Zeyrek Mosque

During the 12th century, the Byzantine Empress Irene and Emperor John II Kommenos commissioned the Pantocrator, a three-church monastic complex, to serve as the dynastic mausoleum for themselves and later Byzantine emperors. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Palaeiologan emperors were also buried in the multi-domed structure in the heart of what is now the old city of Istanbul.
After the Ottoman conquest in 1453, the buildings were converted to a Medresse (Koranic school) and subsequently to a mosque. One part of the Zeyrek Camii is still used for Muslim worship. But the building is situated in a poor neighborhood of immigrants who have little historical and cultural attachment to it. The impressive structure has been allowed to deteriorate in the past. Because the structure remains relatively stable, the most immediate actions required are to secure it from further damage from the weather. Restoration work is on its way but funding is still needed to complete re-roofing, replace all the windows, repair damaged walls, and consolidate interior surfaces.

Zeyrek Mosque is selected as 100 most endangered sites of the world by World Monuments Fund.

In Fatih district at Zeyrek on badethane Street overlooking the Golden Horn, this building, used as a mosque today, was originally the Church of the Pantokrator Monastery bulit by Eirene, the wife of loannes II Kommenos and was one of the largest monasteries of stanbul. Construction was completed in 1136. During the Latin invasion it was seized by Roman Catholic priests.

After the Ottoman conquest of 1453 Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror had the monastry changed to a Islamic school and the church to a mosque. The first teacher was Molla Zeyrek Mehmed Efendi, the school and mosque taking his name.

It underwent serious repairs at the end of the 18th century. Having been in disrepair for many years, restoration work was started in 1966. There are three buildings all adjacent to each other. The roof is made up of five domes with a single gallery minaret. During restoration work the original floor was discovered and represents one of the best and rarest examples of the craftmanship of the 12th century.

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