Commissioned by Sokollu Mehmet Pasa in 1568-1569 and built by Sinan, this is a small complex that consists of a madrasa, a house for readers of the Quran (darül-kurra), a tomb, and a fountain, all surrounded by a courtyard wall.
Dominating the complex is the madrasa, which is aligned roughly north-south (northwest-southeast) and has a rectangular plan arranged on a seven by eleven modular grid. A five by eleven module portico encloses the courtyard on all sides; just outside of the portico, the long east and west wings of the madrasa house twenty-two cells, each with its own dome.
The madrasa is entered from its northeastern most cell, from a portal that faces east and leads to the northern wing of the madrasa portico. In the madrasa, nineteen of the twenty-two cells, which measure approximately three and a half meters on a side, are articulated as student rooms and are surmounted by domes with pendentives. Entering through the doors facing the courtyard, each student has a stove niche near the door and three shelving niches on the side walls. The facade walls are articulated with two lower and one upper window. Two of the student cells are articulated as iwans, both on the west wing: one faces east and opens to the madrasa courtyard, and the other is the northwestern most cell, opening to the outside on the north. There are also two larger independent cells, sitting outside of the madrasa rectangle just north and west of the northwesternmost cell, that are used as service rooms.
The classroom is located to the north of the madrasa rectangle; varying from convention, it is not wrapped by smaller cells, but sits alone off the north end of the portico. It is entered through one of the opposing doors of the madrasa, which are placed in the middle of northern and southern walls. The classroom is a square structure that is surmounted by a dome ornamented with stalactite carvings. The dome measures approximately nine and a half meters in diameter and sits on an octagonal drum. Featuring three windows on the west and east walls, the classroom is connected to the tomb on its north by an arched canopy, which is surmounted by eaves and carried over columns with stalactite capitals. The cemetery is located on the east of this connecting canopy. On the other side of the madrasa, the door on the south leads to the toilets, which are arranged within a free standing rectangular structure that is rotated to the west of southwest and surmounted by a barrel vault.
The tomb, standing on the north end of the complex, is an octagonal structure surmounted by a dome that directly sits on its walls. It sits north of the madrasa classroom, and across the street from (to the south of) the mausolea of Siyavus Pasa and Mirmiran Mehmet Pasa. On its exterior, with the exception of its south (entry) elevation, each face of the octagon is pierced with a casement and an arched window above it. On the interior, niches carved between the casements soften the corners of the octagon. The tomb is the most ornamented structure in the complex. On the exterior, the voissoirs of the entrance portal and the lower windows are ornamented with green and white marble. The interior contains remarkable pencil work on the dome and tiled decoration with an inscription band that encircles the tomb.
The darül-kurra is a rectangular structure located east of the classroom. Commissioned in the name of Ismihan Sultan, the wife of Sokollu Mehmet Pasa, it is the only detached structure in the complex. It is entered through a single bay portico topped by a miniature dome on its north side. Two rectangular windows, topped by an arched one in the middle of the wall, appear on its east and west elevations. According to the records, a restoration project was undertaken in 1962. The madrasa, whose portico was later glazed, now serves as a medical center, and the darül-kurra is a children's library.
Goodwin, Godfrey. A History of Ottoman Architecture, 281-282. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
Necipoglu, Gülru. The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire, 333 London: Reaktion Books, 2005.
"Sokollu Mehmed Pasa Kulliyesi." Dunden bugune Istanbul ansiklopedisi, 31-32. Ankara: Kultur Bakanligi ; Istanbul : Tarih Vakfi, 1993-1995, 1993.
Sözen, Metin and Sami Güner. Sinan : Architect of Ages, 229. text by Metin Sözen ; photographed by Sami Guner. n.p.: [Istanbul] : Prepared under the auspices of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 1988.
Sokollu Mehmed Pasa Madrese (Variant)
Sokollu Medresesi (Variant)
Ismihan Sultan Medresesi (Variant)
Sokollu Mehmed Pasa Madrasa (Variant)
Eyup Sultan Cami (Variant)
Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Medresesi (Variant)
Ismihan-Sokollu funerary madrasa complex (Variant)