Kalenderhane Camii - Mosque, Istanbul

6 Reviews

16 Mart Sehitleri Caddesi, Vezneciler, Eminonu
  • Plan of the mosque
    Plan of the mosque
    by traveloturc
  • Kalenderhane Camii - Mosque
    by leics
  • Kalenderhane Camii - Mosque
    by leics

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Another ancient church-turned-mosque

    by leics Written Oct 12, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Kalenderhane mosque is in Vefa district, not too far from Suleymaniye mosque and the Lalei-University tram stop.

    The site was originally Roman baths but in the 500s a small single-halled church was built there with its rear wall set against the aqueduct of Valens. Two other churches were later built on or near that site. What you can see today probably dates from the late 1100s.

    The church was originally part of a monastery though all those buildings have long disappeared, destroyed during the Ottoman period. Originally a Byzantine/Eastern Orthodox church when the Crusaders took Constantinople it became a Roman Catholic church and then, in 1453 under Ottoman control, the building was given to the Kalenderi dervishes for their use. There was a medresse (school) and a public kitchen but it wasn't until the mid-1700s that the building actually became a mosque...though it was still called 'Kalenderhane' (house of the Kalenderi).

    The very friendly guardian (who has no English) will guide you around the interior, pointing out the remaining beautiful marbles, the few little bits of other Byzantine decoration which remain and other parts which he considers of interest (even if you don't!).

    I don't know if it's normal practice for this mosque (it may well be, as there are permanent picnic tables) but the guardian insisted I sat outside and enjoyed a cup of cay. I enjoyed the mostly-sign-language conversation I had with two Turkish gentlemen already seated there, discovering that one was an ardent Chelsea football supporter and the other had 3 cousins in Exeter. :-)

    Kalenderhane mosque is well worth visiting if you are in the area (possibly on your way to or from the Aqueduct of Valens), if only to see its lovely marble panels.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

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  • Askla's Profile Photo

    The Kalenderhane Mosque.

    by Askla Written Oct 7, 2015

    Situated at the eastern-most standing part of the Aqueduct of Valens we find the Kalenderhane Mosque. This edifice once was a Byzantine church converted into a mosque by Mehmet II (Fatih) under the name Kalendar Hane since it was used as a convent (tekke) by the Kalender dervishes. It was built in the late 12th century.
    Excavations under and to the north of the church have revealed a whole series of earlier structures on the site. The earliest is the remains of a Roman bath from the turn ofthe 4th century. This was followed by a basilica in the middle of the 6th century built up against the Valens' Aqueduct and using its arches as the north aisle of the basilica. To the south of this another church was built. Parts of this was incorporated in the present building. Since they were pre-iconoclastic they were painted, together with the most sensational discovery made during the archeological study of the building: a fresco cycle of the life of St. Francis of Assisi in a small side chapel. This was painted during the Latin occupation of the city, and probably around 1250, making it the earliest cycle of his life anywhere in the world, created just ~25 years after his death in 1226. These paintings, together with a late Byzantine mosaic, have all been removed and can now be seen in the Archeological Museum.

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  • traveloturc's Profile Photo

    Kalenderhane Mosque

    by traveloturc Written Jun 5, 2013

    It is assumed that this structure was built as a church between 9th AD and 12th AD. After several centuries from conquer, it was turned into a mosque.
    Fatih Sultan Mehmet gave this structure to a dervish in Ottoman army, his name was ‘Kalender’ and then the structure was called ‘Kalenderhane’.
    In the 18th century the church, which was turned into a mosque by order of Maktul Beşir Ağa , was also used as a monastery. It was firstly turned into a Turkish bath, then a church and a small Islamic monastery.
    In the collapse period of the Ottoman Empire, Kalenderhane Mosque became almost an abandoned structure. After seven years of the proclamation of the republic, it had a strike of lightning and became highly ruined. In the year of 1966 after a 6-year-amendment, the mosque was opened to worship.
    In the last quarter of 20th century, Kalenderhane Mosque hosted an excavation work carried out by the cooperation of Harvard University and Istanbul Technical University. The mosque had brick and stone walls which have faithful ornaments. If you do not visit Kalenderhane Mosque in Istanbul tour, be sure that you will miss a lot of things.

    Kalenderhane Mosque Plan of the mosque

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  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Kalenderhane Camii (Mosque)

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Feb 23, 2009

    This interesting mosque, formerly a Byzantine church, is in the Vefa neighbourhood and abutting the south side of the eastern portion of the Aqueduct of Valens. It is just west of Beyazit and the Istanbul University. The current structure was apparently built by the Comnenos dynsaty in the 12th century but on the site of a much earlier bath hous and an older church. Like many churches in the city, the building was turned into a Catholic church when the westerners took the city in the 4th Crusade, converted back to an Orthodox church when the Byzantines retook the city, and then converted into a mosque. Specifically, it was given to the Kalender dervishes from whom it takes its current name.

    The inside still has the striking panels of different colourred marble and other stone lining much of the interior walls.

    Kalenderhane Camii Kalenderhane Camii Kalenderhane Camii Kalenderhane Camii Kalenderhane Camii
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    • Religious Travel
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  • neodue's Profile Photo

    Theotokos Kyriotissa Church (KALENDERHANE CAMII)

    by neodue Written May 20, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This another amazing Byzantine Church in Istanbul.It s desapread between Istanbul University Buildings but still you can see it s unique Architecture.

    You can see the some part of the building demolished and basic contruction still remaning on the gorund.

    The church has been converted a mosque but stil you can feel and see it s been build as a orthodox church.

    It s very clean and nice but still you can feel that some of the part of the church renovated or demolished very badly.

    Marble plated walls are very impressive also you can see the Muslim Mihrab showing the Kibla
    Must see and non touristy places.


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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Kalenderhane Camii

    by MM212 Updated Oct 10, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of many Byzantine churches converted into mosques after the conquest of the Ottomans, Kalenderhane Mosque is thought to have been the Church of the Kyriotissa Monastery (the monastery is no longer existent). It dates from the 11th century, but incorporates remains of older churches built as early as the 5th century AD. Restorations and excavations in the 1960s revealed the identity of the church, which had been forgotten over time and was thought to be a different church. The conversion of the church into a mosque by the Ottomans makes the interior particularly interesting, combining Islamic motifs with Byzantine designs (see photos). For a period in its past, this church was also consecrated by the Crusaders as a Catholic church.

    Kalenderhane Camii - Aug 04 Byzantine Kalenderhane Camii - Aug 04 Byzantine columns - Aug 04 Interior & Dome - Aug 04 Another photo of the interior - Aug 04
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