Fatih Mosque, Istanbul

The mosque is a classical sample of Islamic architecture in Turkish history This mosque is situated in the district of Fatih in one of the main cities of Istanbul. This city plays an important part in the history of mosques in Turkey.  The city is named after the famous person who occupied Constantinople in the year as far back as 1453.

The Fatih mosque is a huge place of learning where various sciences were taught which included Mathematics, medicine, astronomy, law and physics.  These subjects were introduced by the famous astronomer Ali Qushji, who visited Istanbul at the invitation of the Sultan to meet him and advise him on the various matters pertaining to the future line of action regarding education in Istanbul.

This great complex was constructed on the orders of the Sultan, Fatin Sultan Mehmet in the city of Istanbul during the seven year period starting from 1463 and ending in 1470. This place was previously occupied by the building of the church which was in a dilapidated condition at the time of start of the mosque. This building was considered to be the first historic development in the Ottoman Style.

Initially the multi-layered was completed by building various structures which housed schools, public kitchen, to serve eatables to the needy, eight schools where people learnt Islamic law and Fiqah, and hospital where people could be treated for various diseases. Later on various faculties were added in this complex.  In the beginning the compound covered an area of 325 square meters.

The mosque originally planned was with the intention of having one Dome resting on a smaller domes equal in diameter to that of the bigger dome. The dome was facing the QIBLA. The dome rested on the four half circle open doors which measured 28 meters in dia.

Regrettably Istanbul was struck by a heavy earthquake in 1766 which damaged the whole mosque. The Sultan of Istanbul then constructed the mosque at the same place in 1771 which had one dome resting on the four smaller domes.  The part of the original mosque which survived during the earthquake were the courtyard, the entrance, porch and the bases of the minaret, which were used to complete the second mosque.

The earlier designs used by Sinan are seen in Fatih Mosque. Four large marble columns support four semi-domes which support a large center dome of about 26 meters. There are two towers each with two galleries. Baroque Architecture is selected for the calligraphy on the minber and the mosque.

There are 8 great Islamic schools where almost 1000 students study which could easily be termed as a Islamic University.  These Islamic schools are built in the north and south region of the mosque, equal in number on both sides.

There is a graveyard situated at the back of the mosque where two tombs are constructed where lay the Sultan Mehmet II and his wife. These tombs were destroyed during the earthquake which were rebuilt. The tomb of the Conqueror is very stylish and interior of the tomb has been marvelously ornamented.

On the side of The KA’ABA, there is a library with one gate on the roadside while the two gates open in the courtyard. The library is presently being renovated and the books, for the present, have been preserved in Suleymaniye library.

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