Sahip-i Ata Mosque, Konya

Last Updated on May 7, 2019

The Seljuk vezir Sahip-i Ata Fahrettin Ali was one of the Seljuk Turkish Empire‘s great builders.

Besides Konya‘s sublime Ince Minare Medresesi, he endowed this külliye (mosque complex) south of Konya‘s Alaettin Tepesi, and had it built between 1259 and 1283, just when the Mongol invasions and overlordship was bringing an end to the golden age of the Seljuk architecture.

The formal entrance to the complex is a fine Seljuk taç kapı, or monumental gateway, an asymmetrical but harmonious structure with its own grand and unusual minaret. The gate was beatifully restored in 2006-07.

The center of the complex was of course its mosque, only part of which has survived the centuries. What has survived is much smaller and quite simple, except for the mihrab (prayer niche) with its mosaic tiles in geometric designs.

Behind the mosque, the fine medrese (theological school), has been beautifully restored (2006-07) as a Museum of Seljuk Arts(Sahip Ata Vakıflar Eserleri Müzesi). Its classic Seljuk cruciform configuration has four eyvans (three-walled rooms) for classes, a central pool for the sound of water, and exquisite dark-and-sky-blue Seljuk tilework.

Off to one side of the main medrese structure is a türbe(tomb) chamber containing cenotaphs of Sahip-i Ata himself, his daughter, sons and grandsons. (The actual tombs are beneath, underground.) Long, graceful Kur’anic inscriptions high on the walls and arches are fine reminders of the artistic excellence of Seljuk tilemakers and architects.

The architect of both the Sahip-i Ata Külliyesi and the Ince Minare Medresesi was Kelûk ibn Abdallah, who also designed the Çifte Minare Medrese in Sivas.

The complex also had a tekke, or dervish hall, and a hamam, currently under restoration.

Just west of the Sahip-i Ata Külliyesi is Konya’s worthwhile Archeological Museum, with artifacts from the Neolithic excavations at Çatal Höyük.

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Sırçalı Medrese

Mevlâna Museum

Alaettin Mosque

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Central Anatolia

Saip-i Ata Medrese, Konya, Turkey


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