The Tzisdaraki Mosque is located in Monastiraki Square in the Kato Pazari (Lower Bazaar), close to the fountain that marked its center. According to its inscription, it was founded by the Athenian voyvoda Mustafa Aga Tzisdarakis in 1759/1172 AH. It served as a place of worship for only a few decades, and was used for a variety of purposes after the founding of the modern Greek state. Since 1918, the building has functioned as a museum, housing first the Museum of Greek Handcrafts (later the Museum of Decorative Arts), and since 1959 has served as an annex of the Museum of Greek Folk Art. Since 1973, it has contained the V. Kyriazopoulos Traditional Pottery Collection.
Tradition holds that Tzisdarakis had a column from the Temple of Olympian Zeus blown up with gunpowder to make high-quality lime for the mosque's stucco, though it is more probable that the column was taken from the neighboring Library of Hadrian. The explosion turned popular opinion against Tzisdarakis, as it was widely believed that the destruction of antiquities brought epidemics in its wake, and Tzisdarakis was fined and expelled from Athens.
The building is two stories and square in plan; the lower story, located on the level of the square, now houses shops and the upper level contains the rectangular prayer hall, covered by a hemispherical dome sitting on an octagonal base, roofed with ceramic tiles. On the western side of the prayer hall there is an open colonnaded portico with three arches and roofed with three small domes. The somewhat asymmetrical appearance of the portico facade has been interpreted as evidence that the portico was possibly part of a second phase of construction. A minaret previously stood at the southwestern corner of the mosque, but was destroyed sometime between 1839-1843.
The interior, now two levels, was originally unified. Two rows of windows around the sides of the mosque, and smaller circular windows at the base of the dome, provide light for the prayer hall. The mihrab is set in the middle of the eastern wall and is many-faceted, with a muqarnas semi-dome above. The niche is set within a rectangle with two inscriptions and painted panels of decoration. The only entrance to the hall is in the western wall, surrounded by a marble frame. Above the door is the founder's inscription, and small mihrabs are set to the left and right of the door in the exterior wall for those who would pray outdoors.
The building was restored in 1915 by Anastasios Orlandos, and a prayer hall gallery (1920) and offices on the ground level were later constructed to his plans. The mosque was heavily damaged in the earthquakes of 1981 and restoration works were carried out from 1982-1991, creating new exhibition space for the Kyriazopoulos pottery collection.
Brouskarē, Ersē, and Elizabeth Key Fowden. Ottoman architecture in Greece, 74-76. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Directorate of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Antiquities, 2009.