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Kocamustafapasa Mosque and Sumbul Efendi Tomb

Kocamustafapasa Mosque and Sumbul Efendi Tomb
This interesting mosque can be found at the very end of Kocamustafapasa Road next to a 19th century mansion that houses a primary school and is the centrepiece of an important religious complex.

Church of St. Andrew of Crete

The Church of St. Andrew of Crete built in the 13th century that originally stood here was converted in 1486 to a mosque by Sultan Selim I’s Grand Vizier Koca Mustafa Pasa and pillars you see here were incorporated into capitals taken from a 6th century church believed to have also stood here.  

Converting to Kocamustafa Pasa Mosque

Recent renovations have removed all the church’s original traces but the outer and inner narthexes, domed nave and apse are unmistakeable. When the conversion was made to a mosque, the church was rotated 90 degrees and what was the south aisle is now the mihrab and mimber.

Sumbul Efendi Tomb

After a disagreement between Mustafa Pasa and the Sultan,
Selim wanted to demolish the building and this was stopped by the intervention of Sumbul Sinan (1451-1529) the branch leader of the Halveti Dervish Sect who had a lodge (tekke) attached to the mosque. Upon Sümbül’s death his tomb became a centre of pilgrimage particularly for women in search of a husband.  Sümbül means hyacinth in Turkish and these flowers can be seen painted on the ceiling of his tomb. The tomb is housed in much later building and in its entrance is the tomb of Serasker Riza Pasa (1848-1917) that is surrounded by a baroque rotunda with a fez carved at the top.

Safiye Sultan Tomb

In the grounds of the mosque there is a tomb believed to contain Safiye Sultan (1550-1619) who was the mother of Sultan Mehmed III, and an open sided tomb that has the bodies of the Cifte Sultanlar.  

Byzantine Princess Katherine Tomb

The modest tomb of the Byzantine Princess Katherine, who converted to Islam at Sıdıka Hatun, is at the front of the mosque. The complex also has a library with a teahouse within it, a school for the Koran and just outside the walls is a hamam.

Legend of the Chained Cypress Tree

In the grounds of the mosque and next to the tomb of two princesses there is a cypress tree.  Legend says after the burial of the Prophet Hüseyin’s daughter’s, the Prophet Jabir planted the tree and to ensure it would never lose its leaves he wrapped a chain around it. According to folk lore the chain would be swung between two people who had contradictory arguments and the person it touched would be the one speaking the truth, therefore local people would go to the tree rather than seek the advice of a judge.  It is also said if the chain should ever break it would be the end of the world.  Fortunately the chain remains inside the small round building surrounding the tree.

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