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Despite the fact that I have been known as caming from Kuzguncuk, Cami-i Kebir has placed an important place in my life. On my identification card, it says Cami-i Kebir district. When I was at primary school, I used to go to Cami-i Kebir for Friday prayers with my father. It is not posiible for me to forget the celebrations with drums and pipes after Democratic Party's victory at 1950 elections.

According to the statement of Dionysius from Byzantium, this district known as "Khoiragia", was a place open to southwinds, cavered with trees in 2 AD. On the gravure by Buendelmont, dated 1422, Kasımpaşa is situated in a place where there was an arc that two creeks joined together and lay along between Piyale Paşa Valley and Dolapdere Valley. The area is depicted with a tower [probably the mausoleum of Hipposthenes] and a windmill outside the Galata walls. No trace of housing is observed there.

Along with the conquest of İstanbul -by Mehmet the conqueror- Kasımpaşa district gradually becomes a residential area. Evliya Çelebi says that Mehmet the Conqueror tried to develop the area and had a shipyard, a divanhane [an upper-level semi-private / private space used for relaxation and enjoyment] for the head of the navy and a mosque built. However, Kasımpaşa district began to be settled in during the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent. The viziers of the period Kasım Paşa, Ferhad Paşa and Ayas Paşa flourished the area by having many houses and buildings for charity built. This place of workship, now known as Büyük Camii / Camii Kebir was built during this period as well. The gibla wall looks up to the canal which was expanded to enable the big boats reach to Piyale Paşa. Recently known as Bahariye Street [however, somehow named as Bahariye Street on some maps], this wide road was a riverbed which was filled gradually until the end of 19th centry. The main entrance to the mosque is on old Kasımpaşa Muvakkithane Street. There are also two subsidiary entrances, one at Potinciler Street in the east, and one at Kasımpaşa Camii Street in the west. Evliya Çelebi says that Koca Kasım Paşa Camii had a quatrefoil plan, a wooden-domed, one storey old mosque with a moderate sized minaret with one balcony [şerefe]. It's courtyard was decorated with plane and mulberry trees. A part of it which was built as a hospice [imaret] also served as a hospital. The building completed by Sinan the architect in H. 940 [1533-1534] in Anatolia, Egypt and Rumelia at that time.

Being the son of one of the slaves of Sultan Bayezid II, Kasım Paşa was brought up in the royal house and after serving as a royal servant, he became a Hama sanjak governor in H. 922 [1516], therefore started working outside the royal house. In H. 929 [1523], he was appointed as the governor of Egypt and after a short time he was dismissed. In H. 930 [1524], he became thegovernor of Budin [Budapest]. In H. 937 [1530-1531], he was retired from Mora sanjak, died in H. 939 [1532-1533] in İstanbul and buried in Gallipoli as his wish in his testament.

Güzelce Kasım Paşa had made the mosque built by Sinan the architect. Being made of mostly wood, the mosque was burnt in 1721. Feyzullah Bey, the brother of the trustee of the mosque, Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa, made it repaired in a short time. It was burnt again in the 19th century, and rebuilt by Sultan Abdulaziz compling with the architectural style of it's period, with domes and two minarets. However, the mosque owns its today's shape to the renovation made in 1981, during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II [1876-1909].

In the Past, there were various shops along the way of Kasımpaşa Camii Street. In the recent years, the courtyard of the mosque has been cleared away from those buildings by Municipality of Beyoğlu. It's cistern, which faces Bülent Demir Street with it's new name now, and the fountain made by Feyzulah Bey have been repaired. During this maintenance, it has been descended to the original altitude of the fountain and therefore the connection between the fountain and the courtyard has been supplied. It seems that the altitude of the courtyard has been raised approximately 50 cm since the 18th centry until today. Today, there is no reminiscence of the court house that was known to be situated in the mosque courtyard. However, in it's eastern corner that faces the Bahariye Street, there is an octagonal-plan, four sided rococo style puplic fountain, dated H. 1312 [1892], which serves as the imam chamber now; and in its western corner there is a time hose [muvakkithane] with four windows. In the middle of the courtyard, a little west to the entrance axis, there is a lead domed water-tank with a fountain [şadırvan], based on eight columns; and in its north eastern corner there is an ablution place, which has a quatrefoil plan, there-façade covered with clay roof tiles and sits on five marble columns on its longer sides.

Güzelce Kasım Paşa Mosque reflects a different architectural syle than the buildings of its period. Although its exterior is heavily decorated, interior is spacious and luminous. The balconies of the minarets [şerefe] have been reverted into their original shapes after the last restoration. We must be persistent with a pride of our nation to make the name of Güzelce Kasım Paşa that has been living since the 16th century, with the contribution of Sultan Abdülaziz, live many more years to come. I wish and hope that, as stated by Sinan the architect, may Güzelce Kasım Paşa Mosque live as long as the world turns around, and enliven Camii Kebir district.