Melek Ahmet Paşa Camii is located in the walled city of
Diyarbakır, along the old city’s main east-west arterial route running from
Urfa Kapısı toward the city center. It is named after Melek Ahmet Paşa, who was
a tax farmer and loom owner in Diyarbakır. The mosque is uninscribed but
historians believe it dates to just before its patron’s death in 1591.
The mosque is a rectangular block, longer that it is deep, with a
central dome resting on an octagonal drum. The visible north and south facades
of the block and the faces of the octagonal drum are dressed with alternating
courses of black basalt and white limestone masonry (ablaq). A partly submerged
ground floor housing shops elevates the main floor of the mosque above ground
Visitors enter through a monumental muqarnas-hooded portal framed
by a trefoil arch located off center on the east side of its qibla (south)
façade, which abuts the arterial street. The portal opens onto a subterranean
corridor that passes under the mosque and leads to a paved, walled forecourt on
the mosque’s north side, hidden from the busy traffic of the high street. The
mosque’s monumental minaret rises from square plinth in the courtyard’s
southwest corner, adjacent to the prayer hall’s main entrance at the top of a
flight of stairs leading up from the paved forecourt.
The prayer hall consists of a central domed bay flanked by two
side aisled, each three bays long and one bay deep. The central dome rests on
four pillars. The transition from square base to dome is made from eight
pointed arches surmounted by four squinches. The mihrab has a
muqarnas hood and is decorated with tiles. A band of tiles also runs along the perimeter of the hall at the dado level.
Necipoğlu, Gülru. The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire, 469-470. London: Reaktion Books, 2005.
Sinclair, T. A. Eastern Turkey: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey, 3:185. 4 vols. London: The Pindar Press, 1989.