SINAN’S ISTANBUL: HADIM IBRAHİM PASHA MOSQUEIn his "Seyahatname" (travel book), the great Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi says the following about Hadım Ibrahim Pasha and his mosque: "He was the vizier of Sultan Süleyman. After he had retired he built a spiritual one-floor mosque inside Silivrikapı, which seems like a kiosk in heaven. Embroidered with high trees, the inner garden is a shady gathering place for the educated. It is a highly artful, tranquil and decorated mosque."
Located in Silivrikapı district, the Hadım (Eunuch) Ibrahim Pasha Mosque was built by Architect Sinan for Hadım Ibrahim Pasha, a vizier of the Sultan Süleyman (d. 1566) era. When completed in 1551, the complex that included the mosque had also a hammam, children’s school, fountain and a tomb. However, the hammam and the children’s school could not reach our time.
Ibrahim Pasha, who came to Istanbul as a devshirme and educated in the Enderun (palace school), rose from a palace official to a vizier. In 1562, he married Fatma Sultan, the youngest sibling of Sultan Süleyman. Ibrahim Pasha passed away in 1563. His tomb is placed in the courtyard of the mosque.
There are strong similarities between the Hadım Ibrahim Pasha Mosque and the Bali Pasha Mosque, in terms of their plans and designs. In her seminal book "The Age of Sinan", Gülru Necipoğlu states that Sinan either completed or extensively renovated the Bali Pasha Mosque: "Whatever the context the construction process might be, the Bali Pasha Mosque was taken as a model for the Hadım Ibrahim Pasha Mosque."
The Hadım Ibrahim Pasha Mosque, which sits on a square plan, is covered with a dome about 12 meters in diameter. The dome is supported by oyster-shaped arches in four corners. The mosque draws attention with its doors, which are among the most authentic examples of Ottoman classic woodwork, and especially with its tiles decorated with abstract floral designs.
While building the Hadım Ibrahim Pasha Mosque, Sinan was breaking ground for his masterpiece, the Süleymaniye Mosque. It is unlikely to compare the two mosques from any point of view, but no matter how drastic the differences between them are, the attention Sinan gives to the characteristics of both works is enough to understand the grace and the scope of Sinan's genius.