Mehmed the Conqueror seems to have chosen the location of the Twelve Apostles (Hagioi Apostoloi) Church, which was highly valued by Byzantium, in the middle of the city for these mosques and complex buildings built in his name. This election, apart from showing that a new belief was dominant here, also left the stamp of Turkishness and Islam on the silhouette of Istanbul, since it was built on a hill of the city. In addition, a unique arrangement has been designed here in terms of urbanism. As all the buildings were placed according to a perfect symmetry, the complex with the mosque in the middle formed the most important religious and cultural center of Istanbul.
There were madrasas on both sides of the mosque, a tabhane on one side, a hospital on the other, a bazaar and a hammam further on. However, the Fatih Mosque and Kulliye, which is the center of the reconstruction of the Turkified Istanbul according to a new civilization understanding, has not been preserved together with all its elements until today. Some elements disappeared completely, as well as some of them in the XIX. Since the end of the century, new buildings have been built and the unique arrangement of the kulliye has been disrupted.
Mosque. When the patriarch, who could not stay in this Twelve Apostles Church, which was in a very dilapidated state while it was allocated to the Orthodox patriarch right after the conquest, wanted to move to another place in 1455, Fatih Sultan Mehmed donated another church to him and allocated this place to a kulliye that he would have built in his name. The construction that started here in 867 Cemâziyelâhir (March 1463) lasted until 875 Rajab (December 1470). The claim made by the Wallachian Voivode Dimitrie Cantemir (d. 1723) that this complex was built by a Greek architect named Khristodulos is baseless, and as a result of the research, it was understood that the architect who built the Fatih Mosque and Complex was Atik Sinan. In addition, it should be taken into account that XV. This Selatin mosque and complex, which was built in the 16th century, was created in accordance with Turkish architectural traditions and as a part of its natural development. There are no traces of Byzantine art in this complex. Certainly, as in the Süleymaniye Complex, the manual labor of the Byzantine masters among the workers was used.
The complex structures are a link in the architectural development of the Turkish Selatin mosques between the Üç Şerefeli Mosque in Edirne and the Beyazıt and Süleymaniye mosques. There is no kinship in the buildings with the late Byzantine architecture, and the plan of the mosque, which is the center of the complex, points to a phase of the natural development of Turkish architecture. Building activity in Byzantium, approximately XIV. Since it has almost completely stopped since the middle of the century and no large-scale religious buildings were built, it is not possible to believe that a Christian architect with superior talent and knowledge of Turkish construction art could suddenly emerge after the conquest.
A German architect and architectural historian named K. Wulzinger, in an article he published in 1933, put forward a strange opinion and wanted to place the Fatih Mosque on the foundations of the Church of the Apostles, whose exact dimensions and plan are unknown, and made some drawings on this path. The view, which lacked a solid basis, was severely criticized by Ali Saim Ülgen and Halim Baki Kunter (1938). In fact, since the directions of the old church and the mosque are not the same, it is impossible to make use of its walls.
There is information about Fatih Mosque and Complex in various foundation charters arranged regarding the charitable facilities of Fatih Sultan Mehmed in Istanbul. These foundation charters in Arabic and Turkish were published by Tahsin Öz (1935), General Directorate of Foundations (1938) and Osman Nuri Ergin (1945). It is known that Architect Ayaş, whose masjid and tomb that he had built in his name in Saraçhanebaşı were removed during the demolition of 1956-1958, was one of the architects of the Fatih period and it is also estimated that he would have worked in the construction of the Fatih Mosque. It is known that the dome of the Fatih Mosque was damaged in the great earthquake that occurred in 1509, called the “small apocalypse”, and even the capitals of the columns were shattered and the dome was damaged. Although the mosque, which was damaged again in the earthquakes of 1557 and 1754, was repaired, it could not withstand the earthquake of 1766, its great dome completely collapsed and its walls were destroyed beyond repair. Sultan III. By appointing Hâşim Ali Bey as the building trustee, Mustafa had the tomb and complex buildings built first, and the construction of the Fatih Mosque in the same place according to a new plan was started on 4 Rebîülevvel 1181 (July 31, 1767), first by Sarım İbrâhim Efendi and later by İzzet Mehmed. The mosque was opened to worship in Muharram of 1185 (April 1771) under the supervision of the Bey.
