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Marmara University Faculty of Theology Mosque

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I love Islamic architecture and have been in more mosques than I can count. However after travelling in Istanbul and Turkey for a month with my Dad, in 2007, I was mosqued out. Dad was fascinated by them and big or small, famous or completely unknown, he wanted to see inside every one we passed. If you’ve spent any time in Turkey, you’ll know that’s a lot.

Nonetheless, the attraction has stayed with me and I continued to visit mosques in Turkey. My most recent expedition took me up close and inside a mosque I’d passed numerous times on the number two bus, but never stopped to visit. Marmara Üniversitesi Fakültesi Ilhayat Camii was built for the Marmara University Faculty of Theology as a mosque and culture centre by Muharrem Hilmi Şenalp of Hassa Architecture in Istanbul. It’s in Altunizade on the Asian side of the city, just next to Capitol shopping centre. Construction began in 2014 and it was completed in 2016.

Have you seen the Marmara University Theology Mosque for real?The blindingly white mosque and men’s şadırvan (ablutions fountain) you see at street level are just part of a whole complex designed to reflect the Islamic concept that civilisation is only as strong as its parts. In traditional Ottoman mosque designs, architecture is reduced to its micro and macro components, with each part making up the whole and the whole being found in each part. In the Marmara University Faculty of Theology Mosque abstract stylisations reinterpret classical Ottoman style to create a modern, almost futuristic architectural language.

This idea is best understood from inside. The walls are composed of lattice work concrete which allow the play of light, producing a bright airy space that seems to exist in a completely separate world to that outside. Above, a central dome dominates. The architect based the design on the the geometrical concept of fractals, and you can find out more about this and how to

visit the mosque using public transport on page 95 of my alternative guide book Istanbul 50 Unsung Places.

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