IOANNINA/ ISLAMIC MONUMENTS
The Mosque of Aslan Pasha
A masterpiece of Islamic religious architecture in an enchanting place. In the period of the Ottoman domination, worshipers from all areas of the empire marked names, dates, souvenirs and poems in Turkish and Persian on the columns, a rare phenomenon encountered only in monuments such as the Parthenon or the Temple of Poseidon at Sounio. It seems that, according to experts, the monument was an important centre of a religious educational foundation. The construction of the mosque is linked to one of the most dramatic moments of the history of the Christians of Ioannina. Following their failed uprising, led by the Bishop of Trikki and Staga, Dionysios Philosophos in 1611, the Ottomans removed the Christians from the Castle and demolished all its churches and monasteries, at the same time abolishing the privileges they had granted to the people of Ioannina in 1430. That was how Byzantine Ioannina was lost. The then commander of the town, Aslan Pasha, who according to some accounts was an Islamicised Christian from Zagori, in 1618 built the mosque bearing his name in the location of the demolished St. Ioannis Prodromos church, which was the source of the marble columns of the mosque. Apart from the Byzantine and Persian influences marking every mosque, (dome, column capitals etc.) the lay architecture of Ioannina is also evident in the large windows of the outer wall of the gallery. The Municipal Museum of the town is housed here (see the relevant section).
*architecture, Islamic, mosque, history, Dionysios Philosophos, Municipal Museum.
Fetihe Mosque (The Mosque of Conquest)
With an imposing simplicity and an austere charm, Fetihe Mosque dominates the northeastern acropolis of the Castle, at a peaceful location with a wonderful view of the lake and the surrounding mountains, ideal for day-dreaming and contemplation. According to the archives of the Ottoman religious court of Ioannina, it was built around 1600 at the location of Ioannina Cathedral, dedicated to the then protector of the city Archangel Michael. The Russo-Turkish war of 1770 perhaps was the pretext for the destruction of some remnants of the Byzantine church which were oddly enough preserved even after the unsuccessful rebellion of 1611. Fetihe Mosque was renovated in 1795 by Ali Pasha who ensured that his family grave, which is preserved, was placed nearby. The 8th Supervision Committee of Byzantine Antiquities placed here an ornate protective railing, similar to that which was stolen in 1944 from the grave covering the headless body of the lion of Ipiros and the lady of Emine. West of the mosque at the location of the modern day Byzantine Museum, the modernising leader in 1789 built a brilliant palace, which, following his death, housed the administration of the city. The palace was destroyed in 1870 by fire. In Fetihe Mosque, like in Alsan Mosque, a Byzantine column from the old Cathedral of the Archbishopric of Ipiros ensures historic continuity.
*architecture, Islamic art, mosque, history, Ali Pasha, Ali Pashas grave
Kanli Tsesme Mosque (of the Fountain of Blood)
A fountain and a bloody historical event gave their name to a whole neighbourhood, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Ioannina: Kaloutsiani. Tsesme, the fountain of the area, was washed in blood, called calou in Turkish, when the Ottomans slaughtered 200 Christian rebels who were hidden in the reeds of the lake behind Aghia Marina in the time of the events of 1611. The name was changed to the current Kaloutsiani. There are other etymological explanations of the origin of the name which are less dramatic. The mosque was built or improved in 1740 by Hadji Mehmet Pasha, the commander of Ioannina from 1740-1748. At spring time, storks find refuge in the half destroyed minaret of the mosque. Its interior houses various professional activities. Since 1913 the mosque been privately owned.
*architecture, mosque, etymology, Kaloutsiani
Built as a Metzit, a mosque without a minaret, it was transformed into a full mosque shortly after 1617. It was repaired by Velis, the son of Ali Pasha in the early 18th century. It has many things in common with the mosque of Kaloutsiani. The nearby building was the mentreses, in other words a religious school, which all mosques had.
*architecture, mosque, mentreses