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In Cihangir, at the point where Sıraselviler Avenue and Defterdar Hill meet, Firuzaga Mosque stands on the corner of a small square carries the same name and welcomes us with modesty.


The Turkish word for mosque, cami, comes from Arabic and means that which gathers, as in gathers a community. The cami is a temple with at least on minaret on the outside and a mimbar [pulpit-like stucture] inside where Muslims spend their time in prayer, especially on Fridays and religious festivities. In the past, buildings containing a mimbar were denoted as “cami” whereas those that didn’t where called “masjid”. This was due to the lack of a mimbar did not allow for Friday sermons and players. In Turkish-Islamic tradition the basic structure in the formation of a new neighborhood was the masjid. Even though some neighborhoods may have more than one masjid, the biggest and oldest one is generally the one that gives the name to the neighborhood. Most masjids nowadays do have mimbars in them, all of which were inserted later, some of them even hundred and fifty years later after their construction.


Even though many masjids are called mosques today, their wooden roofs, and lack of mimbars in the initial contruction technically qaulify them as masjids. The Firuzağa Cami in reality is one of these.


The Firuzaga Masjid


The Masjid, of which we have scarce historical information between Sıraselviler Avenue and Defterdar slope in Cihangir. J. von Hammer’s German traslation of an Ottoman document titled Hadikatül’l Cevami informs us that the founder’s son died 1640-41. Today, the masjids door posts a sing bearing the dates of 1490-91. At such early dates there were very few structures here, so it seems unlikely that a masjid would have been built here so early.


On March ı, 1823, after a fire took place in Cihangir, the masjid was destroyed. Shortly after