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Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque

Cihannüma Mh., Beşiktaş, Istanbul

An easy, five-minute walk from the main square in Beşiktaş. Follow the road up the hill past the Conrad Hotel, a useful place for taxis if you want to continue to Yıldız Park after visiting the palace.


Commissioned by Sultan Abdülhamid II, this mosque was constructed between 1884 and 1886 by the imperial architect Sarkis Balyan. As of late 2013, the mosque has been undergoing renovations.

The little-visited mosque is a curious combination of Moorish interior, Neo-Gothic façade and classical Ottoman plan, with strong overtones of European Orientalism evident in the architecture of the Wilhelma Palace in Stuttgart, inspired above all by the Alhambra in Andalusia – the arches supporting the wooden dome in this mosque also resemble the Alhambra’s lobed arches, and the strong red, yellow and blue colours of the walls were deemed appropriate for the style by the arbiter of Orientalist taste, Owen Jones, author of The Grammar of Orientalism. The dome is painted a deep indigo blue and dotted with seemingly golden stars, a reference to the name of the palace, yıldız (star). Abdülhamid II erected a bronze colonnade in the Marjeh Square in Damascus, which bears a replica statue of the Yıldız Mosque on the top. Note the clocktower bearing his tuğra – the politics of time were not to be taken lightly. In the imperial lodge adjoining the mosque is a splendid white porcelain stove made at the Yıldız Porcelain Factory. The mosque is the subject of an article by Özge Yıldız in Cornucopia 52.


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