Eski Camii

This is one of the earliest Ottoman mosques in Turkey (completed in 1414 under Mehmet I). It is located east of the square, On Talatpasa Street just past the still functioning Bedesten Bazaar. It’s interesting because Edirne is on the European side, but was conquered before Constantinople, which fell in 1453.

The construction of the Old Mosque of Edirne began in 1402 by order of Emir Suleyman and was completed under the rule of his brother Mehmed I in 1414. The inscriptive plaque above its western portal gives the name of the architect, Haji Alaeddin of Konya and the builder, Omer bin Ibrahim. Built as a Friday Mosque in the market neighborhood of Edirne, the mosque took on its current name following the completion of the new Üç Serefeli Mosque in 1447. The Old Mosque was restored by Mahmud I in 1753 following damage by earthquake and by fire a few years earlier. More recently, the mosque was restored between 1924 and 1934 and in 1965 after the 1953 earthquake.

The mosque is composed of a square prayer hall, 49.5 meters per side, preceded by a five bay portico to the north. The prayer hall is divided into nine equal bays -three rows of three- by the four large piers at the center that support heavy pointed arches carrying the nine domes. The center bay of the northernmost row serves as the court of entry behind the main entrance and is crowned with a lantern above the oculus of its dome. Domes along the longitudinal axis are raised on octagonal drums; the transition to dome, achieved with simple pendentives on the six other domes. The central bay of portico, similarly, is highlighted with a dome and raised cornice among the cross-vaulted side bays. A marble door frame, bearing the inscriptive plaque of the 1753 restoration, occupies the central arch. The row of faucets covered with canopy outside the portico are a contemporary addition.

The interior of the mosque is adorned with painted decoration and large works of calligraphy dating from the second half of the 19th century. The stone mihrab and mimber remain despite damage by fire. The mihrab is unique with its small muqarnas niche placed inside the primary niche. Calligraphic decoration is also employed on the northern façade flanking the marble frame of the muqarnas portal. The fall of terrain west is compensated with a cascade of steps leading up to the western portal, known as the Kuyumcular Kapisi or the Jewelers’ Portal, ornamented with red and white voussoirs on its double arch. The mosque originally had a single minaret rising from the northeast corner of the prayer hall with steps beginning inside the eastern portal. A taller minaret was added outside the northwest corner by Murad II. The construction of the building is cut stone with the exception of the porch, added in brick and stone at a later time.