Loading, please wait.

Our third excursion (in the second semester of 2023-2024)


Dear students, dear members of the faculty (if interested)

My greetings to all of you!

I send you this message as the academic advisor of the History and Archeology Club at Ibn Haldun University. We are now planning the third excursion of this semester. On 11 May at 11.00 am inshallah, we will begin our visit of historical Istanbul at Edebiyat Fakültesi, easily reached by the Underground/Metro (station İstanbul Üniversitesi). The event will end at about 2 or 2.30 pm: it all depends on our energy! 

We begin our stroll with the Hamam Müzesi next to the university buildings. The hamam of Bayezid II (r. 1481-1512) was the largest public bath of Istanbul. We will have to find out whether the museum is open; it happens quite often that a site which we would have liked to visit happens to be closed; but as there are always alternatives available, we will never get bored!

Our second stop will be the Kalenderhane Camii, a mid-Byzantine church that became a mosque and for a while may have hosted non-Sunni dervishes (kalender). We then follow Şehzadebaşı Street, and if it is open, we will visit the foundation of Grand Vizier Damad İbrahim Paşa (d. 1730). Unfortunately the shopping street (arasta) that should have financed the enterprise has long disappeared. We continue our walk to the Şehzade mosque, which was Sultan Süleyman’s first major commission to Mimar Sinan. Given the size and elaboration of the complex, scholars have suggested that the sultan had intended this structure as his own mosque, but changed his mind when his son Prince Mehmed suddenly died. The tilework of Prince Mehmed’s mausoleum is extraordinary; hopefully the guard will let us see it.  

We will then cross the boulevard and take a look at the Bozdoğan Kemeri or Aqueduct of Valens. The handsome medrese of Gazanfer Ağa, a dignitary of the court of Mehmed III (r. 1595-1603) is immediately adjacent. Probably we will not be able to enter: it was different when the building housed a public museum. But who knows, perhaps we’ll be lucky! After that we will stop at the Zeyrek Ağa mosque, which started life as a triple church where Byzantine emperors were buried; it has recently been restored. There used to be a nice coffee house in the neighborhood; if it has survived the pandemic that will a good place for some refreshment (“Çaylar şirketten”). We will then cross the boulevard again and conclude our stroll at the Şebsefa mosque with its rather elaborate school building. A court lady of the years around 1800, Şebsefa earned a place in the history of Ottoman education by specifying in her vakfiyye that she wanted the school to be open to girls as well.  

Take care and see you on Saturday 11 May!

Greetings and good wishes,