Aziz Mahmud Hudayi Tomb

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The wooden mosque above the tomb of Aziz Mahmüd Hüdayi

Summers in Istanbul are hot and humid so when I have to be out and about I always try to combine errands with a bit of exploring. I was a winter baby so heat and I don’t get on. This year summer started early so when I headed to Üsküdar in the last week of June, to meet up with someone who wanted to buy my books direct from me, it was already blisteringly hot and shower power sweaty. After an iced coffee in a café housed in a converted hamam, I headed back inland and trudged up a steep hill. Anyone who knows the area will be aware of just how hilly Üsküdar is, but luckily for me although the street was steep, the tomb wasn’t too high up. I made it without melting.

I was headed for the tomb of Aziz (Saint) Mahmut Hudayi, the second most visited religious site in Istanbul after Eyup Sultan Mosque on the Golden Horn. Aziz Mahmut Hudayi lived from 1541 to 1628 and was one of the most important sufi (Muslim saint) of the Ottoman Empire. Along with Yahya Efendi, Telli Baba and Hazreti Yuşa (the prophet Joshua), he’s considered one of the four patron saints of the Bosphorus.

Have you seen inside the tomb of Aziz (Saint) Mahmut Hudayi.

Aziz Mahmüd Hüdayi was an inspired poet, composer, Islamic scholar and writer, among other things. During his illustrious career he was in charge of the Küçuk Aya Sofya Mosque and preached in Fatih Mosque too. Born in Sereflikoçhisar, he died in Üsküdar and was laid to rest next to his mosque. Hüdayi’s wooden tomb is located under a central dome held in place by four marble columns. Gilded ironwork surrounds it and hand drawn decorations cover the facades of the room. In death as in life Hüdayi is surrounded by his children and grandchildren, lying together in peace in tombs covered in green cloth, the colour of Islam.

Today the small mosque and tomb are run by the Aziz Mahmüd Hüdayi Foundation. They hold culture symposiums, run Koran courses, organise outings and entertainment for adults and children, as well as provide financial and other assistance through fundraising fairs and food donations.

Find out more about the Aziz Mahmüd Hüdayi complex on page 78 of my alternative travel guide Istanbul 50 Unsung Places, as well as another 49 inspiring sights!

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