Walk through the ottoman monuments of Athens.


After the greek war for independence gradually most of the monuments from the ottoman rule of Greece were vanished. They were demolished on purpose or desolated by the time and neglect.

In Athens have survived very a few monuments which are difficult to be spotted and recognized by visitors.

Soon after the conquest of the Constantinople by the fourth crusade in 1204, Athens was conquered the next year. From 1205-1456 during the francocracy, Athens was the central city of the duchy of Athens. The duchy of Athens was a crusade state which lasted 250 years. Most greeks think that Athens was passed from byzantines to ottomans but this is totally wrong. From 1205-1828 (officially 1831) for 623 years Athens wasn’t ruled by greeks. From the period of francocracy no important monuments have survived. Only a handful of monuments from the ottoman’s period.

Three years after the fall of Constantinople, in 1456 the Mehmed the Conqueror captured Athens. The last ruler of the duchy of  Athens the florentine Francesco II Acciaioli didn’t show resistance to the Ottomans. The sultan Mehmed the Conqueror appreciated that and ordered the Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey who invaded the city to respect the greek population and the ancient monuments of Athens. Ottomans used the existing monuments and built only a few themselves.

Kadis house at Shelley street and Thespidos street intersection.

Hacı Halil Efendi was a qadi (or kadis in greek) appointed by the sultan to the city of Athens. Qadis were a kind of islamic judges who were responsible of the enforcement of the shariah islamic law. After the break of greek war for independence in 1821 the sultan Mahmud II ordered the execution of all male christian athenians above 18. Hacı Halil Efendi was a wise and very cultivated man. He asked for negotiations with the patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople and for an extra period to distinguish the guilty for the innocent male athenias. The patriarch officially had already denied any support for the greek revolution.

At last the sultan was enraged by both. He executed the patriarch and exiled Qadis to island Lemnos. However Hacı Halil Efendi never reached Lemnos he was tortured and executed.

Küçuk  mosque at Lisiou street above Roman Agora.

From the Küçuk Camii (small mosque in enlish) only the ruins of its foundations have survived. It is situated on a small square at the intersection of Lisiou street and Mouseou street.

Fethiye Mosque inside ancient Roman Agora.

The Fethiye Mosque (Mosque of the Conquest in english) was firstly built in 1458 after the conquest of the duchy of Athens from the ottomans. It is near the tower of the winds. It was built upon the ruins of a byzantine church.

As the converted to christianity greeks were building their churches upon the ruins of ancient greek temples, by the same way the ottomans were using the area of ruined churches to built their mosques. However most of times ottomans respected the ready made christian churches and hebrew synagogues as long as there weren’t riots against their domination.

In 1670 it was reconstructed for the celebration of the conquest of the island Crete by the Ottomans. During the ottoman’s era in Athens the area around the mosque was the cereal bazaar.

After the liberation of Athens from the ottomans, the mosque was used for a short period as a military bakery. The recent decades was used as depository by the archaeologists. After the two big earthquakes of Athens in 1981 an 1999 the fethiye mosque suffered serious damages. It is propped up by ugly steel beams like the nearby metropolitan cathedral church of Athens. The last years all of the archaeological items have been moved to a safer place.

The mosque is very neglected and its structural stability is in danger. That has become a diplomatic issue with the turkish state. The former greek prime minister Papandreou had promised to the president of Turkey Erdogan the restoration of the fethiye mosque. However due to the recent greek economic crisis nothing has occurred.

Fetiye mosque and the nearby Tsisderakis mosque have been proposed as a solution for the in-existence of a proper mosque for the increasingly muslim minority of Athens. The greek church agrees with that. On the other hand, both the mosques are in archaeological areas which are exploited by the ministry of tourism and ministry of culture. So it won’t be easy, its primary use to be achieved.

Madrasa islamic school on Pelopida street near tower of the winds.

Madrasa islamic school (Medreses in greek) was built by ottomans on 1721 close to the cereal bazaar of Athens. It had many rooms for students who lived and studied inside it. in the middle of the rooms there was a central yard for the lectures. The yard had a sycamore tree (Platanos in greek) and was a peaceful area for the study of Koran, the islamic law, mathematics e.t.c.

