Fatih Mosque, Istanbul Turkey
The Fatih Mosque (Turkish: ‘Fatih Camii’) or Conqueror’s Mosque in English) is an Ottoman imperial mosque located in the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey. It was one of the largest examples of Turkish-Islamic architecture in Istanbul and represented an important stage in the development of classic Turkish architecture.
The Fatih Mosque was constructed by order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror from 1463-1470, on the site of the former Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles, whose ruins served as a quarry to supply building materials for the new mosque. The architect was Atik Sinan, about whom little is known.
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 meters 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 was 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.
There has been considerable speculation about the original design of Faitih Mosque, which contemporary accounts compared with the Hagia Sophia. The courtyard, main entrance portal and lower portions of the minarets remain from the original construction, with the remainder consisting of the 1771 Baroque reconstruction.
The present interior of the Fatih Mosque is essentially a copy of earlier designs invented by Sinan re-used repeatedly by himself and his successors throughout Istanbul (this technique is emulative of the Hagia Sophia). The 26 meter diameter center dome is supported by four semi-domes on each axis supported by four large marble columns. There are two minarets each with twin galleries. The calligraphy within the mosque and the mimbar exhibit a Baroque influence, but the white tiles of inferior quality are a poor comparison with the İznik tiled splendor of mosques such as the Rüstem Pasha Mosque. The mihrab may date from the original construction.