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Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque




Sokullu Mehmet Paşa was one of the grand viziers of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. He was originally a Christian conscript and the mosque was built in his name right opposite of Sultan Süleyman Caravanserai and this information is contained in works such as Tezkiretü'l – Bünyan and Tezkiretü'l – Ebniye.   Since it has not inscription we cannot know the exact construction date. But we can tell that the mosque probably has the same date of construction as of the Islamic Ottoman Social Complex.  In this case the mosque is completed between the years of 1566-1567 just like the caravanserai, fountain and the bridge. It is also called "Köprübaşı Mosque" since it is located at the beginning of the Büyükçekmece Bridge. I would like to give you some information about the mosque and its functions before providing information about the Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque and Pulpit – Minaret.

Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque

sokullu_mescit_00.JPG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque


Mosques consist of 4 different groups by the places they have been built: Street mosques, lodge mosques, social complex mosques, inn—caravanserai mosques.91 We can add Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque in the social complex mosques group since it was built within the scope of Büyükçekmece Menzil (Posts) Islamic Ottoman Social Complex. İlhan Özkeçeci explains the development of the mosque in this work titled "Historical Kayseri Mosques" as below:

The first mosque of the Islam is the Kuba Mosque on the road of Mecca-Medina.  Later Prophet Mohammad facilitated Mescid-i Nebevi. There were small cells (rooms) around a square planned yard.  This was also a home to the Prophet Mohammad. Kıblah of the mosque was North at first since it pointed Jerusalem. In 642 the kıblah turned towards the Ka'ba and the Prophet had ordered the construction of an arbor from date trees and the mosque gained a new meaning after the Prophet Mohammad had been buried in here.


      Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque


Mosques are one of the most important buildings of Islamic architecture. These architectural buildings are built for collective praying and turned into mosque architecture with their size extended throughout the time. "types of mosque buildings which has been built by using materials which can be found easily in the daily life with the thought of creating a social union by coming together praying in small groups who accept this religion in the first years of Islam" 93 creates the first examples of the mosques architecture.  Today the first architectural building to come into mine about Islam is the Ka'ba and the second one is mosque. Mosque architecture which is shaped by the culture and interpretation of each culture is the main element of Classical Period Ottoman Architecture.  This is also important because these buildings are the first ones to pave the way to the most basic and most beautiful architectural buildings of Islam which is the mosque. Mosques also places of social gathering and association.   Sinan, who adds new interpretations to the Classical Period Ottoman Architecture, was also a distinguished architect about mosques. Koca Sinan constructed 51 mosques which are registered in the records together with Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque

