While walking around Edirne, visitors find numerous historical buildings from the Ottoman period. The most famous of them is undoubtedly the Selimiye Mosque, which makes the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, there are also mosques completely forgotten and neglected. An excellent example of such a structure is Atik Alipaşa mosque, located in the Kaleiçi district.
As evidenced by the information plate on the building, it was erected in 1506. While it is difficult to find any information about this structure, it is possible to take a closer look at Atik Alipaşa who gave his name to the mosque.
Atik Ali Pasha, also known as Hadım Ali Pasha, was an Ottoman statesman of Bosnian origins. Interestingly, hadım means "eunuch" in Turkish, but the lack of certain private parts did not stop Atik Ali from becoming a famous warrior and politician. He first served as governor of Rumelia - the European part of the Ottoman Empire where Edirne is situated. Next, he commanded the Ottoman army in the Ottoman–Mamluk War of 1485–1491. The brave governor was defeated at the Battle of Adana in 1488.
Atik Ali Pasha held the position of the Great Vizier twice: from 1501 to 1503, and from 1509 to 1511. During the latter tenure, once again he led the Ottoman forces into the battle. He was charged with the task of suppressing the Alevi-led Şahkulu Rebellion. This rebellion was a widespread but short-lived pro-Shia and pro-Safavid uprising in Asia Minor. It began among the Turcoman tribes of the Taurus mountains and later spread to many disgruntled groups. Its culmination point was the battle at Çubukova (between Kayseri and Sivas) in July 1511. During this fight, both Atik Ali Pasha and the rebel leader Şahkulu were killed. The death of Şahkulu meant the end of the uprising.
After his heroic death, Atik Ali Pasha became a martyr. He had two eponymous mosques built in the Fatih district of Istanbul: Gazi Atik Ali Pasha Mosque, completed in 1497 in the Çemberlitaş neighbourhood and Vasat Atik Ali Pasha Mosque, completed after his death, in 1512, in the Karagümrük neighbourhood.
The Edirne Atik Ali Pasha Mosque does not testify to the turbulent history of Atik Ali Pasha as it is just a small building with a rough appearance and simple design. It has a single minaret erected on a circular plan which was partially rebuilt in 2013.
The building was constructed from cut stone blocks separated by layers of red bricks. It is covered with a roof and has no domes. On each side of the side walls, there are two rectangular windows with pointed arches on the lower level and three arched windows on the higher level. In front of the main prayer hall, there is an atrium, open from one side to the world. It is decorated with three arches supported on two columns.
The mosque was repaired in 1897, with the support of the governor Müşir Arif Pasha. Later it fell into disrepair and remained in a neglected state for a long time. Finally, it was thoroughly restored in 2013.
The mosque is situated at the heart of old Edirne, at the junction of Atik Ali Paşa and Hatip streets. A short walk from Selimiye Mosque in the northeastern direction will get you there in 3 minutes.