Sultan Alaaddin Mosque: Oldest Mosque in Ankara

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Built in the 12th century by the Seljuk Turks, Sultan Alaaddin (Alaeddin) Mosque is the oldest Turkish-Islamic heritage site in Türkiye’s capital city, Ankara. And it is still in use today!

What’s in the article?

  • About the mosque
  • History of the mosque
  • Translation of the two inscriptions above the entrance
  • Old Roman and Byzantine artifacts in the yard of the mosque
  • Where is the mosque?
  • Make sure you also see

About the mosque

Sultan Alaaddin mosque is located within the walls of Ankara’s touristic citadel. It is a popular spot among many visitors, however, most people don’t really know the historic significance of this prominent Turkish-Islamic heritage site. Especially the fact that it is the oldest mosque in Ankara.

History of the mosque

Ankara Citadel was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in 1073, just 2 years after their victory against the Byzantines at Manzikert (Malazgirt in Turkish) in 1071.

The inscription on the wooden minber (pulpit) of the mosque provides us with invaluable information about the past. It tells us that the Sultan Alaaddin Mosque was built in 1178 (could be 1197 too) by the Governor of Ankara, Muhiddin Mesud Şah, who was the son of the Seljuk Sultan, Kilij Arslan II.

In subsequent years, the mosque was renovated thrice. During the reign of the Seljuk Sultan, Alaaddin Kayqubad II (1249-1254), the mosque went through renovation and it was given the name “Alaaddin”.

It is said that during the reign of the second Ottoman Sultan, Orhan Ghazi (1323-1362), some parts of the mosque were repaired.

Almost a century later, the mosque underwent another renovation during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan, Murad II (1421-1444).

Translation of the two inscriptions above the entrance

Aside from the oldest inscription on the minber, which dates back to 1178 or 1197, you can find two other inscriptions above the entrance to the mosque.

Two inscriptions above the entrance are invaluable historic documents

The one on the left was written in 1361 and translates as:Lulu Pasha, a member of the congregation of our great master, the great Sultan (May God make his reign eternal), repaired this blessed mosque in 763 (Hijri calendar date).”

The one on the right was written in 1433 and translates as:“To beg God’s forgiveness, this holy mosque was repaired by Şerife Sünbül Hatun in 837 (Hijri calendar date) during the reign of Sultan Murad Han”

Old Roman and Byzantine artifacts in the yard of the mosque

For me, one of the most pleasantly surprising part of this mosque was to see some very old Roman and Byzantine artifacts displayed in the small yard. Some of the pieces even have inscriptions in Latin and Ancient Greek carved onto them.

Where is the mosque?

From the main entrance of Ankara Citadel, you have to take a 10 minute walk to reach Sultan Alaaddin Mosque.

If the map widget is not working on your device, click here to see the location of the Sultan Alaaddin Mosque.

Coordinates of the cemetery: 39.939211, 32.864507

Make sure you also see

The stairs going up near the mosque are leading to the fortifications of Ankara Citadel, where you can see a picturesque panoramic view of Ankara.

I highly recommend that you spare some extra time to walk around.


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