

The Laleli Complex is located at the intersection of Ordu and Fethi Bey Streets in the Laleli Neighborhood of the Eminönü district. It consists of a mosque (cami), madrasa (medrese), fountain (çeşme), sabil, soup-kitchen (imaret), a room for the timekeeper of the mosque (muvakkithane), and a han. The complex’s construction began with the mosque, whose foundation was laid on April 5, 1760, during the rule of Sultan Mustafa III (1717-1774). Although its architect is unknown, most scholars attribute this monument to Mehmed Tahir Ağa, while others have suggested that the head-architect was Haci Ahmed Ağa. The complex features both Baroque and Classical architectural styles. It suffered damage during the earthquake of 1765 and was refurbished in 1782.

The complex’s mosque contains an inner court encircled by 18 domes. There is a beautiful fountain located in the inner court which has three entrances facing three different directions. The dome of the mosque, built on a square plan, was placed on a pulley which has 24 window gaps was supported by six half-domes. The interior of the prayer hall is completely lit by 105 windows, including the twenty-four windows in the dome. The mosque has two minarets, each has a sherefe (single balcony) with extraordinary stone caps. After the road construction works of 1957 and 1958, the outer courtyard lost its original characteristics and the entrance door was set back from the wall, and the shops below the courtyard have taken their present form.

The mosque’s madrasah (theological school) was damaged by an earthquake in 1894 and also by a fire during 1911. As such, it has not survived to the present day. The tomb of the complex and the sabil are both located along Ordu Street. Sultan Mustafa III and Selim III (1789-1807) are buried in the tomb and the Haseki Sultans are buried in the adjacent tomb. The sabil of the complex is constructed on a circular base and has concave windows facing the street.

Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL

 


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