Silent witness in Crimea: The Cuma Han Mosque

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 26.06.2015 21:06
Updated 26.06.2015 21:08
The mosque is a silent witness to the existence of the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate and their history. Khans officially succeeded to the throne in this mosque, which is also where their royal decrees were announced.
The mosque is a silent witness to the existence of the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate and their history. Khans officially succeeded to the throne in this mosque, which is also where their royal decrees were announced.

The Cuma Han Mosque, the only building built by Mimar Sinan in Crimea, which witnessed many leaders rising and falling as well as numerous disputes over the peninsula, has remained intact after hundreds of years

Built in 1552 to mark the victory of Crimean Khan Devlet I Giray following his campaign against Moscow, the Cuma Han Mosque, which is the only building built by Mimar Sinan in Crimea, is reminiscent of the Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, with one medium and four small domes and two minarets. The mosque is located in Yevpatoria, which is located 70 kilometers from Simferopol. On the left side of the mosque's courtyard, there is a symbolic grave of Numan Çelebi Khan, whose dead body was thrown out in the Black Sea after he was killed in 1918, as well as the graves of his father Abdülkerim Çelebi and his grandfather Ali İbrahim Çelebi. Having survived for years, the mosque is not only a place of prayer for Crimean Muslims, but also a popular tourist attraction.

Speaking to an Anadolu Agency (AA) reporter, Crimean Deputy Mufti Ayder İsmailov said Crimea is like a mirror that reflects the Ottoman era. Recalling that the mosque is one of the most significant structures of the region, İsmailov said the mosque is a silent witness to the existence of the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate and their history. He said khans officially succeeded to the throne in this mosque, which is also where their "firmans" (royal decrees) were announced.

A church is situated near the mosque as well as some buildings belonging to Crimean Jews of Turkish origin, İsmailov continued. "There are also some other buildings of the representatives of the three monotheistic religions. This is because Yevpatoria is a city with interesting and precious values," he said. İsmailov added that the mosque hosts tourists from different religions. A special section is allocated for tourists where they can get information about the mosque and Islam. "Imams inform tourists about the basics of Islam and the mosque's history, and many tourists are curious about it. They can visit not only Islamic sites, but also other historical places belonging to different religions. The Cuma Han Mosque is the center of attraction in this regard," he said.

Devlet I Giray was the Crimean Khan from 1151-1577. When the Russians surrendered Kazan, Devlet sieged Moscow. During the 40-day siege, everything around the city was demolished. He imposed a duty on Russian Tsar Ivan IV who then returned Crimea. Thanks to his significant success, he was named "Taht Algan," which means someone who takes the throne in Tatar.

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