This once upmarket part of Istanbul’s inner city can be found east off Ataturk Boulevard and is now the home of poor Eastern Turkish immigrants.We recommend you stop for refreshments at the charming little Vefa Bozacisi on Katip Çelebi Caddessi No. 102; here they serve ‘boza’ a drink made from fermented barley and have been serving clients since 1876. In a glass case on the wall you can see a preserved mug that Ataturk used when he made a visit there. In summer they serve ‘şıra’ which is a refreshing drink made from raisins.
Place to Visit in Vefa
Vefa Church MosqueVefa Kilise Mosque (Church Mosque) on Molla Şemsettin Camii Sokak was once known as Church of St. Theodore and believed to date between the 10th and 12th centuries and has marble pieces from an earlier Byzantine building. The 14th century narthex has frescoes inside the domes that look very much like those in the Chora Church.
Vefa High SchoolOn Dedeefendi Caddesi is the Vefa High School, built in 1872 and is now housed inside an excellent example of 1920s First National Architecture that was designed by Kemeleddin Bey In the grounds is the multi-domed Şehid Ali Paşa Library founded in 1715 although its books have been moved to the Süleymaniye Library.
Vefa MosqueThe modern Vefa Mosque is on Vefa Caddesi Road and was built on the site of a 15th century structure and in the grounds here is the tomb of Şeyh Muslihiddin Vefa, a holy man from the late 15th century who had a large and faithful following. There is also a ‘çilhane’ a cell in which a holy man would fast in seclusion.
Atif Efendi LibraryFurther up the road on the left is the Atif Efendi Library which was the second such building to be founded in Istanbul in 1741-2 and once housed a collection of over 25,000 manuscripts inside its attractive complex that also had accommodation for its staff.
Things to do in Vefa
Getting to VefaFrom Eminonu take Bus Nos. 336E and 78 and from Taksim Bus Nos. 69A and 46H running to Unkapani alight there and walk uphill along Atatürk Boulevard and you will find Vefa on the left side and Zeyrek on the right side.
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