The Zeyrek Church Mosque is a church converted into a mosque, located on a hillside overlooking the Golden Horn (Haliç) on Ibadethane Street in the Zeyrek neighborhood of Fatih District.
It was formerly the Church of the Monastery of Pantocractor, believed to have been built in the late-middle Byzantine period. Its construction was commenced by Eirene, the first wife of İoannes Komnenos II, a daugter of Hungarian King Laszlo. In addition, it was damaged during the Latin invasion of 1204 and was taken possession of by Catholic clerics. After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Monastery of Pantocractor was temporarily used as a madrasah (theological school) until the madrasah in the Fatih Complex was built. The mosque was named as "Zeyrek" after Molla Zeyrek Mehmed Efendi, a resident of the neighborhood who taught at the madrasa. The Zeyrek Mosque was greatly restored in the 18th century. During the restoration work, the Baroque facades were made the same as the contemporay architectural design of the time. The building was again ruined during the 1950s but was restored by the Directorate of Religious Endowments in 1966. Moreover, when the rotten floor was removed during its restoration, decorated floor tiles were found. Additionally, the pulpit of the Kariye mosque was brought to the building and was made as a place for worship. Today, there are no a visible signs or remainders of the previous existance of the Monastery of Pantocractor. There are; however, several water cisterns, which appear to have been previously located under the monestary in various sizes around the mosque.
It is estimated that the present Zeyrek Mosque, previously a church of the Monastery during the Byzantine period, is a building located to the south of first part of the complex composed of three buildings in total. The Zeyrek Mosque, with a minaret which has a sherefe (minaret balcony) is made of baked bricks and whose ceiling is composed of five domes in total.
Nowadays, the mosque is not only a witness to the centuries of history but its visitors also take a journey through time.
Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL