İzmir, the city of indulgence, has hosted many different cultures and religions over the years. Here in İzmir, the possibility of finding structures from different religions very close to each other or hearing the sounds of azan and bells at the same time is very high.
In the center of İzmir, there are many mosques dating back to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. There are also smaller prayer rooms called mescids serving to those who would like to pray, as well as mosques, most of which reflect the Ottoman period architecture.
Hisar Mosque, Şadırvan Mosque, Kestanepazarı Mosque, Başdurak Mosque, Kemeraltı Mosque, Yalı Mosque, Salepçioğlu Mosque, Damlacık Mosque, Odunkapılızade Mosque, Tradesman Sheikh Mosque, Naturzade Mosque, Çorakkapı Mosque, and Asmalımescit Mosque are among the mosques that can be seen in the city center.
Also, there are plenty of churches that can be used for prayers in the city center and districts. Saint Polycarp Church, Aya Fotini Church, St. Vukolos Church Culture Center are among the churches that can be visited in the city center. The Virgin Mary House that is very important for Christians and declared as the "place of pilgrimage" at Selçuk, "Double Churches," which is the first church built for Virgin Mary, Bazilika, which is built for Jesus' favorite apostle, St. John, Seven Sleepers Cave, and three of seven churches built in Anatolia make Izmir an attractive location in terms of faith tourism.
In İzmir, there are many synagogues dating back to the 16th century which are very important for Jews. Synagogues in İzmir are mostly located in Göztepe, Kemeraltı, and Karşıyaka. Beth Israel Synagogue, Shalom Synagogue, and Algazi Synagogue are among the synagogues that are open for worship in the city center. Appointments are needed to visit the religious structures belonging to Judaism.
Hisar Mosque, which is one of the biggest mosques in İzmir, is located in the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar with its magnificent glory. It was named after the fortress (Hisar in Turkish), which was close to it during the times it was built
Despite all the noise and active life going on outside, the feeling of peace and trust as soon as you step inside the mosque is not, in fact, a coincidence because on the main entrance door of Hisar Mosque, it is written: "Anyone who comes in is safe."
One of the five mosques in Kemeraltı, Şadırvan Mosque is located on the area that was once inland sea coast. Since it was by the sea during the times it was built, it doesn’t have a courtyard. The mosque, which dates back to the end of the 16th century and early 17th century, is known as Şadırvan Mosque due to the fountains (Şadırvan in Turkish) in the yard which are located under and next to it.
Kestanepazarı Mosque (Chestnut Bazaar Mosque)
The mosque, situated in the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar on an area called Kestane Pazarı (Chestnut Bazaar), where there are the spice shops, clothes shops, and grain stores, was built by the son of Emin, Hadji Ahmet Aga in 1663. The mosque used to be by the inland sea coast during the times it was built and it is between the Başdurak and Şadırvan mosques. The mihrab, which was brought from İsa Bey Mosque in Selçuk, is one of the most beautiful mihrabs in İzmir. It has an eight-sided fountain within the Zahireciler Bazaar (Grains Bazaar) where the entrance is found.
Originally named as the Hadji Hüseyin Mosque, this mosque is in Başoturak district in Kemeraltı. Constructed in 1652, Başdurak Mosque has a fevkani form just like Şadırvan and Kestane Bazaar (Chestnut Bazaar) mosques. One floor above the ground floor under which there are shops, there is a bazaar in the mosque's style with its single dome and minaret. The hand-carved ornaments inside the mosque are impressive. The mosque is the only structure in İzmir on which has a Sultan's signature.
Kemeraltı Mosque is the closest one to Konak Square amongst the five that are located on the old inland sea coast. It is also known with the name of the person who had it built, Ahmet Ağa. The structure, which was built in the mid 17th century, has got a single minaret and a single minaret balcony. There is also a madrasa in the courtyard of the mosque, which was built in the same year with the mosque.
Yalı Mosque, a rare work of art located in the Konak Square, is also known as ''Konak Mosque’. The Mosque, which is a symbol of the square like the Clock Tower, was built in the 18th century inside a madrasa that was located in the same place. The Mosque remained at a lower level as the ground level was raised during the Konak Square arrangements. Therefore, you need to take three steps down to enter the building.
The mosque was named after the father of Hadji Ahmet, the son who had it built. It can be reached by passing through the Salepçioğlu Bazaar built in the place of the Big and the Small Salepçioğlu Inns. Opened for worship in 1906, Salepçioğlu Mosque is a magnificent building with rather elegant lines. There is a madrasa downstairs and the mosque is upstairs.
This elegant structure in Damlacık, one of the oldest districts in İzmir, is thought to be built in the early 18th century. It is also thought that some parts of the Asclepios Temple situated in this region are under the bases of the mosque. In an excavation done in 1933, a 270-meters long and two-meters wide base which was thought to be an underground cellar was found under the graveyard next to the mosque. It is thought that a huge part of the burial area of the mosque disappeared in time.
This beautiful structure, located on a downhill in Damlacık that goes down to Konak, was constructed by Odunkapılızade Başağa Hadji Mehmet in the mid 18th century. In the yard of this mosque, which has burnt down several times, there is a small burial area. In the final community area of the mosque, there is a fountain that is known to have been in the same street in 1739.
Esnaf Şeyh Mosque
It is known that the mosque located in Arap Fırını district in Konak was built in the 18th century. The burial area of the mosque is known as the most important burial area among the similar mosques in İzmir.
It is thought that this mosque was built around the second half of the 18th century and early 19th century but it is not known by whom it was built. There is a small burial area in the garden of the mosque. In the courtyard of the mosque, there is a sample of alms stone in which some money was put in for the people in need during the last century in İzmir.
On the marble epitaph of the mosque in Konak built by Kurt Mehmet Pasha, it is written that it was built in 1893. Its extremely high minaret along the street, which is made of red face stone, was built following an order by Sultan Abdülhamid.
The mosque, located in the entrance of Basmane, was built in the mid 18th century by Bostani Mahmut Efendi. Since it was built on a point in one of the exits of the city during the Roman era, it is also known as Taşrakapı (Country door in Turkish) Mosque. The mosque, which is famous for its elegant minaret and dome, deserves to be seen as one of the most beautiful mosques in the city.
The mosque, which is known to be active in the early 19th century, burnt down in 1894 and was rebuilt after the fire. The mosque, some of which was destroyed during the construction works on Eşrefpaşa Street in Konak, still welcomes visitors who are interested in history.
Emir Sultan Tomb
Emir Sultan Tomb in the Pazaryeri District in Basmane is one of the most significant tombs in İzmir. In the burial area of the tomb, several people are buried some of whom are well-known and some are not, including Katipzade family members. Uşakizade Sadık Bey, the grandfather of Atatürk’s wife Latife Hanım, and his wife, the Governor of Aydın Ahmet Esat Pasha, a doctor called Şehri Bey who founded the Poorhouse and Kadi of İzmir, Abdülkadir Pasha, are a few of the people who were buried there.
Charity stone, the stone of the secret benevolent
The people of İzmir, who would like to help poor people clandestinely, carried out their charity in an interesting way in the last century. The stone or marble columns, which are located at the Turkish neighborhoods, mosques, prayer room entrances, and courtyards and carrying the traces of antiquity, were used as charity stones by the caring people of İzmir.
Those who would like to relieve other people clandestinely used to leave the help on the stone that is also called as "fukara" (almsman) or "hidayet" (true path) and those in need of help used to come here and take the aid secretly. Located at the Namazgah district, in the courtyard of the Kurşunlu Mosque, the cylinder charity stone with a hollow in the middle is the living proof of the culture of unmediated solidarity.
Saint Polycarpe Church
One of the oldest structures in İzmir that reached the present day, Saint Polycarpe Church was built in 1630 with private permission from Sultan Suleyman the Magnificient taken by the Capuchins who came to İzmir in the early 17th century. The land of the church was bought by the King of France and was donated to the community. In 1895, the church had a significant restoration and most of the work for the interior decoration was done by S. Raymond Père, who was also the architect of İzmir Clock Tower.
Saint Polycarp and his possible grave at Kadifekale
Saint Polycarp was one of the first disciples of the Apostle and Evangelist Saint John. Saint Polycarp, who came to Ephesus from İzmir, was burned to death by the Romans in 155 AD. Some sources mention that his grave is located at the crest of Kadifekale. The grave that is located at Kadifekale and defined as the tomb of Dede Yusuf by the Turks is assumed to be Saint Polycarp's grave.
Saint Vukolos Church Cultural Center
The Orthodox Greek Church, also called Agia Vukla, was built in 1886. It was opened for worship before the fire in 1922 in the Agia Vukla region in Kapılar district of Basmane. Today the name of the district is changed as Gaziler District. The church in this district was used as Monuments-Attica Museum for some time.
In 1943, it was named İzmir Archaeology Museum and this name was valid until the new museum building in Kültürpark was opened in 1951. Saint Vukolos Church, which was restored by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, has been used as a cultural center that hosting culture and art activities since.
Beth Israel Synagogue
The construction of this synagogue in Karataş started in 1905 but could not be completed until 1907. The building’s architecture is influenced by the Italian style. Located on the main street and opened out to the street, the synagogue is the first example of the church-style planning in İzmir. It has managed to preserve until today. Inside the synagogue, the interior of which is quite spectacular, wedding ceremonies are organized.
Built by the Algazi Family in 1724, this structure is the biggest synagogue after the Beth Israel Synagogue. The difference of this synagogue than the others is that it does not contain a separate section for women, which is called Azara. This structure also affected by the fire of 1841 like other places in the Kemeraltı and has been restored many times. Today, it is in good condition but not open for worship.
Sabbatai Sevi House
The house, in which Sabbatai Sevi, an important cleric for Jews born in 1626, is assumed to have lived, is located within the Agora Open Air Museum today. An important destination for the faith tourism in İzmir, it can be seen clearly when you travel from İkiçeşmelik to Mezarlıkbaşı.
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