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Kebir Jami (Cami)

A two-minute stroll from the city centre, very close to the Hotel Europa.

A tidy, whitewashed mosque, thought to have been built in 1508, but rebuilt after a fire in the 18th century. It was enlarged in the early 1900s, and is now thoroughly renovated after a century of neglect. Since the Crimean Tatars have been allowed to return to their homeland in the 1990s after their enforced exodus in 1944, it has served as the centre of Muslim worship. The quarter predates the Russian annexation in 1783.

According one dedication stone, the mosque was built ‘for the Glory of the Mightiness of the Khan Sultan- Mengli-Girey Abdurakhmann-bin-Ali, may Allah forgive all sins of himself and his children in the month of Muharram in the year of nine hundred and fourteen’*. Mengli Giray, sixth son of Hacı Giray, who broke with the Golden Horde to found of the Crimean Khanate in 1441–42, was captured by the Ottomans at the fall of Genoese Keffa on the south coast. Held a captive in Istanbul for two years, he returned in 1477 to his capital at Bahçesary as khan and vassal. In 1502, he went on to destroy Saray, capital of the Golden Horde, which since the time of Genghis Khan had held sway over the steppes of western Asia.

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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