Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

I have never seen a city in Turkey with so many mosques than in this ancient city, except maybe for the historical peninsula of Istanbul.  

This signifies that Gaziantep - albeit modern in some aspects - is home to a conservative muslim population.  They are almost beside each other surrounding the castle within the city center.  There are plenty more around the city but I thought about entering each one of those I passed along my way.

The Ali Nacar Mosque

As written in front of the mosque – “It is not known exactly when the mosque was built, however it could have been as early as the 14th century.”
 It is thought to have been built by a carpenter called Ali Nacar.  There is an inscription dated 1816, at which time the building was renovated, and further inscriptions on the mihrab (prayer niche) and sermon stand dated 1817 and 1819 respectively.

The mosque is rectangular in design, divided width-ways into two parts, each running parallel to the kiblah (direction of Mecca). The two halls are divided by stone supports and covered by cross vaults. The mihrab is decorated with coloured marble and painted ceramic tiles. The pulpit is made of marble and the sermon stand is notable for its woodwork and penwork (painted intricate geometric designs).

The lofty minaret balcony is covered with an "umbrella" roof and has decorative muqarnas beneath it (muqarnas: a type of corbel used as a decorative device in traditional Islamic architecture). The sundial on the base of the minaret is the only example of its kind in the area.
In 2008, the general directorate for foundations carried out the construction of the minaret, landscaping of the surrounding, and renovation of the nearby shops.

The Sirvani Mosque

The epigraph on the portal shows that the mosque is repaired in 1861 by Seyyid Mehmet Sirvani.  During the renovation, a water tank with a fountain was added to the courtyard and the toilets placed under the ground floor.  It is also called the Sirvani Mehmet Mosque and the “mosque with two minaret galleries” by the locals.

It’s located near the Gaziantep castle just below the statue of a man on a horse, at one of the city’s oldest districts signifying that the mosque is one of the oldest buildings in the city.  It is thought to have been first built as a Mevlevi semahane – where dervishes performs spiritual whirling dance.  

Built between 14th and 15th centuries during Durkadirli or Mamluk’s dynasty.  The design of the mosque is square with a domed mihrab front.  The minbar is of fine wood carving.

It’s the first mosque in the city with two galleries on its minaret reached through two separate spiral stairs inside the minaret.

Address: Seferpasa Mahallesi.

The Tahtani Mosque

The date and the person who commissioned the construction of Tahtani Mosque are unknown but it is registered in a document dated 1557.  The mosque was repaired in 1563 by the Osman Pasha, the governor of Maras, and a major renovations was done in 1804.  Thought to have been originally built from woods as the name Tahtani or Tahtali (wooden) suggests.

The area in front of the Mihrab is domed and the other areas are covered with cross vaults.  The design of the mihrab is semi-circular made from red marble, and its interior is decorated with trefoil arched niches.  The marble minbar is decorated with star, rosette with geometric shapes.

The prayer portico has 4 pillars connected by arches.

The Tahtani Mosque is located near the castle among the bazaars and bedestans of Gaziantep.

Address: Şekeroğlu Mh., Gumruk Cad.

The Alauddevle Mosque

This mosque was built during the reign of the last Dulkaderoglu Bey – Alauddevle Bozkurt Bey – between 1479 – 1550.  Only the minaret remains from the original mosque.  The present mosque was built between 1903 – 1909 gathered from voluntary donations from locals and Sultan Abdulhamid.

The architect Armenak and the master builder Kirkor, were supported during construction period by the locals from the city’s 32 districts.  It’s also known locally as Ali Dola Mosque, a derivative of Aluddevle.

While influences from Mamluk art can be seen on the minaret, the mosque is rich in decorative design.  The entrance façade is enlivened by rows of black and white stones and on the other elevations.  The interior of the arched Mihrab is decorated with carving of flowers and hexagons. 

The Karagoz Mosque

This mosque was built by Koca Battal in the 18th century, according to maintenance records, the mosque was built in 1799-1800.

The cut-stone mosque is rectangular in design, divided into 2 sections, each running parallel to the kiblah (in Mecca).  Although only one of these sections survive at present time as the other section was reclaimed as a road.  The 3 cross vaults over the main area remain, but the portal, the mihrab and the praying portico lost their intrinsic qualities during renovations.  The fluted shaft of the cut stone minaret sits on the main body of the mosque.  Under the “muqarnas” (a type of corbel used as a decorative device in traditional Islamic architecture), there are decorative rosette and palmate motifs and ceramic plates.

A maintenance work was done in 2007 by the General Directorate of Foundations.

Address: Karagöz Mahallesi.

The Nuri Mehmet Pasha Mosque

This mosque is very near the hotel I was staying at (Ugurlu Hotel) and located within a very busy commercial district.

As evidenced by Judicial Register and a firman (Ottoman royal decree), this mosque was built prior to 1786 by Nuret Mehmet Pasha.  Two epigraphs on the minaret and mihrab show dates of 1785 and 1834. 

During the war of independence, the entire minaret and the domes of the praying portico were destroyed, and was repaired in 1954 by the Ministry of Education and was used as a museum until 1969.

The new minaret was constructed in 1975 next to the mosque.  The mosque consist of 2 sections each parallel to the kiblah (Mecca’s direction).  The portal is decorated with black and white stones.   Just as some other mosques in the city, the area in front of the Mihrab is domed but the other areas are covered with cross vaults.  The portico is also domed.  There is a large courtyard at the northern end with a “hazira” (tombs within an enclosure of a mosque).  The tomb of Nuret Mehmet Pasha lies within this hazira.

The mosque was restored by the General Directorate of Foundations in 2008.

Address:  Çukur Mh., Ismail Say Sok.


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