Didem Doğan

Sokollu Mehmet Pasa Mosque, Ahirkapi

As you walk down the Sultanahmet Square you will both leave the tourist crowds behind for a while, also start to enjoy the narrow and colourful streets of Ahirkapi. This neighbourhood takes its name from being the place of the royal mews during the Ottoman era. One of the most beautiful mosques of Sinan is located here, the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque was built by the architect Sinan for the daughter of Sultan Selim the 2nd who was also the wife of the Vizier Sokollu Mehmet Pasha. The place itself was where an old church from the Byzantine era was built. As you enter the courtyard from a little street you will be surprised by the beauty of the mosque’s interior; the sense you get is a small but intensely turquoise interior, the frontal wall is covered with tiles till the dome; although it is small everything is harmoniously decorated- from the coloured glasses to the one single big lamp hanged from the wall, the light entering from the windows fills the interior with the beautiful blue of the tiles.

Right down the mosque is located the Little St Sophia, which was built in the sixth century during the time of the Byzantine Empire Iustinianos 1st. and it was dedicated to the saints St Sergius and St Bacchus; it was then called St Sergius and St Bacchus Church, then when it was converted into a mosque during the time of the Sultan 2nd Beyazid people started to call it Little St Sophia as it was similar in shape to St Sophia. It is still functioning as a mosque and open to public for prayers.

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