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Arap Camii

Arap Cami Mh., Perşembepazarı, Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Quite tricky to find, though only a five-minute walk from Karaköy tramstop and the lower end of the Tünel underground (which links Karaköy to İstiklal Caddesi). Walk up through Perşembepazar, away from the Galata Bridge, and take a right after passing the grand Ottoman caravanaserais on your left. You can see the old belltower from the main street.

Historically a Roman Catholic church built by the friars of the Dominican Order in 1325, it was converted into a mosque by the Ottomans between 1475 and 1478. It was initially called the Galata Mosque, but towards the end of the 15th century Sultan Bayezid II assigned the building to the Muslims of Spain who fled the Spanish Inquisition and migrated to Istanbul and so since then it has been known as the Arap Camii (Arab Mosque).

Although the structure was altered during the Ottoman period, it is the only remaining example of religious Gothic architecture in Istanbul. The Gothic-style portal, lancet windows and the bell tower, which was transformed into a minaret by adding a conical roof, distinguished the building from other Byzantine churches in the city. Recently, the mosque underwent extensive restorations, which were completed in 2013.

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