Arab Mosque in a Turkish city: Istanbul
Arab Mosque in a Turkish city: Istanbul
What about visiting a very old and historical mosque in Istanbul that rarerly mentioned on touristic books and city guides?

Located in the Galata district of Istanbul on Tersane Avenue and Galata Mahkemesi Street, the Arab Mosque is the greatest mosque of the Galata side, and there is no specific information detailing when and by whom the mosque was built. Although there are legends saying that the mosque was built by Arabs surrounding Istanbul, the thesis describing the presence of a church named Mesa Domeniko situated on the mosque’s current foundation during the Byzantine period which was later converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet II, is stronger.

After the church had been converted into a mosque, the mosque was called the Galata Mosque. Later, when the Andalusian Arabs, who had been expulsed from Spain into Istanbul in 1492, settled around the mosque, it was called Arab Mosque. The tradition which affirms that a mosque was built on this site during the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople in 717–18 by the Umayyad prince and general Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik is a later, Ottoman-era legend.



Ottoman chroniclers also confused the second Arab siege with the first Arab siege a generation before, and placed the construction of the mosque to around 686. After the Galata fire in 1731, Saliha Sultan, the mother of Mahmut I (1730-1754), had the mosque repaired during the reign of Sultan Mehmed III (1566 – 1603).

Despite the fire in 1807, the building was renovated again, and a short history of the mosque was inscribed on a stone tablet by Hacı Emin Efendi (a secretary member of the Imperial Council) and was placed on the wall beside the niche.

After these renovations were completed, the mosque also underwent a large scale renovation in 1868 and in 1913. As for the fountain that exists today, it was added to the mosque after the renovations in 1868. This historical mosque was built on a rectangular plan in Gothic style architecture. As for the minaret of the mosque, with its extraordinary lines, reaches toward the sky on the site of the bell tower of the old church.  

How to get there?

Address: Galata Mahkemesi Sk No:13, Arap Cami Mh. Beyoğlu
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