Monday, January 5, 2009

Turkey Travelogue: Sokollu Mehmet Paşa Mosque

This was my favorite mosque of the trip (and the last one in my travelogue). We swung through on a (relatively) mellow day when we were wandering around over near the Marmara. It is a small, lesser-known mosque, so it was not crowded with tourists -- in fact the only person there when we arrived was a man who was sweeping the place -- but it was still breathtakingly gorgeous.

Built in 1571-1572, it was commissioned by Sokollu Mehmet Paşa and designed by Sinan. It is covered in the same İznick tiles found at the Blue Mosque, but is a much smaller building, set on a steep, sloping site.

The exterior of the mosque is of very plain stone, so you don't realize how grand the interior will be until you actually step inside. There is also a lovely, modest graveyard adjacent to the building.

All of the mosques have taps somewhere on the outside, for ritual ablutions that conclude with the washing of the feet. The Mehmet had its circle of taps in a small secluded courtyard at the top of a steep entrance stairway. It was all a very charming setting that provided for a refreshing break from the heat and noise down on the street.

1 comment:

June said...

Don't you wonder how the rituals of a religion ever got started? I know many of the Judeo-Christian ones come straight out of paganism, but don't know enough about Islam to say...