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Gebze: Çoban Mustafa Paşa mosque

Çoban Mustafa Paşa mosque in Gebze (some 40 kilometers east of Istanbul across the Bosporus).

I had asked advice about Sinan mosques I had overlooked or neglected so far, and this was purportedly one of them. However, from an article by Heba Nayel Barakat which I found on the web (“Further observations on the Çoban Mustafa Paşa mosque at Gebze”) I understand that it must be doubted if this mosque, with its strong Mamluk influences, was by Sinan. After visiting it I agree with its author, in that I think there is a fair chance part of the complex (the “külliye”) was by Sinan, but that the mosque and its marble decorations was by a Husam Kalfa, who used the polychromed marble that had been ordered by Çoban Mustafa Paşa during his (short, six months) stay in Cairo as Viceroy for that purpose, that is: use in the mosque.

The same articles states Sinan probably designed, at a later stage, after Kalfa had designed the mosque, the main entrance and the surrounding wall as well as a neighboring bath: caravansaray, türbe, medrese, hans and “their masterly arrangement”.

Whoever designed it: the mosque is a joy. I first visited during Ramadan on a day when, for reasons I do not know, prayers and Koran recitation lasted much longer than I was used to. I had been in the mosque for a few minutes when someone started a conversation. After some five or ten minutes that ended, but almost immediately the imam started a service. I decided to leave the mosque, take pictures of the complex, and return after half an hour, when I expected the service to be over. It was not: the mosque was filled to the brim by men listening to a recitation that I later took to be the Koran. Which went on and on. After another hour I gave up: I had to travel back to Istanbul which would take at least two hours, and there was no end to the recitation in sight. Half a year later I did return to the mosque and managed a few more pictures of its fascinating interior with its polychromed marble.
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