Eski Cami (Old Mosque) in Edirne

Eski Cami (Old Mosque) in Edirne

Eski Cami (Turkish phrase for The Old Mosque) is an ancient monumental structure which succeeded to reach today from the Ottomans in Edirne, who once made the city their capital before Istanbul. It is one of the most important of the Grand Mosques built in the 15th century. Eski Cami is also known as the first original abridged structure that reached our time in Edirne. The mosque is also thought to symbolize the greatness of the Ottoman Empire. It was built in 1403 by the order of Sultan Süleyman I and the structure was completed in 1414 during the reign of Mehmet II, also known as Çelebi Sultan Mehmet. The architect of The Old Mosque is Konyalı Hacı Alaaddin and the master-builder is Omer İbn İbrahim.

Under the classification of the Early Period Mosques, The Old Mosque is in the group of multi-unit or multi-domed mosques. The mosque has a total of nine domes on four walls with four domes carrying the central dome. The mosque has a square structure plan with a side length of 13 meters. The dome is in the form of a half-dome, and the sides are in the pendant with side noses. Tromps of the middle dome are filled with mukarnas. Crown Gate (Taç Kapı), the last community entrance and minbar are made of white marble. The North and the West are more ornamented. Adorned badges around the arch at the entrance to the last community entrance were renovated when the mosque undertook a major repair.

The mosque is located in the center of Edirne, just about 200 to the great Selimiye Mosque and another 200 meters to the pedestrian area in the center.

Eski Cami Edirne

Eski Cami Edirne (Front)

Before moving on to further details about Eski Cami, you may also want to read about the city of Edirne and another Ottoman masterpiece within the borders of the city:

1. Edirne Turkey: An Informative Guide

2. Selimiye Mosque: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Edirne

3. Edirne Palace: The Ottoman Palace in Edirne

4. The Complex of Sultan Bayezid II Health Museum, Edirne

5. Selimiye Arasta (Covered Bazaar)

The interior gives a spacious appearance to the structure with only four pillars. With this feature, it forms a new phase in terms of the unification of the place in Ottoman architecture. Baroque ornamentations on the sides of the pillar and the walls, weaken the effect of “space” in the mosque. The most important part of the decoration is the minbar.

The inscription on the door has the name of Mehmet II. The eastern and western surfaces are decorated with star figures. The Old Mosque has five arched last community entrance and two minarets each of which has two “şerefes” (Doors). The mosque was seriously damaged by fire in 1748 and by an earthquake in 1752. Eski Cami was restored in 1754 during the period of Mahmud I, and twice more in 1924 and 1934.

The preaching platform is not used by the imams of Eski Cami since it is believed the Hacı Bayram Veli, a Turkish sufi, once preach there and they show their respect to Veli by honoring the spot that he once preached.

Also, the Kaaba Stone, which is said to have been brought from the Kaaba in Medina and is located to the right of the mihrab, is a special visiting place. There is a belief in the way that two rak’ah prayers in the presence of this stone are accepted as twice the number. The Old Mosque is known as one of the four places where prayers are accepted by Allah in Edirne.

The “gird-on ceremonies” of two Ottoman Sultans, Ahmed II and Mustafa II took place in Eski Cami.

Interior of Old Mosque Edirne

Interior of Old Mosque Edirne

The Period when The Old Mosque was Build – The Ottoman Interregnum

The period when the Old Mosque was built is an interesting period in terms of Ottoman History. Without mentioning this period, which is directly related to the construction process of the mosque, the words to say about the Old Mosque remain floating in the air. This period is also important in terms of Edirne’s history. For the city, the Ottoman Interregnum is the period which marked its being the capital of the Ottoman Empire. As a result of the construction of many mosques, bridges, bedestens (Ottoman style markets), Edirne became a true Ottoman-Turkish city.

Preaching with a Sword in Hand

On the sacred day of Islam, that is Friday, it is common for many muslims to go to the mosques, listen to the preaching and pray. In the Old Mosque of Edirne, one tradition, which is 600 years old marks the sacred Friday with an Ottoman touch. On that day, as in several Anatolian cities, the imam of a grand mosque like the Old Mosque typically holds a sword in his hand during the sermon.

Eski Cami Edirne

Eski Cami Edirne

In the old days, when the Ottoman Empire was expanding, many critical decisions were taken in mosques and also some sultans mentioned above performed their “gird-on rituals” in mosques. To commemorate this, the tradition has not been broken for 600 years to our day. The imams typically hold the swords in their left hands because the right hand, which is “the right hand” according to Islam, should be kept away from weapons in the house of Allah.

As a conclusion, Eski Cami is a mosque that should not be skipped once you are in Edirne, with an age over 600 years but still being in almost perfect condition. Being home to a longitude of history and Ottoman-Turkish Islamic culture, the structure is definitely worth a visit! If you’ve already finished Edirne, Greece and Bulgaria are only minutes away from Edirne! Don’t forget to have a look at our Travel Tips for Greece and Driving Tips for Bulgaria articles!

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Eski Cami (The Old Mosque) in Edirne
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Eski Cami (The Old Mosque) in Edirne
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Eski Cami (The Old Mosque) in Edirne
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