POINTS OF INTEREST
This complex consisting of a mosque, religious schools, and other buildings of a pious nature was the largest in the Ottoman empire, and is still one of the most culturally important mosques in the city. Today it remains the heart of Fatih, one of Istanbul's most religiously conservative neighborhoods. The original mosque, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1766, was built from 1463 to 1470 by Mehmet the Conqueror on the site of the demolished Church of the Twelve Apostles, the burial church of Byzantine emperors from Constantine on. The 18th-century replacement, which recently underwent a complete restoration, is quite attractive—particularly the extensive stained-glass windows—though probably very little of what you're seeing is original. Behind the mosque is the reconstructed baroque-style tomb of the Conqueror himself, along with the far plainer tomb of his wife Gülbahar. On Wednesday, the area just north of Fatih Camii is taken over by one of the city's largest street markets, packed with locals buying everything from produce to clothing and housewares. It's best to avoid visiting the mosque at prayer times.