Rüstem Pasha Mosque

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The mosque sits atop a high terrace over a complex of vaulted shops whose rents were used to finance & administrate the mosque complex. It now houses a religious school. The honeycomb framed niche or Mihrab indicates the direction of Mecca which Muslims face when praying.

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Rüstem Pasha Mosque is a 16th century  Ottoman structure located at  Hasırcılar Çarşışı (Strawmat Weavers Market) in Fatih District of the city of Istanbul, Turkey. It was dedicated to the memory  of Rüstem Pasha(c.1500-1561)  by his wife Ottoman princess Mihrimah Sultan(1522-1578), who wielded great power in the empire.

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The mosque has double porches which  consist of five domed bays which project a deep, low roof supported by a row of columns. Here is the outer porch with marble floorings and columns.

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Muslims practice  ritual purification or ablution(wudu) before prayers & to observe cleanliness within the mosque, we left our shoes at the racks at the  entrance. We filed passed this inner porch before we got to the central prayer hall( Musallah).

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Rüstem Pasha Mosque is lesser known compared to the  Blue Mosque & Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul but this smallish place of worship contains a large quantity of beautiful Iznik tiles that makes it a gem.

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The interior  is extensively covered in ceramic  Iznik tiles & the Mihrab, the semicircular niche in the  qibla  wall as seen here is elaborately decorated.  The Mihrab  indicates the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca & it is the focal point in  prayer rituals. On the right are steps leading to the Minbar where the Imam stands to deliver sermons or addresses the congregation.

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Rüstem Pasha served as the Grand Vizier of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent from 1544-1553 & 1555-1561. He married  Mihrimah Sultan, the daughter of  Suleiman the Magnificent & his  wife Hürrem Sultan in 1539. This mosque was built between 1561-1563 after Pasha’s death  was designed by Mimar Sinan the genius architect & civil engineer of the Ottoman Empire.

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Sinan only realised his dream late in life when he was appointed Chief Royal Architect when he was about 50 years old. He left a copious amount of works which include 92 mosques, 52 small mosques(mescit), 55 Theological schools(medrese), 7 Koran reciter schools(darülkurra), 20 mausoleums,17 public kitchens, 3 hospitals, 6 aqueducts, 10 bridges, 20 caravanserais, 36 palaces & mansions, 8 vaults & 48 baths.

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The plan of the mosque has some Byzantine  influence;  an octagon inscribed in a rectangle with a large central  dome resting on four semi-domes. Seen here is one of four special octagonal pillars where the arches of the dome rest & the southern gallery on the left.

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Iznik is a town in Anatolia which became the established centre in the last quarter of the 15th century for the production of simple but high quality earthenware pottery & tiles with an underglaze decoration of Cobalt Blue.

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The combination of traditional Ottoman arabesque patterns & the influence of Chinese elements was probably due to the patronage of the Ottoman court in Istanbul who greatly valued Chinese Blue & White porcelain. We see in this tile a Coral or Tomato Red colouring which was derived from an Iron-rich red earth called bole found in Armenia. It produces a slightly raised texture & a brilliant red colouring termed as Iznik Red.

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This gorgeous panel is found on the wall of the Outer porch. There is no representation of humans or fauna in Islamic art as they believe that God alone is the unique creator of all living forms.

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The ancient town of Scardona  has over 2000 years of history & is the gateway to Krka National Park. It is now known as Skradin & since 1968 has become  a protected cultural monument, besides being a popular culinary & yachting destination. Forbes magazine cited how Bill Gates & his family enjoyed  the summer of 2010 exploring this tiny Mediterranean town of Skradin filled with  narrow paved streets, passages & steep  hillsides.

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This is the birthplace of Rüstem Pasha who was of Croatian or Serbian descent. He was taken to Istanbul as a child where he  built his military & bureaucratic career. Skradin  is a small town with a population presently of about 4000 people in the Šibenik-Knin County of Croatia. It  sits at the entrance of Krka National Park near the Krka River & is about 17km from Šibenik & 100km from Split.

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This 391m long concrete arch bridge opened in 2005 is called Krka Bridge. It spans the karst Krka River Canyon & rises over 65m & is situated between the Skradin & Šibenik interchanges in Croatia on the A1 Motorway.

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Beautiful reflections on Prokljan Lake(Prokljansko jezero) in the region of Dalmatia. It covers an area of 11.1sq km & is the 2nd largest lake in the whole of Croatia. This lake is connected to Šibenik Harbour  by a narrow channel & it eventually meets the Adriatic Sea.

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Watching from the rest area south of Krka Bridge, I am mesmerised by this breathtaking sunset as I appreciate the glorious handiwork of my infinite creator.

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