357-year-old Vaniköy Mosque reborn after renovation

357-year-old Vaniköy Mosque reborn after renovation
Date: 10.9.2023 11:00

Vaniköy Mosque, which was built in 1665 as a waterside mosque and was renovated after a fire in 2020 and reopened for worship a while ago, welcomes Istanbulites with its Bosphorus view, peaceful interior and library.

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Restoration work has been completed in the Vani Mehmed Efendi Mosque which was built by Vani Mehmed Efendi in 1665. A meticulous restoration project has breathed new life into the iconic structure, resurrecting its former glory.
The mosque is again a beacon of faith, social life, and cultural heritage.
Initially built by Vani Mehmed Efendi during the reign of Mehmed IV. in 1665-1666, the architectural masterpiece endured the passage of time until Divitdar Mehmed Pasha undertook repairs in 1752-1753. During the reign of Sultan Mahmud I, a distinguished sultan's chamber was added to enhance its magnificence.
Sadly, a devastating fire in November 2020 severely damaged the mosque, particularly engulfing the wooden roof and outbuildings. However, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism General Directorate of Foundations promptly initiated a comprehensive restoration process.
The first step involved the controlled removal of the hazardous and completely charred wooden elements.
According to the fire brigade's report, it was emphasized that the fire originated from the electrical installation. A necessary on-site investigation was conducted, and the report prepared by a panel of experts did not provide any evidence, proof, or claim that the fire was intentionally started.
The investigation initiated to determine the cause of the fire and identify those responsible concluded with a decision of non-prosecution.
Within the scope of the restoration that was planned before the fire, 3D laser scanning images of the mosque were recorded. These records ensured that the structure was restored faithfully, adhering precisely to its original form.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, art historian Idris Botan shared insights on the historical significance of the mosque and told the successful restoration process as such:
The meticulous restoration unfolded with scraping the original plasters, detailed ground-level excavations, and carefully dismantling the wooden components. For the structure's integrity, grouting applications were implemented on the existing walls and foundation, fortified by sturdy oak instead of the decayed wooden beams within the walls.
Restoration team painstakingly crafted and laid the wooden flooring, imbuing the mosque with an exquisite foundation. Notably, the reinforced concrete columns that adorned the narthex before the fire were carefully replaced with wooden columns, handcrafted to match the original design.
Intricate hand-drawn decorations, discovered amidst the arch ceiling's scraping process, were delicately cut, restored, and reinstated following extensive conservation work.
The historical minaret also underwent an extensive reinforcement process involving the utilization of carbon fibre fabrics based on a comprehensive static project. The minaret's cone was removed and rebuilt, adhering to the dimensions specified in the restoration plan.
The new form of the structure has transformed it into a community center in line with the concept of mosque in Islam, a place that embraces all. From now on, in addition to being a place of worship for the Istanbul residents, it will also enrich their social life.
Eagerly anticipated, the opening ceremony of this architectural gem, hailed as the "pearl of the Bosphorus," is imminent. As the doors swing open, the restored Vani Mehmed Efendi Mosque will captivate visitors, offering a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of this magnificent structure.
The mosque is a testament to the dedication, expertise, and artistry of those who diligently resurrected its beauty, preserving it for generations.


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