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.
northern façade is
decorated with twin engaged marble
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
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 Byzantine buildings.
The mihrab (prayer
niche), part of the original, 12th-century
part of the mosque, is finely painted
(just a few years ago),
looks like the famous Seljuk tilework,
which would have been expected. But
it's just paint.
The wooden mimber is
In the mosque's front courtyard,
between the enclosed rooms and the
north entrance, are octagonal Seljuk türbes
(tombs) holding the tombs of numerous
Turkish sultans, including Alaettin
Keykubad, Kiliç Arslan I,
and three Giyaseddin Keyhüsrevs (I,
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
is itself a tumulus,
a mound built up by millennia of human
If excavated, it might well yield archeological
of habitation from as early as Hittite times,
and perhaps even earlier.
After visiting the Alaettin Mosque,
walk north down the hill past the ugly
modern shelter of the ruined remains
of the Seljuk sultans' palace to the
Great Karatay Medrese and the Ince