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The Mosque of Tekeli Mehmet Pasa in Antalya and the Determinations of its Date

The Mosque of Tekeli Mehmet Pasa is an Ottoman work situated behind Clock Tower by the entrance of Antalya’s Old City (Kaleiçi).

The central dome, which rises on a high rim, is supported by three semi domes, one each in the east, west, and south directions, as well as three domes on the northern side. There are tiled panels decorated with ta’liq script on the pointed arch-formed lunettes of the windows on the northern façade of the mosque and inside it.

Neither the builder’s name nor the date of the construction of the mosque is known, though it is known that the structure underwent restoration in 1850 and 1940.

It was thought that the building was built sometime between 1593-1607.

It has been suggested that the building was changed into its present condition in the 17th century by an overall renovation of another that previously stood there, and even the assumption that the person who converted the Mevlevihane into a tekke (dervish lodge) during the 18th century was Tekeli Mehmet Pasa, so the mosque’s current name took effect only after that century. On the other hand, Evliya Çelebi in the 17th century speaks of the mosque as the “The Mosque of Tekeli Mehmet Pasa”. Besides, although there is no mention in the historical records of any person named Tekeli Mehmet Pasa living in the 18th century, it is known that the Melevihane was already converted into a tekke in the 17th century.

In addition to the architectural details being inadequate for dating the building, the present building’s modifications of one that already exited on the site cannot be verified conclusively.

The fact that the name of the Mosque is not encountered in the official records providing information on the historical monuments in Antalya, namely the Registration Log of the Governmental Ottoman Archive dated 1530, and the Finance Ministry’s Ledger of the Governmental Ottoman Archive dated 1606-7, compels one to assume that the Mosque was built after the years 1606-1607.

At which date then must the Mosque under discussion have been constructed?

S.F. Erten, who issued the first reports on the Mosque, has demonstrated by means of information found in the Deed of Trust dated 1649 for the Adem Efendi Pious Foundation that Tekeli Mehmet Pasa was the patron of the Mosque, in addition to having collected further details about this person, according to which data Tekeli Mehmet Pasa was a Sergeant Major serving under Sultan Mehmet III. He promoted to the rank of Chief Armorer in 1595 to 1596, and later was the appointed an Overlord. While he was the Governor of Van, he died there in 1616.

Consequently, it is indicated that the Mosque of Tekeli Mehmet Pasa was built at some time between the years of 1607-7 when the Finance Ministry’s Ledger of the Governmental Ottoman Archive was recorded 1649 when the Deed of Trust for the Adem Efendi Pious Foundation was drawn up. Deducting from the clause of “…the late Tekeli Mehmet Pasa” was found in the Deed of Trust an entry, which implies that a deceased person could not have commissioned the building of any tangible property – the evidence provided shows that the Mosque was constructed between the year 1606 and the year of his death n 1606.

*Dr. Leyla Yılmaz, Ankara Üniversitesi, DTCF, Sanat Tarihi Bölümü - Ankara.

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