Sunday, November 9, 2008

Reconstruction of the Sultan Mehmed's Tomb

Padişah (sovereign) Sultan Mustafa III Khan reconstructed a new the tomb which had collapsed in an earthquake, and imprinted the following note:

"Yaptı bu alı makamı Seyda tarihtir
Feth-i bab oldu müeyyed Fatihe ihda için
1180 (M.1766/67)"

[This noble place was built by Seyda, who is a history now
It became an opening of a door as a gift for the blessed Fatih
1180H (1766/67 A.D)]

The old tomb was abolished in a severe earthquake on 22 May 1766.

After that, with an imperial edict from the Sultan and under the supervision of İbrahim Sarim Efendi a group of technician experts investigated the tomb remains and estimated that its reconstruction would cost 87 kese and 95 kuruş.

Consequently, for the chandelier and rush mat was spent in total 28 kese and 95 kuruş. Thus it was completed and furnished with a lesser amount than estimated at the beginning.

According to the information from Hafiz Huseyin Ayvansarayi, the second reconstruction of the tomb was started on the 4th Rejab 1180H (6 December 1766 A.D.) and completed on the 28th, Thursday of Zulkaede (the 11th month of the Arabic Calender) of the same year (27 April 1767 A.D.). Hence it can be seen that the reconstruction was completed in 4 months and 22 days.

The tomb, which was destroyed along with its surrounding building in the 1766 earthquake, was repaired in a short time.

According to some allegations the tomb was moved little further than its original place during this comprehensive repairing. Because of that movement of the tomb, the grave of Fatih Sultan Mehmed has remained buried under the current niche of the mosque.

However, according to an argument based on some new researches, the Mecca direction (qiblah) wall of the Fatih Mosque was never moved further and thus the tomb was reconstructed on its original place, namely on the original base of the first building.

According to a widespread gossip, the corpse of Sultan Mehmed was kept in a special grave which was located at the end of a corridor / tunnel extending from the tomb up to the underneath of the niche (mihrab) of the mosque.

According to a narrative, during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II Khan, with his order a team entered into the special grave and changed the basement of the coffin room containing the corpse.

In the famous Cibali fire of 1782, the fire spread to the tomb from the burning belongings of the people who had saved them from the fire and put in the yard of the Fatih Mosque and consequently the tomb including the coffin and all other things burned out.

It can be inferred from the inscription dated 1199H / 1784-1785 A.D. that later the tomb was repaired and restored by Sultan Abdulhamid I Khan. The tomb has a ten-cornered and domed structure whose walls were covered with marble.

Quoted from article in Sultan Fatih Mosque
6 November 2008
İstanbul, Turkey.

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