The original building

The original mosque was built by Hafsa, the daughter of Turkish official Hamza Bey, in the second half of the 15th century, during the reign of Murat II. It is thought that there had been a convent on the site, a tradition that the Ottomans respected after the fall of Constantinople by building a mosque founded by a woman. It was built along the lines of the holy city of Mecca. A square room with a 17-meter dome is illuminated by eight arched windows and a circular skylight. Twenty-two marble columns with 15 Early Christian capitals (5th-6th century) support the arcades that surround the atrium. The building stopped being used as a mosque after the liberation of Thessaloniki (1912). It was listed for preservation in 1926 as part of the exchange of properties of the mufti of Thessaloniki. In 1927, it became the property of the National Bank, which sold it at auction to a private owner, who donated it to the Red Cross after the fall of the colonels’ junta in Greece.

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