Sancaklar Camii

Thrace & Marmara

Cutting-edge architects are rarely given commissions to design religious buildings in modern-day Turkey, and as a result most contemporary mosques are uninspired pastiches of Ottoman-era structures. This extraordinary building near Büyükçekmece Lake in Thrace is a notable exception to this rule. Designed by Emre Arolat Architects and built between 2011 and 2012, its most striking feature is a subterranean interior that manages to be theatrical and deeply contemplative at the same time.

Other notable features of the mosque include a rectangular minaret, a minimalist minber (pulpit) and mihrab (minaret niche indicating the direction of Mecca), a feature wall with illuminated calligraphy, and a terraced prayer space that follows the contours of the site.

To get here, take the 0-3 (tolled) and E80 from İstanbul. Before reaching Büyükçekmece, exit towards Alkent. Turn right, pass through the Alkent 200 residences and make your way to the Toskana Vadisi Evleri housing development; the mosque is on the edge of this, opposite the Toskana Çarsısı (Market).

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