Rüstem Paşa Camii

( Rüstem Pasha Mosque )

The Rüstem Pasha Mosque (Turkish: Rüstem Paşa Camii) is an Ottoman mosque located in the Hasırcılar Çarşısı (Strawmat Weavers Market) in the Tahtakale neighborhood of the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey, near the Spice Bazaar. Named after Rüstem Pasha, who served as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Suleiman I, it was designed by the Ottoman imperial architect Mimar Sinan and completed in around 1563.

The mosque is noted for the many different designs of İznik tiles that cover almost every vertical surface both in the interior and under the entrance porch.

Rüstem Pasha

The Rüstem Pasha Mosque was designed by Ottoman imperial architect Mimar Sinan for the Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha. Rüstem Pasha was the husband of Mihrimah Sultan, one of the daughters of Suleiman the Magnificent by Hurrem Sultan, and served as Grand Vizier (a role comparable to a European prime minister) from 1544 to 1553 and from 1555 to 1561.[1][2]

Rüstem Pasha commissioned a number of important buildings, including religious schools, mosques, and other structures. Before his death in 1561, he hoped to construct a final mosque of his own in Istanbul — in part to repair his controversial legacy — though the extent to which he had outlined his intentions for the eponymous mosque remains ambiguous.[3][4]

Sultan Suleiman I authorized the project in 1562 after the Grand Vizier's death. It was assigned to the Ottoman's chief architect, Mimar Sinan.[5] The Rüstem Pasha Mosque is unique among Sinan's many mosques for the lavishly decorated, tiled interior. Rüstem Pasha may have ordered the mosque's characteristic İznik tiles in order to support court designer Kara Memi, who was known for elegant floral designs.[3]

Dating the mosque

Efforts to precisely date the Rüstem Pasha Mosque have proved difficult, in part because of the lack of a foundation inscription. Michael D. Willis’ analysis of its İznik tiles suggest that they date to 1555.[6] Other sources suggest that some of them could have been crafted after Rüstem Pasha's death in 1561.[7] More recent analyses of primary sources has determined that the mosque was probably built between 1561 and 1563. Plans for the mosque were only set in motion beginning in 1561, and deeds for the purchase of land date to 1562. One water deed implies that the mosque was incomplete in December 1562, so the mosque was likely only operational by late 1563.[8][4]


The Rüstem Pasha Mosque was originally designed as a Friday mosque, as reflected in Suleiman's ferman (his imperial command ordering construction of the mosque).[4] More recently, it was used for film storage.[9] In 2021 it reopened for worship after extensive restoration.

^ Casale, Giancarlo (2006). "The Ottoman Administration of the Spice Trade in the Sixteenth-Century Red Sea and Persian Gulf". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. 49 (2): 170–198. doi:10.1163/156852006777502081. ISSN 0022-4995. JSTOR 25165138. ^ Kawtharani, Wajih (2018). "The Ottoman Tanzimat and the Constitution". AlMuntaqa. 1 (1): 51–65. doi:10.31430/almuntaqa.1.1.0051. ISSN 2616-8073. JSTOR 10.31430/almuntaqa.1.1.0051. ^ a b "Vice and Virtue: The Rustem Pasha Mosque as a Master Tribute". mediakron.bc.edu. Retrieved 2021-05-01. ^ a b c Schick, Leslie Meral (1990). "A Note on the Dating of the Mosque of Rüstem Paṣa in İstanbul". Artibus Asiae. 50 (3/4): 285–288. doi:10.2307/3250073. ISSN 0004-3648. JSTOR 3250073. ^ Necipoğlu 2005, p. 321. ^ Willis, Michael D. (1987). "Tiles from the Mosque of Rüstem Paşa in İstanbul". Artibus Asiae. 48 (3/4): 278–284. doi:10.2307/3249874. ISSN 0004-3648. JSTOR 3249874. ^ Rogers, J. M. (1982). "The State and the Arts in Ottoman Turkey Part 1. The Stones of Suleymaniye". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 14 (1): 71–86. doi:10.1017/S0020743800026593. ISSN 0020-7438. JSTOR 163335. ^ Necipoğlu 2005, pp. 321–323. ^ Altinyildiz, Nur (2007). "The Architectural Heritage of Istanbul and the Ideology of Preservation". Muqarnas. 24: 281–305. doi:10.1163/22118993-90000120. ISSN 0732-2992. JSTOR 25482464.
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