Fatih Mosque

Fatih Camii

The Fatih Mosque is an Ottoman mosque in the Fatih district of Istanbul. The original mosque on the site was constructed between 1463 and 1470 on the site of the Church of the Holy Apostles. It was seriously damaged in the 1766 earthquake and was rebuilt in 1771 to a different design. It is one of the largest examples of Turkish-Islamic architecture in Istanbul and represents an important stage in the development of classic Turkish architecture. It is named after Ottoman sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, known in Turkish as Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Ottoman sultan who conquered Constantinople in 1453.

Sahn-ı Seman Medrese, a main center for the study of various traditional Islamic sciences such as theology, law, medicine, astronomy, physics and mathematics, was part of the Fatih Mosque and was founded by the Persian astronomer Ali Qushji who was invited by Mehmed to his court in Istanbul.

The Fatih mosque complex was a religious and social building of unprecedented size and complexity built in Istanbul between 1463-1470 by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed. The mosque was built on the site of the former Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles, which had been in poor condition since the Fourth Crusade, and was demolished in order for the Fatih mosque to be constructed. The Church was the burial place of the Roman Emperor Constantine — prior to the construction of the mosque, Constantine’s sarcophagus was placed in the center of 12 sarchophagi representing the 12 apostles, in “the symbolic place of Christ.

It was built by the Greek architect Atik Sinan. The Fatih mosque was the first monumental project in the Ottoman imperial architectural tradition.

The original complex included a set of well-planned buildings constructed around the mosque. They include eight medrese, library, hospital, hospice, caravanserai, market, hamam, primary school and public kitchen (imaret) which served food to the poor. Various türbe were added at a later dates. The original complex covered an almost square area 325 metres (1,066 feet) on a side, extending along the Golden Horn side of Fevzipasa Street.

The original mosque was badly damaged in the 1509 earthquake, after that it was repaired, but was then damaged again by earthquakes in 1557 and 1754 and repaired yet again. It was then completely destroyed by an earthquake on 22 May 1766 when the main dome collapsed and the walls were irreparably damaged. The current mosque (designed on a completely different plan) was completed in 1771 under Sultan Mustafa III by the architect, Mimar Mehmet Tahir.

Go top