Centuries-old gold engravings found in mosque
An excavation team was taken aback when they stumbled upon unique handmade gold and original ornaments while unearthing in the restoration works of the 400-year-old Tekeli Mehmet Pasha Mosque, one of the iconic mosques in the southern province of Antalya.
Excavations that started in 2018 in the Tekeli Mehmet Pasha Mosque, which is believed to have been built in 1606-1616 by Tekeli Mehmet Pasha in the world-famous historical Kaleiçi, are continuing.
In the mosque, which is also known as “stone daisy” due to the similarity of their domes to daisies, unique handmade gold engravings were unearthed during excavations.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Antalya Foundations Regional Manager Hüseyin Coşar said that it was included in Evliya Çelebi’s travel book and is one of the biggest mosques important for Antalya.
Coşar said that one of the features that made the mosque unique was that it contains 40 couplets of eulogy written in tile pediments, adding that the eulogy dated back to the 11th century.
Stating that Evliya Çelebi mentioned in his travel book that the mosque was a very beautiful, very elegant, ornate and adorned mosque, but before starting the restoration, they did not see anything about it, Coşar said.
“In the studies we carried out in the mosque before the restoration, we could not make much sense of Evliya Çelebi’s ‘very ornate’ statements. However, we encountered surprises as we excavated. We saw features and ornaments that were not found in other mosques. Before starting the restoration, two tile pediments were missing, the two pediments that were found in the women’s arch after the restoration were unfortunately closed with plasters through time. Thank God, they haven’t been deformed and we got it under protection. Again, we have uncovered beautiful ornaments, which are supposed to belong to the classical period and covered with plaster, in the domes. There are recent ornaments made with baroque style. Awesome original artistic decorations were seen in the woods. In the cone part of the pulpit, very original ornaments and gold leaf embroideries were unearthed. The Conquest Surah [in Quran] was written in the field called ‘Kasnak.’ There were decorations on it, but it did not look qualified. We scraped there and found original ornaments underneath.”
Roman mosaic under fountain
Coşar said that when they removed about 15 centimeters of concrete in the flooring, they came across more original floors.
Coşar pointed out that they faced surprises during the excavations in the courtyard of the mosque, and said, “There was a large fountain in the courtyard, we removed the fountain, the mosaics from the Roman period appeared at the bottom. Friends are working on it. We will display this place inside glass.”
Stating that there were huge changes in the mosque before and after the restoration, Coşar said that those who knew its previous state would be very surprised to see the new situation.
Stating that the works unearthed by the restoration will be preserved and exhibited, Coşar said, “We encountered a surprise in every excavation, we found new things. It will also serve as a mosque museum with ornamentation, mosaic decorations and artifacts found under plaster. I believe that many people will come to see the mosque.”