In my previous posts, I wrote about the Seljuk heritage in Konya and also about the fascinating Mevlana Museum. But, there is also Ottoman Konya to consider, in addition to history that existed there before it became an important Ottoman city. In fact, that was the only thing that I knew about Konya when I decided to go there during my travel across Turkey last year.
ABOUT OTTOMAN KONYA
Two Ottoman imperial mosques in Konya testify about its relatively special place within the Ottoman Empire. Certainly, other places that I visited such as Izmir, Antalya and Ankara are also rich in Ottoman heritage, but none of them possesses an imperial mosque. On the other hand in Bursa and of course in Istanbul, you can see many.
Ottoman sultans and other members of the Ottoman dynasty commissioned monumental mosques in places that they considered important.
Konya was important because it was where Ottoman Şehzades (princes) governed. In the earlier days of the Ottoman Empire, there was a practice of sending princes to far away provinces to rule and gain necessary experience, in case they would one day become sultans. You can also find imperial mosques in Trabzon, Manisa, Amasya and Edirne.
Concretely in Konya, Şehzade Mustafa and Şehzade Cem governed. They were both Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s sons. But, neither of them became a sultan. Mustafa was killed by his brother Bayezid and Cem died in exile.
However, Suleiman the Magnificent’s son Şehzade Selim governed in Konya and after the death of his father, became Sultan Selim II.
SELIMIYE MOSQUE (1570)
That day when I arrived to the square that you can see in a photo below, I immediately knew that the big mosque was an Ottoman mosque. But, I did not know which one it was. I had already visited another imperial mosque in Konya, the Aziziye Mosque, which I will mention later. But, I certainly did not expect to find yet another monumental mosque so close.
I remember thinking that whoever built it, chose a spectacular location next to another impressive construction – the 13th century Mevlana Museum.
So, I approached the entrance and read the inscription – Sultan Selim Mosque. I had to think. I saw the Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque in Istanbul, could this be another of his mosques? Then looking at the year, I tried to remember who ruled in 1570. The year of construction revealed that this was Sultan Selim II’s mosque and not his grandfather’s.
Interestingly, Sultan Selim II built three mosques and none of them is in Istanbul. There is this one in Konya, there is one in Karapinar which is a small town not far from Konya and there is also one in Edirne, with his name.
Perhaps, Sultan Selim II considered that there were already too many imperial mosques in Istanbul. The magnificent Süleymaniye Mosque had been completed only 9 years before Selim sat on the throne.
But, that did not stop his wife Nurbanu Sultan to construct the magnificent Atik Valide Mosque in Istanbul.
In any case, this mosque is a splendid example of the classical Ottoman architecture.
ŞERAFETTIN MOSQUE (1636)
I’ve already mentioned the Şerafettin Mosque in my previous post. That’s because behind the mosque there is the Şerafettin Tomb, the Seljuk era mausoleum. Sheikh Şerafettin built the original mosque in the 12th century. But, as that old mosque got damaged over time, the Ottomans constructed a new one in 1636.
Unfortunately, they were restoring this mosque and with scaffolding both outside and inside, I couldn’t really see much. In other words, the full glory of this historical temple was concealed at the time when I was there.
KADI HACI ALI EFENDI DARU’L KURRASI
Initially, when I saw this building directly opposite the Şerafettin Mosque, I thought that it was a mausoleum. But, that’s not the case. This small building is a madrasa for Koran education.
In Ottoman times, young people went to Koran Madrasas to read and understand the Holy Koran. There were 11 such madrasas in Konya in the past, established during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmed. The only one that remains now is this one.
KAPI MOSQUE (1869)
Without any doubt, the Kapi Mosque is the most prominent feature in the Konya Bazaar. It’s right in the middle of the historical area, surrounded by many shops. Unlike the Selimiye Mosque, which may appear slightly isolated, this mosque is a nucleus of daily activities for many people who come to this area to do the business. Additionally, it perfectly decorates the whole area.
The inscription at the entrance shows the construction date as 1658. Indeed Pir Hüsein Çelebi, one of Mevlana’s great grand-sons, constructed it in that year. But, that original mosque was damaged in 1811 and renovated by Eşenlerli Köse Mufti.
However, the mosque burnt to the ground in the fire of the Konya Bazaar in 1867.
So, the mosque that we see today is the 19th century construction, built in 1869.
I didn’t know anything about its history when I visited this mosque. I saw the inscription at the entrance and once inside, nothing within the mosque suggested that it wasn’t the 17th century building.
I certainly don’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve seen a lot of 16th and 17th century mosques. In terms of its interior decoration, this one looked like that.
Perhaps, I could have picked up on the chandelier, because I doubt that such chandeliers existed in Konya in the 17th century. But, such small decorative elements could have been added at any point, without affecting an overall impression.
In any case, it’s a beautiful building, with a splendid position right in the centre of the Bazaar.
I’ve seen it both, at busy and quiet times. There were a lot of people in the mosque at the prayer time, although there were a lot of people around at all times, simply because it’s a very busy shopping area.
AZIZIYE MOSQUE (1874)
Probably, the Aziziye Mosque is the most beautiful of all mosques in Konya.
The same as the Kapi Mosque, it is in the centre of the Konya Bazaar. Together, these two mosques create a magical image.
Additionally, the Aziziye Mosque has the same history as the Kapi Mosque.
The original 17th century mosque, built by Damat Mustafa Pasha, burnt in 1867.
Pertevniyal Valide Sultan, the mother of Sultan Abdülaziz, commissioned construction of a new mosque. The name of the mosque – Aziziye – comes from Abdülaziz.
When you see this mosque, it’s immediately clear that it’s not very old. Although the Kapi Mosque, built at the same time, looks like older Ottoman mosques.
It’s architecture is a mix of Turkish Baroque and the classical Ottoman style.
Inside, the mosque is pure Turkish Baroque.
It has the same elements as the Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque in Istanbul, constructed at almost the same time as this one.
You can also see a lot of Holy Koran books in this mosque, I assume that they are there for people who want to study.
The Aziziye Mosque does not have a courtyard, rather it is in a very busy area surrounded with buildings on all sides. It has two fountains attached to lower parts of both minarets. The main photo in this post shows one of the fountains of this mosque.
But, that also means that it was difficult to take a clear picture of the whole mosque. Anyway, I think you that can get a very good idea of this magnificent 19th century historical structure.
THE REST OF OTTOMAN KONYA
TAHIR PASHA MOSQUE
Four mosques that I’ve mentioned are the most important Ottoman heritage in Konya. But, you can see many other smaller Ottoman mosques all over Konya, such as the Tahir Pasha Mosque in a photo below. However, I had neither time nor capacity to pay attention to absolutely everything.
The most important Seljuk and Ottoman historical buildings, plus the Mevlana Museum, were already a lot to absorb. But, that doesn’t mean that these smaller constructions are of less importance, far from that. It’s just that you need a lot of time to see everything, plus you also need to invest time and effort and read and learn about it all. Otherwise, what’s the point in seeing things if we don’t know what they are and what they represent?
Finally, you also have the Konya Bazaar to explore. It’s a maze of streets, lined with very beautiful Ottoman era houses.
The whole area looks good and well kept. Probably, they also totally reconstructed it after the fire in 1876.
The bazaar area is where you really get the feel of Ottoman Konya and where you get an idea of how it used to be back in the Ottoman times.
Apart from many shops, there are also some restaurants and coffee shops where you can sit down and have a rest.
Undoubtedly, the vast Ottoman heritage in Konya is as important as the Seljuk heritage. And when you add the mystical and spiritual Mevlana Museum, you comprehend what special and unique place Konya is.