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History of synagogues    EN


* Assist. Prof., University of Sinop, Sinop, Turkey

The city of Sinop came under the domination of Anatolian Seljuks in 1214 during the rule of Kaykaus I[1] In the following period, many mosques of various sizes were built in the city until the 20th century. Evliya Çelebi, who saw Sinop in the 17th century, said there were six mosques and sixteen masjids (smaller prayer houses) in the city.[2] Inscriptions of mosques provide concise information about their history. The study made by Hüseyin Hilmi (Uluğ) on the inscriptions of the historical sites of Sinop including mosques is extremely valuable.[3] The annual of Kastamonu dated 1903 (1321 in Islamic Hijri calendar )reports the existence of sixty-five mosques and masjids in Sinop.[4] It must be mentioned that this number is very high or it may be that all the bigger and smaller mosques had been included in that number. Short histories of the major mosques which saw the 20th century and have even reached the present time in Sinop are provided below.

The Alaaddin Mosque:

Also known as Cami-i Kebir (the big mosque), it is a big and spectacular mosque with a large courtyard situated just in the middle of the city. It possesses three domes including a big one on its centre and also one each dome on its eastern and western sides. The minaret situated in the middle of the northern wall of the yard of the mosque is climbed by ninety-four steps.[5] It is very likely that the Alaaddin Mosque was built by Atabeg Ayas upon an order by Kayqubad I, the Great Seljuk’s Sultan who died in 1237. It was completely destroyed during the occupation by the Komnenos of Trabzon in 1261, and that it was rebuilt by Mu'in al-Din Sulaiman Parwana on its former foundation in 1268.[6]

Ibn Battuta, who saw the mosque in the 14th century, described a water pool in its middle, a dome standing on four pillars, and a wooden maqsura (private section).[7] It is understood from his descriptions that the structure had practically lost its original appearance due to the repairs it underwent in various periods. The mosque saw a substantial repair in 1385 during the rule of Jandarid Celaleddin Bayezid Bey. The Jandarid Tomb in the north-eastern corner of the courtyard was built during that repair. It is not known when the original minarets of the mosque had been ruined. The minaret in the centre of the northern courtyard wall was added subsequently. It is mentioned in the inscription dated 833 H. (1430) which was placed onto the main door that the mihrab and minbar were built by İsfendiyar Bey.[8]

Evliya Çelebi provided detailed information about the Alaaddin Mosque and praised the solid-looking marble minbar of the mosque.[9] This minbar was ruined when a dome collapsed on it, and some parts of it were taken to the Tiled Kiosk in Istanbul. Then, in 1709 and 1725, the front side of the mihrab, its dome and roof were repaired. The second inscription on the western gate of the courtyard carries the tughra of Abdülmecid I. Dating back to 1267 H. (1851), the inscription gives the end date of the repair that started in 1264 H. (1848). In the restoration that was made by District Governor of Sinop, Tufan Pasha, the mosque was reinforced by masonry. The wooden narthex seated on poles, the women’s lodge and the minbar were also renovated. [10]

The Saray Mosque:

This mosque must have been built in 776 H. (1374/1375) during the rule of Jandarid Celaleddin Bayezid Bey. It is located in the Saray Neighbourhood, south of Sinop. It is made of stone and has a single dome. Until the beginning of the 20th century, there had been an elementary school in the narthex at the northern part of the mosque. The imam and muezzin of the mosque also happened to form the teaching staff of the school. [11] This is worthy of notice as it indicates the importance of mosques in the neighbourhood life of the Ottoman society.[12]

The Fetih Baba Mosque (Masjid):

It was built by Uslu Beyoğlu İsmail Bey in 754 H. (1353/1354). It was repaired by Fetih Baba in 1324 H. (1906/1907).[13] Although it is essentially a masjid rather than a mosque, it is worth mentioning as it is centrally situated in the city and has survived thanks to the repair it underwent. Besides, just like the Alaaddin Mosque, its mibrab is made of marble and the Ayat al-Kursi is carved around it.[14]

The Kefevi Mosque:

The mosque, which is located in the east of the government office in the Kefevi Neighbourhood, was built by Mahmud Kefevi (Kafawi) in the last quarter of the 16th century.[15] It was renovated with repair by District Governor Bekir Pasha in H. 1312 (1894/1895). During this repair, it was concluded that there had previously been a masjid in its place. In the beginning of the 20th century, the mosque was painted and ornamented with artistically inscribed Koranic verses. The burial site situated in the north and east sides of the mosque includes the grave of Mahmud Çelebi el-Kefevi, who died in H. 989 (1581/1582).[16]

The Kaleyazısı Mehmed Agha Mosque:

It is situated on the main road in the marketplace of the Kaleyazısı Neighbourhood. It was built by Mehmed Agha in 1062 H. (1651/1652). The mosque was renovated by repair and a minaret was added with the help of public community in 1326 H. (1908/1909).[17] Because Evliya Çelebi mentions that the mosque had a tile roof and a decent minaret in the 17th century, the first minaret must have been ruined subsequently.[18]

