Didem Doğan

İstanbul walks, Tophane

We start our tour in Tophane with the Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque; dating from the 16th century, the mosque of Architect Sinan was made in his late age when he was ninety years old. They say it is the one that most resembles to St Sophia to which he admired his whole life and avoided copying. The mosque is said to be the first mosque built on sea and was named after the Admiral of the Fleet Kilic Ali Pasha. He was originally from Calabria and named Ochiali; he then converted to Islam and became soldier; he soon raised to high levels in the Navy, took Tunisia two times (the second one permanently), and was given the highest title of during the reign of Selim the 2nd. He made quite a fortune and died at ninety years old… The Kilic Ali Pasha complex also has a bath which was recently renovated and opened as a luxury hamam.

Next to the mosque is the Tophane Fountain, an elegant fountain in Baroque style. Right across the avenue is the Tophane-i Amire, a brick stone building with eight domes; it was used since the time of the conquest of the city by Ottomans to build arms; this version of the building is the one built by the Selim the 3rd for his renovation policies of the army. Today it is used for art exhibitions and is open to public during art events.

We then cross again the avenue, pass the fountain and the park and reach to another mosque which is the Nusretiye Mosque. It is in late Ottoman style with Baroque features, its architect Kirkor Balyan belongs to the Armenian group of architects that had built the Dolmabahce, Ortakoy and Yildiz Mosques; the visitor can distinguish the Western elements of these Bosphorus mosques, each one of which is simple but elegant in style.

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