Şakirin Mosque – Sakirin Moschee – Masjid Sakirin, Üsküdar, Istanbul Turkey
Şakirin Mosque – Sakirin Moschee – Masjid Sakirin – Camii Sakirin is located at one of the entrances to Karacaahmet Cemetery in Üsküdar, Istanbul. It was built by the Semiha Şakir Foundation in memory of İbrahim Şakir and Semiha Şakir and opened on 7 May 2009. According to newspaper reports, it is the most modern mosque in Turkey.
The mosque’s architect was Hüsrev Tayla, known for his work on Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara and for his architectural conservation work. Its interior designer was Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu, a great-niece of Semiha Şakir, and also according to newspaper reports, the first female interior designer of a mosque.
Construction of the mosque took 4 years. It is 10,000 square meters in area. It has two minarets, each 35 meters high, and a dome of aluminum composite. The calligraphy on the interior of the dome was written by Semih İrteş. The large windows on three sides of the prayer hall were designed by Orhan Koçan. The minbar is acrylic and was designed by Tayfun Erdoğmuş. Decorative motifs are derived from Seljuk art. The large, asymmetrical chandelier has waterdrop-shaped glass globes made by Nahide Büyükkaymakçı, “reflecting a prayer that Allah’s light should fall on worshipers like rain,” and the women’s section is designed especially to allow female worshipers to have a clear view of the chandelier. The fountain in the courtyard was designed by William Pye. The mosque is built over a parking garage and also includes an exhibition area
And the mosque’s main designer is a woman.
Zeynep Fadillioglu, an award-winning designer who made her name with the interiors of fancy bars and restaurants, has created little short of a revolution by her interpretation of a modern place of worship.
With her blonde hair, designer glasses and elegant clothes, Ms Fadillioglu may not look like the obvious choice for a mosque designer: newspapers called the Sakirin Mosque a “high-society mosque” because Ms Fadillioglu is known for creating some of the most stylish lounges and nightclubs in Istanbul as well as hotels and homes for the super-rich, from Turkey to Europe, India to the Middle East.
The fact that Ms Fadillioglu, 53, is the first woman ever to be in charge of the design of a mosque is about to spark world-wide headlines about the project.
“It was very exciting but also seriously scary,” Ms Fadillioglu said of the time when she was asked to take part in the building.
But Ms Fadillioglu, who describes herself as “not really a practicing Muslim”, said that the work on the mosque had been a spiritual as well as an artistic experience for her. “If I weren’t a Muslim, I could still have designed it, but there would have been less feeling in it,” she said. She and her team worked closely with theologians and experts on Islamic art. Fadillioglu says, I’m not here to redefine Islam. I’m here to reinterpret the aesthetic part in my own language of design.
The children of Ibrahim and Semiha Sakir, a wealthy Turkish-Arab couple known for their philanthropy, are having the mosque built in honour of their parents. The mosque’s name obviously reflects the family name but it also has the literal meaning in Arabic of “Those who are thankful (to God)”. It is located at the entrance of the Karacaahmet Cemetery, one of Istanbul’s oldest, in the ultra-pious district of Uskudar on the Asian side of the city — the last home of at least a million souls, from Ottoman bureaucrats to modern day artists. And now, among the tall cypress trees that grow above them, there also rise two minarets and a dome whose style is as new to the living as it is to the dead.