Saturday, October 12, 2013

A visit to Rustem Pasha . . .

Courtyard, Rustem Pasha (Camp 2004)
As we explored Istanbul, we read of a tiny Ottoman mosque built in 1561, now just above the Strawmat Makers Market.

We walked through the market, planning to return after our visit, found the stairs leading up to the mosque, and suddenly, we were above the bustle of the market in a tiny courtyard, just big enough to walk back and forth, but a courtyard nevertheless with a sense of peace.

Open to the public whenever prayers are not scheduled, we found the mosque quite deserted. We spent about an hour there, admiring the architecture and the famous Iznik tiles in this beautiful house of prayer.

Tree of Life, Iznik Tile (Camp 2004)
Everywhere the famous Iznik tiles greeted us, including a large panel of the Tree of Life and another showing the direction of Mecca. Iznik tiles were everywhere -- on walls, columns, and the minbar itself. Note, the minbar is that raised platform from which the iman speaks to the congregation. Here, at Rustem Pasha, the minbar was heavily carved (see below).
Women's Hall for Prayer (Camp 2004)

One of four domes, Rustem Pasha (Camp 2004)

Minbar, Rustem Pasha (Camp 2004)

Floral and geometric designs
of Iznik tile (Camp 2004)

Elephant columns, Rustem Pasha (Camp 2004)
The sharp contrast between the busy market below and this mosque, light-filled and quiet, a place of prayer, was extraordinary.

I discovered that few foreign tourists visit this mosque because it is a little out of the way, near the perhaps more tempting Spice Market. I also discovered that Rustem Pasha, a grand vizir to Suleiman the Great, was beheaded for intrigue, though he was married to a daughter of the sultan. This beautiful mosque was built after his death.

Read more about the Rustem Pasha on Wikipedia and at A Taste of Travel (really fine pictures here of the architecture and tiles).

NOTE: I'm converting pictures from old CDs to the cloud (and on Flickr), but I lost the CD carrier for about a month. What is lost is sometimes found, so these memories can be shared with you. I will be back with more of Istanbul with my next post.


KM Huber said...

Your photographs are amazing, Beth! There are many things I enjoy about these posts, not the least of which is that I get a glimpse of places I would never see, and in seeing, I feel I know just a bit, and that is enough. Thanks so much!

Beth Camp said...

Thank you for visiting and commenting. I think we don't know what we will discover when we go traveling -- whether we explore outer or inner realities. Just now I want to share some of these pictures from a trip that was unforgettable.