After the greek revolution of 1821 and the clashes between the greek and ottoman warriors the madrasa of Athens was one of the few constructions which didn’t suffer extensive damages. After the liberation of Athens the Madrasa was a convenient place and used as barrack by the greek army. During the rule of the bavarian king Otto the madrasa was converted to jail and the study rooms became jail cells. The prisoners before their execution used to salut the sycamore tree.

In 1915 the sycamore tree was burned by a thunder. After 1898 until 1915 the madrasa beside its main door and some small parts of the exterior walls was gradually demolished for archaeological excavations. Even today some archaeological items are stored inside it.

Hamam of Abid Efendi on Kiristou street.

The Ham of Abid Efendi which is also called the bath house of the winds is the only survived hamam of the three that operated during the ottoman period of rule in Athens. That period was used both by men and women. Of course not simultaneously, but in different hours of the day. Its construction has been expanded and altered many times. Its former entrance was at the parallel to Kiristou street, Lisiou street.

Many decades after the liberation of Athens in 1870 the bath was divided into two separated wings. Each wing served both sexes at the same time.

The bath continued to operate until 1965 and was a private property. In 1984 it was acquired by the ministry of culture. In 1999 it was restored by the museum of greek folk art and become a branch of it.

Tsisdarakis Mosque next to the Hadrian’s library.

The mosque was built by the ottoman voivode Tsisdarakis in 1759. Voivodes were appointed by the sultan in order to collect the poll tax from the non muslim subjects. Despite the strict orders about the preservation of the ancient monuments of Athens which dated from the Mehmed the Conqueror, Tsisdarakis destroyed a column from the temple of Olympian Zeus.

It was habitual during the ottoman period of Athens the conversion of greek ancient marbles to lime. Many furnaces were being built which was converting the numerous ancient marble artifacts into the useful for constructions lime. Thousands of marble funeral columns from the Iera Odos street were completely destroyed and turned into plaster.

However the temple of Olympian Zeus is a prominent monument and the Tsisdarakis’s disrespectful behavior reached the ears of the the sultan Mustafa III. The later was very disappointed. So he fined and exile Tsisdarakis.

The Tsisdarakis mosque situated in front of the big fountain of the low bazar.

After the liberation of Athens its was used by the greek army as military quarter and later as depot. In 1915 it was restored by the greek architect Anastasios Orlandos. Now it is used as a museum of greek folk art and pottery.


Tsisdarakis mosque next to the Hadrian’s library.
Tsisdarakis mosque, now is used as a museum.

The Fethiye mosque inside the Roman Agora.

Part of the mosque supported by steel beams.

The survived entrance of the madrasa islamic school in Athens.
The remaining ruins of the madrasa. At the left is a storage place for archaeological items.

The Kadi’s house in Plaka Tripodon street.
Kucuk mosque sign.
The ruins of the kucuk mosque in Plaka district.

The museum of the bath of the winds museum.
The entrance of the hamam.

Old picture of the matrasa in front of the tower of winds.
Old picture of the sycamore inside the ex-madrasa.
Old photos in 1895 of madrasa converted to jail before its destruction.

Use the mouse or your finger to watch a 360 degrees view Kadi’s House.  View Panorama in larger size.

Use the mouse or your finger in order to watch Küçuk Camii mosque.  View Panorama in larger size.

Use the mouse or your finger in order to watch Fethiyie mosque in Athens.  View Panorama in larger size.

Use the mouse or your finger in order to watch madrasa islamic school in Athens.  View Panorama in larger size.

Use the mouse or your finger in order to watch a cylindrical panorama of ottoman hamam.   View Panorama in larger size.

Use the mouse or your finger in order to watch a spherical panoramic photo of the hamam.   View Panorama in larger size.

Use the mouse or your finger in order to watch Tisdarakis mosque in Athens.   View Panorama in larger size.

View the map in larger size. Walk through the ottoman monuments of Athens. Position of the monuments and the 1.4 Km route.