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Sheikh Zafir’s mausoleum

Cihannüma Mh., Beşiktaş, Istanbul

Built by D’Aronco in 1905 in Art Nouveau style for the Libyan Sufi Sheikh Zafir al-Madani, who was Abdülhamid II’s spiritual guide. Abdülhamid attended lessons with the Sheikh in disguise in Unkapani before he became sultan and then asked the Sheikh to return to Istanbul after his ascension to the throne. Throughout their 30 year friendship until the Sheikh passed away in 1903, the Sheikh was Abdülhamid’s close religious and political confidant.

The Ertuğrul Tekke Mosque on the same complex was also dedicated to the Sheikh, and also features a tekke, a guest house, a fountain and a library. The Sheikh’s two brothers replaced Zafir as the sheikhs of the tekke after his death and when they passed way, they too were buried in the same türbe.

In Cornucopia 46, Paolo Girardelli describes D’Aronco’s work in Istanbul in his article ‘D’Aronco: Architect to the New Society’.

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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