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Efes - Artemis Temple - Mosque

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If we leave the Citadel by one of its doors in the west, we see directly in front of us, and lying on the western slope of the hill, the Mosque of Isabey, a Turco - Islamic work. This work of art, which was so much praised by such Turkish travellers as Ibni Batuta and Evliya Celebi, was built between 1309 and 1425 A.D. by the Aydinogullari, a branch of the Selcuk Turks. An inscription in Arabic above the main entrance says that the mosquewas built in 1375 for Isabey, the son of Mehmet Bey, and that the architect was Ali, the son of Dimishikli. The plan of his building is a quadrangular one 51x57 meters, two-thirds of which is an interior courtyard containing a fountain surrounded by porticoes and three gates, and the rest is the main covered building. But, as the walls of both parts are of the same height, cannot be distinguished from a distance. The main front of the mosque is on the western side where the large gate dominated both the plain and the sea. Plain limestone blocks are used in the walls exept for the door frames comparatively smaller than the others, is covered with marble. The frames of the doors and windows on this side are richly ornamented. The interior of the dome reveals examples of fine workmanship. The strinking beauty of the carved stalaticles, inscriptions and surfaces inlaid with pieces of coloured stones are all expressions of a high artistic sense. Originally the mosque had two minarets, built on eastern and western entrances, but today only the one on the western entrance is standing on its octagonal base, and that with its top gone. It is built in cylindirical form and has decorative patterns with tiles glazed in Turkish blue. Entering the inner courtyard through the western gate we are faced with a number of columns which once supported domes. In the middle of the yard we see some fine tombstones brought from varius places and some hewn stones which indicate the existence of an octagonal pond. The mosque proper on the right is entered through a triple archway supported by two columns. The marble slabs with geometric patterns which are seen on the ground directly opposite the entrance once decorated the altar. Some of these and some inscribed pieces removed from other parts of the mosque have been carried to mosques in Izmir. The middle partof the mosque proper was covered by two domes which ret on four granite columns brought from the Harbour Baths. The domes, which suffered considerable damage through the centuries were, like the minarets, covered with Turkish blue tile. One of the capitals which was brought from the Harbour Baths was used in its original form and the other three were adorned with stalacties. In addition to the black granite columns and capital, older material, especially material from the nearby Temple of Artemis, is believed to have been used in the building of this mosque. The architect used his materials with great skill to create this work of art. In Selcuk, besides a mescit (little mosque) with a graceful minaret within the citadel and the Isabey mosque, tere are the ruins of many other mescits, mausoleums, baths and turbeths, the most important of which is undobutly the Selcuk Turbesi which has a pyramid dome and beautiful, well preserved walls.

By Yigitcan KANGUL [YK]

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