The Alaettin Camii (Alaettin Mosque) rests at the top of the Alaettin Tepesi hill in the center of Konya, Turkey. It is the city’s oldest, largest and most venerable mosque.
It’s open to visitors from 08:00 am to 17:30 (5:30 pm) daily. (Tips for visiting mosques.)
Begun during the reign of the Seljuk Sultan Ruknuddin Mesud (1116-56), the central section (with the dome and mihrab) was completed by the following Sultan Kiliç Arslan II (1156-92).
Later additions, designed and supervised by a Damascus architect named Muhammed ibn Khawlan, were the courtyard, the western extension, and the large forest of columns(hypostyle) on the east side. These were done during the reigns of Sultan Izeddin Keykavus I (1210-19) and Alaeddin Keykubad I (1219-36).
The mosque as it now stands was substantially completed by 1221.
The imposing northern façade is decorated with twin engaged marble columns recycled from an older Roman or Byzantine building, and a large, impressive Seljuk-style portal (not in use today) decorated with light and dark marble. (Compare the portal to that of the Great Karatay Medresesi just down the hill.)
The entrance used now is the one on the east side, through which you enter the hypostyle hall’s forest of columns, many of which have been recycled from older buildings. Atop the columns are a variety of marble capitals also taken from older Roman and Byzantinebuildings.
The mihrab (prayer niche), part of the original, 12th-century part of the mosque, is finely painted (just a few years ago), and looks like the famous Seljuk tilework, which would have been expected. But it’s just paint.
The wooden mimber is beautifully carved.
In the mosque’s front courtyard, between the enclosed rooms and the disused north entrance, are octagonal Seljuk türbes (tombs) holding the tombs of numerous Seljuk Turkish sultans, including Alaettin Keykubad, Kiliç Arslan I, and three Giyaseddin Keyhüsrevs(I, II, III).
At the foot of the Alaettin Tepesi on the north side toward the Great Karatay Medresesi are the slight remains of a Seljuk palace of Sultan Kiliç Arslan, sheltered by an ugly modern concrete structure.
Alaettin Tepesi, the “Hill of Alaadin,” is itself a tumulus, a mound built up by millennia of human occupation. If excavated, it might well yield archeological evidence of habitation from as early as Hittite times, and perhaps even earlier.