SINAN’S ISTANBUL: TOMB OF BARBAROSSA HAYREDDIN PASHA Built by Mimar Sinan in 1541-42, the tomb of Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, undoubtedly the greatest figure of the Ottoman-Turkish maritime history, is located at the Iskele Square in Beşiktaş. The building, which is the first tomb structure built by Sinan, has a plain exterior.

The octagonal-planned tomb is built with face stone. In front of the door, there is a portico standing on two pillars with a mirror vault on top. This vault structure sits on marble diamond-headed pillars and pointed arches. The dome rises on an octagonal low base. The subtleness of the exterior that continues inside the tomb gives it a tranquil nature.

Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, whose real name was Hızır, is thought to be born in 1478. Until he accepted the Ottoman Empire's patronage, Barbarossa had pirated in the Mediterranean with his brother Oruç Reis, gradually increasing the number of vessels in his fleet and controlling various settlements in the Mediterranean. He then conquered Algeria and was recognized as the conqueror of Algeria by the Ottoman sultan Selim I. In 1534, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent named him as the grand admiral of the Ottoman navy.

Among the countless victories of Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, who spent most of his life in the seas until his death in 1546, the most important is the Battle of Preveza in 1538. In the Battle of Preveza, which is regarded as one of the greatest naval battles in history, the Ottoman navy under the command of Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha faced with the Crusader fleet under the command of the Genoese admiral Andrea Doria.

When the battle was over, 13 vessels were submerged and 36 vessels were seized from the Crusader fleet of 600 vessels, built with the support of the Pope and the call of Venice to break the increasing influence of the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean. The 120-ship Ottoman navy won the war with a definite victory without losing a single ship. After the Battle of Preveza, Ottoman Empire's dominance in the Mediterranean continued until 1570's.

Following his death, Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha became a legendary figure among the Ottoman seamen, and his tomb became a sacred site. Before an expedition the Ottoman navy would gather in front of the tomb and would sail to the sea after a ceremony held there.