Merkez Efendi Camii (Merkez Efendi Mosque)

The Merkez Efendi Mosque was built in the place where a dervish lodge once stood. The lodge had been built by the architect Sinan in 1517 after being commissioned by Süleyman the Great. After the death of Merkez Efendi the mosque that bears his name was built in his memory between 1552-1572.

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Merkezefendi Mah. Merkezefendi Cad. No:4 Topkapı, Zeytinburnu

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The Merkez Efendi Mosque was built on the site of a dervish lodge which had been commissioned by Süleyman the Great and built by the architect Sinan in 1517. After the death of Merkez Efendi, the mosque that bears his name was built in his memory between 1552-1572.

According to another story, the mosque’s construction began in 1580 and it opened to worshipers in 1582. Restored during the reign of Mahmud II, the mosque still bears many of the features of the original.

Merkez Efendi was famous for his strength as well as for inventing mesir paste and having served as a doctor. Süleyman the Great frequently visited his tomb which is located in the mosque’s courtyard. Next to the tomb is a çilehane built in keeping with the beliefs and traditions of Merkez Efendi’s sect. Merkez Efendi was said to gone here to isolate himself from the world.

Built on a rectangular plan, the mosque is made of stone. Its door and windows were made from round brick arches The tomb of Merkez Efendi and his family, a public fountain, a cistern to supply water to the mosque, and the çilehane are all found in the mosque’s wide courtyard.
The mosque is currently under restoration.

Mosque is a place of worship for Muslims. It comes from the Arabic word 'masjid' which literally means "a place for prostration". Mosques are also places where Muslims come together for different purposes such as education, social gatherings, public meetings, exhibitions, lectures etc. Although there is no specific requirement for mosques in terms of their architecture, one can see some common features inside and outside of many mosques such as minarets, domes, ablution areas, prayer niche (mihrab), pulpit (minbar) and so on.

Muslims are obliged to perform the ritual worship 5 times a day. They are not required to attend a mosque for each of these prayers however in order to interact with the community they are encouraged to pray in congregation. Friday noon is the only time in a week when Muslims must definitely join the congregational prayer in a mosque after which they can continue their work, education or other commitments.

Azan or the call for prayer is a vocal announcement that one can hear from minarets 5 times a day. The call to prayer is made live -even early in the morning- by a person called 'muazzin'. The muazzins are usually chosen from people with loud and beautiful voices and trained over years to make this announcement beautifully and invite people to worship.
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