Hamza Bey mosque (Alcazar)

The building is known locally as the Alcazar, because that was the name of the cinema that was housed inside it for many years. It is one of the most important examples of Ottoman architecture in all of south eastern Europe, the largest mosque with a peristyle courtyard and the only one of its kind in Greece. Our knowledge of its origins and the various phases of its construction is derived from inscriptions on the walls of the building. It was originally constructed as a mesçid or parish mosque without a minaret in 1467/68 by Hafsa Hatun, daughter of Hamza Bey, Beyler Bey of Anatolia. The original mesçid was later enlarged with the construction of two rectangular areas on the northern and southern sides of the original four sided chamber, the addition of a perimetrical covered stoa to the west and the construction of a minaret at the south western corner of the original building. Some scholars date the conversion of the building to a mosque to the years before 1492, most however agree that the conversion work took place in the second half of the 16th century (between 1570 and 1592). A third recontruction was carried out in 1620, by Kapici Mehmed Bey. The main part of the mosque has survived in good condition, with its lead covered dome and its interior decoration, featuring stalactites of plaster mortar and wall paintings. The columns of the portico still have the original capitals, taken from early Christian buildings. Work has recently begun on consolidating and restoring the building.

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