One of the most impressive of the Ottoman mosques, the Beyazit Mosque was the second large imperial mosque complex to be built in Istanbul after the conquest of the city. It was erected over the ruins of the Forum of Tauri built by Byzantine Emperor Theodosius and remnants of the Forum were used in the courtyard pavement and the pillars of the ablutions fountain. Completed in 1506, the complex also included a madrassah, primary school, public kitchen and Turkish bath.
The mosque was commissioned by Sultan Beyazit II and made entirely of stone, using colored stone and marble taken from nearby Byzantine ruins. The courtyard features 20 columns made of porphyry, verd antique and granite, and 24 small domes. The interior is modeled after that of the Aya Sophia, with a central dome supported by large rectangular piers, semi-domes to the east and west forming naves and side aisles extending to the north and south.
In the small garden behind the mosque, you can find the tombs of Sultan Beyazit II, his daughter and Grand Vizier Koca Mustafa Resid Pasha. Below the garden is an arcade of shops that was completely renovated in 1960.
The Beyazit Mosque stands in Beyazit Square next to Istanbul University and not far from the Grand Bazaar. It is easily accessible by taking the tram to Beyazit stop or by walking from other major sights in the tourist heart area of Sultanahmet. The mosque is open from dawn to dusk and admission is free. Visitors should dress conservatively and remove their shoes before entering.
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