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Tesvikiye Mosque Nisantasi

Tesvikiye Mosque Nisantasi
Tesvikiye Mosque can be found at the south-eastern end of Tesvikiye Road in Nisantasi and it was built in 1853 on the site of a previous mosque that had become ruined.  It has a single small dome, one minaret, an elegant central portico and in the courtyard are two original ‘target stones’ both elaborately inscribed in Ottoman.  One dates from the reign of Sultan Selim III (1789-1807) and the other from the reign of Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839).  

The mosque is connected to a rather strange episode in history when Sabbetai Tsvi (1629-1676), a Jew from Smyrna ( modern Izmir ), declared himself to be the Messiah and was quickly persuaded by the authorities to withdraw his claim and convert to Islam and then he was promptly expelled to Thessaloniki.  His followers were called “Dönme (Converts)” and during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923 the Dönme came to Turkey and many of them settled in Teşvikiye and became known as “Selanikliler (people from Thessaloniki)“. Later the Sabbatians underwent their own split and as a consequence two schools were founded here, one for each of the two communities.  

Opposite across the road is the impressive seven storey Teşvikiye Palas Apartments, at the junction of Cami Street there is a sebil that now houses a café, and nearby is the memorial to R. Hüsrev Gerede (1886-1962) who was an MP, diplomat and national hero.  He was described by Ataturk as “a friend for hard times” and was with him when he landed in Samsun to launch the Turkish War of Independence.

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