Davud Pasa Complex
Istanbul, Türkiye
The complex was built by Dervis Davud Pasa (d. 1498) - who was the governor-general (beylerbeyi) of the Anatolian provinces under Mehmed II (1451-1481) and then the grand-vizier of Bayezid II (1481-1512), and finally he became a devotional hermit (dervis). Davud Pasa had a large endowment (waqf) including commercial properties in the Turkish cities of Istanbul, Edirne, Bursa, Yenisehir, and Beypazari; Skopje, Bitola (Manastir) in Macedonia; Varna in Bulgaria; Aetos (Aydos) in Greece. These properties provided income for the management and maintenance of his complex in Istanbul among other public works.

Located in the residential quarter named after Davud Pasa, the complex consists of a mosque, madrasa (medrese) and soup kitchen (imaret). The mosque is composed of a five bay domed porch preceding a large prayer hall under a single dome, flanked by two convent rooms on either side. The mosque is oriented 38 degrees east of south. The main portal, marked by a rise of the portico cornice, is set into the portico façade and crowned by a semi umbrella vault. The foundation plaque above the entry is composed in Arabic and gives the completion date of 1485-86 (890 A.H.). Entering the prayer hall, the space of the interior is dominated by the large dome and its colossal squinches, adorned with stalactites that cascade down the four corners of the main space. The qibla wall projects beyond the flanking spaces on the exterior and is further distinguished with a polygonal mihrab apse that is capped with a semi-dome below the cornice line. The four convent rooms, each covered with a dome, have doors into the prayer hall. The southern rooms, equipped with fireplaces and shelves, can also be entered via the semi-enclosed northern rooms, which open to the exterior with arched entryways. The windowpanes and doors of the mosque are contemporary, while the minber is known to date from the rule of Mahmud II. Painted decoration of the period, consisting of arabesques, depictions of trees and Koranic inscriptions, were discovered on walls during the 1945-48 renovation, recorded and plastered over. The mosque has a single minaret with a rectangular base on the western corner; its shaft was rebuilt after the 1766 earthquake.

The Davud Pasa complex was damaged by earthquakes in 1648 and 1766 and burnt in the 1782, shortly after its restoration by royal architects. The portico collapsed in the 1894 earthquake. A major renovation by Ekrem Hakki Ayverdi between 1945-48 restored the missing columns to the portico and rebuilt its domes and the mihrab apse. The walls were also reinforced at this time, by refilling gaps in the wall structure that were caused by rotting, disintegrating wooden planks. A later renovation was performed by the General Directorate of Religious Endowments (Vakiflar Genel Müdürlügü) in the 1960s. Most recently, a new ablution fountain was built on the foundation of the original.

The Madrasa

The madrasa is located to the northeast, across the street from the mosque. It is composed of sixteen rooms and a domed arcade enclosing three sides of a square courtyard, and a wall with windows on the fourth, where the entrance is located. The foundation plaque above the entry is composed in Arabic and gives the date of completion, 1499-1500 (905 A.H.) There is a large domed classroom with mihrab located at the center of the northern wing, across the courtyard from the entrance. The individual rooms all have a fireplace and shelves. The arcade, which has partially collapsed due to earthquakes, has columns and capitals recycled from Byzantine monuments. The madrasa remains in dilapidated state, with homes and retail attached to its exterior walls.

The Mausoleum

The mausoleum, located to the left of the mosque, is composed of a single octagonal room with an entry porch to the northeast. The foundation plaque, framed by a Bursa arch above the entrance, gives the date of completion 1499-1500 (A.H. 905). The door is of the period. Inside, the marble sarcophagus of Davud Pasa occupies the center, with his steward (kethüda) buried to his side. The interior is lit by two windows on each façade, the lower framed by a varied Bursa arch and the upper honeycomb carved windows.

Koranic School, Soup Kitchen and Fountain

The Koranic School (mekteb) was taken down following damage in earthquakes. Its site behind the mosque is now occupied by a Middle School. The soup kitchen, similarly, is non-extant. A fountain outside the precinct wall, dating back to 1485, is the oldest in the city with a foundation plaque.


Dünden Bugüne Istanbul Ansiklopedisi. 1993. Istanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfi. Volume 3, 7-8

Ayverdi, Ekrem Hakki. 1973. Osmanli mi'marisinde Fatih devri : 855-886 (1451-1481): III. Baha Matbaasi: Istanbul, 327-337.

Goodwin, Godfrey. 1997 (reprint of 1971). A History of Ottoman Architecture. Thames and Hudson: London, 115.

Hafiz Hüseyin Ayvansarayi. 2000. The Garden of the Mosques: Hafiz Hafiz Hüseyin al-Ayvansarayi's guide to the Muslim monuments of Ottoman Istanbul (translated and annotated by Howard Crane). Brill:Leiden; Boston, 117-8

Kuran, Aptullah. 1968. The mosque in early Ottoman architecture. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 52-53

Öz, Tahsin. Istanbul Camileri. 1987. Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi: Ankara. Volume 1, 44-45
On Aga Baba Street off Hekimoglu Ali Pasa Avenue, Davutpasa neighborhood of Fatih District, Istanbul, Türkiye
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Davud Pasa Külliyesi
Davut Pasa Complex
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