Although today’s Fatih Mosque is very different from the first, there are traces and ruins reminding the old one in some parts. Also, in the XIX. The minarets, which had a single balcony until the 19th century, were increased in height by adding a balcony in this century, and at the end of the same century (probably after the earthquake of 1894) they were renewed by making stone cones, but in 1966-1967 they were turned into lead-covered wood again. The stone cones were preserved by re-establishing them in an intermediate courtyard in the Foundations Turkish Construction and Art Works Museum in the Amcazade Hüseyin Pasha Complex . It is understood from the old paintings that the first Fatih Mosque had a large dome in the middle, a semi-dome on the mihrab side, and three lower sections with three smaller domes on each side. The shape of the former has been almost certainly determined by Mehmet Ağaoğlu, Ali Saim Ülgen, Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi and Robert Anhegger, although some details have not yet been fully agreed upon. In addition, it has been determined that some of the marbles used on the courtyard floor with their embroidered faces reversed are parts of the Church of the Apostles. The exterior view and plan of the first Fatih Mosque, during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, in the XVI century. Painted by the painter Lorichs (Lorck) from Flensburg in Istanbul in the middle of the century, the 11 m. It can be seen in the long Istanbul panorama and an old waterway map. The first Fatih Mosque was identified with its view from the Galata ridge and Hagia Sophia in the wood-carving engravings of the Flemish-born painter Pieter Coeck van Aalst, who came to Istanbul in the early years of Suleiman the Magnificent and drew two pictures of the city from different angles. According to them, the mosque had a narthex that followed an inner courtyard surrounded by porticoes. A large dome in the middle covered the main space, which was entered through a portal with a stalactite crown. There were smaller rooms with domes on both sides of this space. The mihrab of the mosque, on the other hand, was in an overflowing section that was half the size of the middle space. The top of this section was covered with a half dome. The first Fatih Mosque was similar in plan to the Atik Ali Pasha Mosque near Çemberlitaş, which was built shortly after him, on a much larger scale. In addition, a similar structure scheme in Konya II. It was also repeated in Selimiye Mosque, which was built by Selim. At the beginning of the ruins that have survived from the first Fatih Mosque is the old outer courtyard gate. Above this, there is a crown part decorated with colored stones in inlay technique. The lectern gate wall and the two minarets adjoining it at the corners, the lectern, the shoes, and even the beginnings of their bodies are from the first Fatih Mosque. According to Süheyl Ünver, the sundial engraved on the stone on the first lectern is XV. It is a memoir of the famous scholar of the 19th century, Ali Kuşçu. A pair of tile panels adorning the two window pediments seen in the inner courtyard are also from the first Fatih Mosque. Completely XV. Basmale is written in one of these tiles, which has the feature of the century, and a part of Âyetü’l-kürsî is written on the other, among which only XV. The yellow color seen in the tile decorations of the 19th century was used. Considering these ruins, it can be said that the interior of the first Fatih Mosque was also covered with tiles.
After the earthquake of 1766, III. Constructed by Mustafa, today’s Fatih Mosque was built in a completely different order. The northern wall, which follows the courtyard and separates the last congregation place, remained from the first mosque. There is an inscription in two lines written in Ali Sofî calligraphy, which remains from the first building, above the portal . The main space (harim) of the mosque was built according to a main dome system supported by four semi-domes, in the same order that was previously practiced in the Şehzade, Sultan Ahmed and Yeni Valide mosques. This cover, supported by four arches, is mounted on four middle pillars. Although the whole of the Second Fatih Mosque conforms to the old Turkish classical architecture, the half-round corner chamfers of the piers, especially the stepped profiled moldings separating the arch and the beginning of the semi-dome, XVIII. It has the characteristics of the baroque style that dominated Turkish art in the second half of the century. The hand-carved embroideries covering the interior surfaces of the mosque are also in baroque style. However, the second Fatih Mosque does not differ from the classical style works in terms of its general appearance on the Istanbul silhouette. In addition, by staying away from the heavy baroque appearance of the Nuruosmaniye Mosque, which was built before it, it is more close to the Ottoman period Turkish classical style.