İbrahim Paşa Mosque at Esekapı

Sinan Paşa Mosque at Yenibahçe

Rüstem Paşa Mosque at Yenibahçe

Poor People's Mosque near Yenibahçe

Hafız Mustafa Çelebi Mosque near Yenibahçe

Müftü Çivizade Mosque near Topkapı

Emir Ali Mosque near Karagümrük

Üçbaş Mosque near Karagümrük

Defterdar Şerifezade Efendi Mosque

Defterdar Mehmet Çelebi Efendi Mosque

Simkeş Mosque near the Lütfü Paşa Çarşısı

Hacegizade Mosque near the Sultan Mehmet [Fatih] Mosque additional buildings

Çavuş Mosque near Silivrikapı

Hacı Nasuhi Mosque near Sarıgüzel

Hacı İvaz Mosque at the same location

Tabak Hacı Hamza Mosque near Ağaçayırı

Wife of İbrahim Paşa Mosque near Kumkapı

Bayram Çelebi Mosque near Langakapısı

Kürkçübaşı Mosque just outside Kumkapı

Velour Makers' Workshop Mosque

Jeweller's Workshop Mosque

A Mosque over the Hersek Bodrumu in Hagia Sophia

Yayabaşı Mosque in Fenerkapısı

Abdi Subaşı Mosque near Sultan Selim

Hüseyin Çelebi Mosque near Sultan Selim

Kadızade Mosque near Ali Paşa Bathhouse

Duhanizade Mosque near Koca Mustafa Paşa

Kadızade Mosque near Çukurhamam

Müftü Hamid Efendi Mosque near Azepler Bathhouse

Tüfenkhane Mosque outside Hisar in Unkapanı

Saray Ağası Mosque outside Edirnekapı

Dökmecibaşı Mosque at Eyüp

Arpacıbaşı Mosque at Eyüp

Kaysunizade Mosque at Sütlüce

Karcı Subaşı Süleyman Mosque at Eyüp

2 Mosques of Karcı Subaşı Süleyman in İstanbul

Ahmet Çelebi Mosque at Kiremitlik

Yahya Kethuda Mosque at Kasım Paşa

Hasan Çelebi Mosque at Şehremini

Süheyl Bey Mosque at Tophane

İlyaszade Mosque outside Topkapı

Sarrafbaşı Mosque

Memi Kethuda Mosque at Kasım Paşa

Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque in Büyükçekmece

Hacı Paşa Mosque in Üsküdar

Saraçhane Mosque in Hasköy

Sarraf Mosque outside Topkapı

Ruznameci Abdi Mosque in Sulu Manastır

Kürkçübaşı Mosque just outside Kumkapı

Şeyh Ferhat Mosque near Langakapısı

It was built in a yard for Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. But the walls of the yard right now are not the original walls. Only the base of the pulpit – minaret are preserved from the original yard wall. The mosque which was mentioned in the Seyahatname (Book of Travels) by Evliya Çelebi has undergone an extensive renovation between the years of 1962-1963 and it is now a lot different than its original state.95 As the building material, single file cut stone and two lines of bricks were used just like the caravanserai. In the 16th Century mosque constructions cut-rubble stone, bricks in some parts and wood in inner refurbishing are generally used.  As for planning, square or rectangular plan schemes are seen to be applied."96 Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque is an architectural structure carrying these features.


Rear side of the Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque

There are 6 windows at the west and east sides 3 on the upper level and 3 on the lower level on the Mosque. There are 5 windows on the south side and the window over the pedestal is hexagonal. Windows on the upper row have pointed arches and brick beam frames. West and south sides lower row windows have pointed arches and brick beam frames. But the east side lower row windows do not carry these features. They are framed with square stones. Window motifs are in circles. There are no starry motifs such as in the caravanserai. It has a plainer look when compared to the caravanserai. Lots of renovation applied to the building may have had an effect on this.

Last congregation area of the mosque is made of wood and combined with the main structure of the mosque under a lead.  The mosque has a very light, airy and ornate indoors with a wooden mihrab, pulpit and minbar. The sunlight reflects in different colors due to the colorful windows and adds a nice environment to its indoors. This beautiful mosque was a place of prayer for travelers and soldiers who was accommodated in this caravanserai throughout the centuries, now serves to the visitors of Kültür Park.


sokullu_mescit_04.jpgThis beautiful minbar-minaret sitting on high above the wall of the yard of Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque enchants us as soon as we step into the mosque and defies the centuries. These mosque minarets which look like minbars are called minbar-minarets. Mimar Sinan built two minber-minarets. One of them is the minber-minaret of the Büyükçekmece Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque and the other one is the Mimar Sinan Mosque minber-minaret which is the donation of Sinan himself and it is located in the Fatih district of İstanbul. One can find similar minbar-minarets in Central Asia, Egypt and Anatolia which was constructed by carving single piece stones. The minbar-minaret which has an octagonal shape can be climbed by 11 steps from the yard of the mosque. The minaret has no balcony but the chalet serves as a balcony. Stone railings of the octagonal body "are built in the style called coursed rubble."


Minbar-minaret and caravanserai at the background


We have detailed information about the motifs of the minbar-minaret from Yücel again:

This minaret which resembles a minbar in the first look was put on a rectangular pedestal and one could reach to balcony with the help of twelve steps which has an extrinsic profile. A dome is placed on eight pillars on the balcony which has an octagonal shape. Various motifs have been inscribed on the plates of the stone railing which is placed behind the pillars. The main body of these consists of hexagons arranged in up and down positions. The hexagons are cut by the beams going through their centers and thus baklava and triangle patterns are formed. Over the windows from where the prayers are recited, there are horseshoe arcs which resembling the Bursa style. Fringe friezes on the arcs and palmet motifs on the upper side which are formed side by side gets attention. Top of the minaret is covered by a lead cone which is named as onion dome. R. Ekrem Koçu estimates that it is possible that the original shape of the cone was probably made of stone and this kind of lead cones were probably put during a renovation which were carried out within the last century.

This beautiful and elegant minbar-minaret which is impossible to keep one's eyes off from with its richly detailed motifs which defy the centuries hails us with an aesthetic which is appropriate for the art and architecture of Sinan. This minbar-minaret which is the smallest building of the social complex gets one's attention first with its pointed cone even among the large bodies of caravanserai and mosque.


Stone railing covered with motifs.


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