Mytilini's oldest Muslim Temple to receive 1.2 million euro restoration

Mytilini’s oldest Muslim Temple
Mytilini’s oldest Muslim Temple

A 17th-century Muslim temple built on Lesvos to honour an Ottoman sultan’s unknown "Queen Mother" will be restored under a 1.2 million euro grant from EU regional development funds for the Aegean islands.

Valide Djami, as it is known locally, was built in old Turkish quarter of Mytilini known as Epano Skala at least as early as 1615, according to a dedicatory inscription on its lintel.

Once completed, the building will serve as an epigraphical museum for inscriptions of the Ottoman period, head of the antiquities department for the island Pavlos Triantafyllidis told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).

The stone-built construction is the oldest Muslim temple on the island. It has a saddle roof, most of which has collapsed. A marble three-step staircase led to the paved courtyard, at the centre of which was built a polygonal water fountain of white marble, decorated with engraved arabesques.

Inside, the roof was decorated in colour, which after the Treaty of Lausanne and with the departure of the Turks in 1923 was covered with a dark-coloured paint. The mihrab, which was nearly six metres high, was decorated with plaster of Paris details.

The temple’s minaret, which was low and followed Arab architectural features, is made of a red stone brought over from Ayvalik, and is almost intact. A small part on its top has fallen off but the greater part of its stone is in place.

The reconstruction on the main temple will also include the repair and support of the minaret, and the improvement of the surrounding space.
Work has already begun to clean the site, to reveal the stone-flagged courtyard surrounding the temple and to collect all architectural remains.

*Source: AMNA 


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