Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Camii
Istanbul, Turkey
The Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Mosque is located outside the Byzantine land walls, on the old road to Edirne (Adrinople) across from the historic Topkapi cemetery. It was built by Takkeci Ibrahim Aga (d. 1595), a local craftsman of soft felt dervish caps (takke or arakiye) during the rule of Murad III between 1591-1592. Called Takkeci for short, Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Mosque shares its name with the Takkeci Masjid (Takkeci or Kapiagasi Mescidi) in Üsküdar built by cap-maker Haci Mehmed Aga in the first half of the sixteenth century and the Arakiyeci Masjid (Arakiyeci Mescidi) in Silivrikapi, built by cap-maker Cafer Aga in the seventeenth century.

At the time it was built, the mosque stood in one of the first Ottoman settlements outside the city walls and was used as a tekiyya (tekke) of the Halveti order. A Quranic school (mekteb) and two sabils (sebil) were built near the mosque to serve the needs of the neighborhood and Dervis Pasa added a fountain in 1819. Between 1830-1831, a comprehensive restoration was conducted by the order of Mahmud II. The ban on tekiyyas during the Republican years transformed the functions of the mosque. The mosque was then severed from its neighborhood with the construction of the E-5 highway to the west of the mosque in the 1950s. Its neighborhood to the south and east were wiped away by industrialization; a project is currently underway by the Zeytinburnu Municipality to create an arts and crafts village to the east of the mosque designed by Architect Turgut Cansever. The mosque was partially restored by the Directorate of Religious Foundations in 1985 and is in urgent need of a full-scale restoration.

The mosque is diagonally positioned in a rectangular walled-in precinct that is entered from three gates, with the main gate located across from the Topkapi cemetery to the north. Immediately behind the mosque within precinct walls are a small single-story Quranic school, a well, and an open-sabil with a tall inscriptive plaque. Built of cut stone alternated with double rows of bricks, the mosque is a simple rectangular building wrapped by a tall wooden portico with a zigzag gable roof. Entering the mosque through the portico, an inscription above the simple marble entrance gives the name of the donor and the date of construction. There is a mihrab niche on either side of the entrance and the lower windows of the entry façade have been adorned with Quranic excerpts in their tympana. The door is an example of the interlocked woodwork (kündekari) of the period. A second entrance is located next to the minaret, along the northeastern wall.

Inside, the prayer hall 11.7 meters long and 11.25 meters wide and is crowned by a small wooden dome at its center. The dome, which is 5.5 meters in diameter, is concealed with a hipped roof on the exterior that rises above the portico roof. It is decorated with a band of gilt stalactites at its rim and a calligraphic medallion at its apex painted on deerskin. This dome is a rare example of the few such concealed domes in Istanbul, seen also seventeenth century Amcazade Hüseyin Seaside Mansion and the Twin Kiosks at the Topkapi Palace harem. The interior is lit by twenty-eight windows placed at two levels. The lower windows are casements; they have tiles in their tympana except along the qibla wall where Quranic inscriptions are painted gold on black. The arched upper windows display fine arrangements of white and colored glass and are framed with painted decorations. A wooden balcony (mahfil), raised on wooden pillars, flanks the northwest wall and extends midway along the sidewalls and is used primarily by the muezzin.

The Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Mosque is famous for its sixteenth century Iznik tiles that adorn the walls from the floor to the upper windows. Painted in red, light blue, turquoise and navy blue on a white glazed surface, the tiles are combined into large floral panels. The mihrab niche, crowned with stalactites, is also covered with tiles and is topped with a prayer inscribed on tiles. The minbar, to its right, is carved entirely of marble. The painted decorations on the wooden balcony are rare examples of the wooden paintwork of the period, seen also at the Kiliç Ali Pasa and Ahmet Pasa Mosques.

The mosque has a single minaret attached to the northeast façade, which is accessed from the exterior or from the muezzin's balcony on the inside. Its multifaceted shaft is constructed of cut stone and carries a single stalactite balcony (serefe). The fountain built by Dervis Pasa adjoins the northeast corner of the precinct walls facing the street. Across from it is the second sabil, currently in ruins, with the tombs of Ibrahim Pasa and his son Halil Çavus in the cemetery behind it.

Sources:

Dunden bugune Istanbul ansiklopedisi. Vol. VII, 194-195. Ankara: Kultur Bakanligi ; Istanbul : Tarih Vakfi, 1993.

Goodwin, Godfrey. A History of Ottoman Architecture. 291-292. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Hafiz Hüseyin Al-Ayvansarayi. The Garden of the Mosques: Hafiz Hüseyin Al-Ayvansarayi's Guide to the Muslim Monuments of Ottoman Istanbul. 257. Howard Crane, trans. Leiden; Boston; Köln: Brill, 2000.

Öz, Tahsin. Istanbul camileri / Tahsin Öz. 144. n.p.: Ankara : Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1987-, 1987. Istanbul Camileri. Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi: Ankara I, 1987.

"Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Camii." Zeytinburnu Municipality Website. http://www.zeytinburnu.com.tr/bel_zeytinburnu_en/ilce_gezisi/tarih/tekkeci_ibrahim_aga.cfm. [Accessed February 14, 2007] [unavailable as of 8/14/2013]
Location
At the intersection of Takkeci Camii Street and Topkapi-Davud Pasa Street, Maltepe neighborhood of Zeytinburnu District, Istanbul, Turkey
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Events
1592/1000 AH; 1819/1233 AH Fountain
Style Periods
Ottoman
1299-1922
Variant Names
Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Camii
Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Mosque
Variant
Takkeci Ibrahim Çavus Camii
Variant
Takkeci Ibrahim Cavus Camii
Variant
Aga Camii
Variant
Building Usages
mosque
religious