Commissioned by Zeynep Asıme Sultan, the daughter of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III, this tiny mosque looks as though it is yet another Byzantine church converted into a mosque. This is not the case, for it was built from scratch in 1769 by the architect Mehmet Tahir Ağa, in an entirely Byzantine style. It is located between Hagia Sophia and Gülhane Park. When I visited on a snowy day in January 2010, the mosque was closed.
This mosque is located on the road that leads downhill from the Hagia Sophia to the Sirkeci train station, across the road from the main entrance into Gulhane Park. It was built in 1769 by Ayazma Mosque's architect Mehmet Tahir Aga for Sultan Ahmed III's daughter Zeynep Asime Sultan. It evokes Byzantine churches because of its architectural style and materials that were used in its construction.
The Zeynep Sultan Camii was built as a tribute by the Sultan Ahmed III for his daughter Zeynep and thus dates from the 1760s, the end of the Ottoman heyday and the beginning of the long decline towards the eventual collapse of the Empire. As with many other mosques built in Istanbul, this particular structure borrows many elements from the Byzantine churches in the city, including both the materials that were used (notice the dark stone and the bichromatic theme) and the design, especially the use of low domes. The fountain out front is not, in fact, part of the mosque's original structure, as it was relocated here in the 1920s from Ahmed I's külliye in Eminönü.
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