Safa Camii
Diyarbakır, Turkey
Safi Camii is a mosque located in the northwestern quarter of the old walled city of Diyarbakır, just north of the axial east-west street leading from Urfa Gate to the center of the old town. The mosque's original construction is thought to date to the reign of Aq Qoyunlu ruler Uzun Hasan (r. 1452-1478/856-882 AH), but renovations occurred in 1531/938 AH, at which time the minaret was constructed. The mosque's local name, İparlı Cami or Parlı Cami, from Ipariyye or Ipari, refers to the fabled musk-scented fragrance of the mosque's walls, into which the perfumed material is said to have been mixed at the time of construction.1 

The mosque is situated on a paved forecourt with a fountain. It takes the form of a domed rectangle fronted by a five-bay portico on its north side, which adjoins this forecourt. The dome rests on an octagonal drum and is covered on the outside by a pyramidal roof, today shingled with red tiles. The minaret rises from a square plinth just to the east of the portico on the mosque's north side. A stepped extension of the portico on its east side connects the minaret's to the rest of the building, resulting in an asymmetrical front. The building's facade and portico are dressed with alternating courses of black basalt and white limestone masonry. Between the arches of the portico are two teardrop shaped medallions and two roundels containing carved decoration. The north side of the minaret's basalt plinth is embellished with an inscription in square kufic in alternating white and black masonry.

Each bay of the mosque's portico is domed. The portal to the interior of the mosque is at the rear of the central bay. In the bays flanking the portal are two shallow mihrabs, and in the outermost bays are two windows.

On the mosque's interior, four thick piers supporting the dome divide the prayer hall into a central domed bay and two side "aisles." The side aisles (east and west) are divided into three bays from north to south by arches that extend from the piers toward the lateral walls. Eight pointed arches make the transition from square base to dome. 

The mihrab is covered by a muqarnas hood within a trefoil arch. An ornate sculptural frame surrounds this arch.

A revetment of deep blue hexagonal tiles runs the perimeter of the prayer hall. 

Notes:

  1. The meaning of this name is explained by Evliya Çelebi in his Siyahatnama. See Martin van Bruinessen and Hendrik Boeschoten, trans. and ed., Evliya Çelebi in Diyarbekir: The Relevant Section of the Seyahatname (Leiden: Brill, 1988), 137. 

Sources:

Sinclair, T. A. Eastern Turkey: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey, 186-187. 4 vols. London: The Pindar Press, 1989.

Location
Diyarbakır, Turkey
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Events
3rd quarter 15th c./9th c. AH
renovated in 1531/937-938 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Safa Camii
Original
Safa Mosque
Translated
Şeyh Safa Camii
Variant
Shaykh Safa Mosque
Translated
İparlı Cami
Variant