The Meydankapı Mosque:

The builder of the mosque, which is located on the main street of the Meydankapı Neighbourhood, is not known for certain. However, foundation records mention the name Sheikh Ömer Efendi and the date 1135 H. (1722).[19] District Governor Ahmet Kemal Pasha repaired and attributed the mosque in the name of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1293 H. (1876/1877). It is made of ordinary stone and it has a wooden minaret. [20]

The Cezayirli Ali Pasha Mosque:

It is situated next to the Tomb of Seyyid Ibrahim Bilal in the Ada Neighbourhood of Sinop. After mentioning that no information is available about the original construction of the mosque, Hüseyin Hilmi explains that the mosque was repaired by Cezayirli Ali Pasha (Ali Pasha the Algerian) in 1283 H. (1866/1867) and by Abdülhamid II in 1314 H. (1896/1897). Its minaret was built in 1290 H. (1873/1874). [21] Despite the above mentioned information, it is also likely that the mosque was originally built by Cezayirli Ali Pasha himself.[22]

The İskele Mosque:

Located near Sinop’s shipyard, the mosque was rebuilt by a notable Hadji Omer Efendi in 1319 H. (1903/1904). Its place was previously occupied by a wooden mosque named the Ismail Agha Gumruk Mosque. In reference to its latest builder, now the mosque is also called the Hadji Omer Efendi Mosque. Its date of construction is not known although it is related that originally Karpuzcuoglu Mehmed Agha built it.[23]

Other than mosques, numerous masjids, which are smaller places of worship, had been built in Sinop. These places of worship are generally more modest and many of them have not survived.[24] Roots of the culture formed by Turks in Anatolia date back to very old times.[25] With many mosques and masjids built in Sinop, this culture offers some of the concrete images of Islam in this city.

[1] Scott Redford, İktidar İmgeleri Sinop İçkalesindeki 1215 Tarihli Selçuklu Yazıtları, çev. Barış Cezar, Koç Üniversitesi Yayınları, İstanbul, 2014, p. 17.

[2] Evliyâ Çelebi, Günümüz Türkçesiyle Evliyâ Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi: Bursa-Bolu-Trabzon-Erzurum-Azerbaycan-Kafkasya-Kırım-Girit, haz. Yücel Dağlı, Seyit Ali Kahraman, 2nd Book – 1st Volume, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul, 2011, pp. 89-91.

[3] Hüseyin Hilmi (Uluğ), Sinop Kitabeleri, Sinop Matbaası, Rumi 1339 - Hijri 1341 (1923).

[4] Kastamonu Salnamesi, Vilayet Matbaası, Hijri 1321 (1903/1904), pp. 354-355.

[5] Ibid, Hüseyin Hilmi, p. 14.

[6] Deniz Esemenli, “Alâeddin Camii ve Medresesi”, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Ansiklopedisi (DİA), vol. 2, İstanbul, 1989, p. 329.

[7] Ebu Abdullah Muhammed İbn Battûta Tancî, İbn Battûta Seyahatnâmesi, çev. A. Sait Aykut, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul, 2014, p. 307.

[8] Ibid, Esemenli, vol. 2, pp. 328-329.

[9] Ibid, Evliyâ Çelebi, p. 90.

[10] Ibid, Esemenli, vol. 2, p. 329.

[11] Ibid, Hüseyin Hilmi, p. 19.

[12] Ziya Kazıcı, İslâm Medeniyeti ve Müesseseleri Tarihi, M.Ü. İlâhiyat Fakültesi Vakfı Yayınları, İstanbul, 2016, pp. 341-342.

[13] Mehmet Ali Ünal, Osmanlı Devrinde Sinop, Fakülte Kitabevi, Isparta, 2008, p. 310.

[14] Ibid, Hüseyin Hilmi, p. 16.

[15] Sinop Tarihi ve Kültür Envanteri, Koordinatörler: Sinop Valisi Dr. Ahmet Cengiz vd., T.C. Sinop Valiliği İl Kültür ve Turizm Müdürlüğü, Sinop, 2013, p. 40.

[16] Ibid, Hüseyin Hilmi, p. 23.

[17] Ibid, Hüseyin Hilmi, p. 22.

[18] Ibid, Evliyâ Çelebi, p. 90.

[19] Sinop Tarihi ve Kültür Envanteri, p. 27.

[20] Ibid, Hüseyin Hilmi, p. 26.

[21] Ibid, Hüseyin Hilmi, p. 21.

[22] Sinop Tarihi ve Kültür Envanteri, p. 47.

[23] Ibid, Hüseyin Hilmi, p. 27.

[24] Bkz. Ibid, Ünal, pp. 303-312.

[25] Oktay Aslanapa, Türk Sanatı, Remzi Kitabevi, İstanbul, 2005, p. 101.