A Missing Royal Mosque in Istanbul that Islamized a Catholic Space: The Galata New Mosque

In: Muqarnas Online
Muzaffer Özgüleş Faculty of Architecture, Gaziantep University

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In the midst of the turbulent years following the Battle of Vienna, Gülnuş Valide Sultan’s Galata New Mosque replaced the San Francesco Convent, which had been the principal Catholic shrine of Galata in Istanbul. This mosque was intentionally built on the site of the church in 1696 in order to reshape the religious and demographic character of Galata, and was probably a compensation for the recent disastrous Ottoman military defeats. It appears that economic and social constraints shaped the architecture of the mosque, which was extraordinarily modest despite being a royal mosque. The Galata New Mosque later fell into ruin, and was finally replaced by a hardware market in mid-twentieth century. Drawing on hitherto unused Ottoman archival documents, rare photographs, and other primary sources, this article sheds new light on the history and architecture of a long forgotten royal mosque. I investigate reasons for the unusual architecture of the Galata New Mosque, compare it with contemporary structures, and discuss possible factors that motivated the appropriation of a Catholic space.

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