arap mosque

Arap Mosque Istanbul – Brief History & Guide

Interior of the mosque

Arap Mosque holds a significant place in the city’s history, showcasing a unique blend of Gothic architecture and Ottoman influence. In this guide, we will take you on a journey through the fascinating story of Arap Mosque, highlight its key features, and provide practical information to enhance your visit. So, let’s delve into the rich history and captivating beauty of Arap Mosque Istanbul.

Brief History of Arab Mosque

Arap Mosque, also known as Galata Mosque, has a captivating history that dates back to the Byzantine era. The site originally housed a Byzantine church, possibly dedicated to Saint Irene. However, the current structure was erected in 1325 as a Roman Catholic church by the Dominican Order, replacing a smaller chapel dedicated to Saint Paul.

During the Ottoman period, between 1475 and 1478, Sultan Mehmed II converted the church into a mosque and named it Galata Mosque. Later, Sultan Bayezid II granted the mosque to Muslim refugees from Al-Andalus who escaped the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. This led to the mosque being known as Arap Mosque, reflecting the Arab heritage of the refugees.

What to See and Do

Arap Mosque stands as a testament to the architectural fusion of Gothic and Ottoman styles. As you enter the mosque, you’ll be greeted by its impressive Gothic-style portal, lancet windows, and a bell tower that has been transformed into a minaret. The brickwork showcases a unique blend of local techniques, alternating small courses of bricks and ashlar.

Inside, you’ll find a three-nave rectangular base with a square sanctuary covered by ribbed groin vaults. The wooden roof and galleries, added during the restoration in 1913-1919, add to the mosque’s charm. Take a moment to admire the delicate details and craftsmanship of the mihrab, the focal point of the prayer area.

Don’t forget to explore the courtyard, which features a beautiful şadırvan, a fountain for ritual ablutions before prayer. The serene atmosphere of the courtyard provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

Practical Information

If you’re planning a visit to Arap Mosque, here’s some practical information to help you make the most of your experience:

Opening Hours

The mosque is open to visitors from 9 am to 7 pm. Please note that the mosque may be closed during prayer times.

Entrance Fee

There is no entrance fee to visit Arap Mosque. However, donations are appreciated to support the maintenance and preservation of this historic landmark.


Arap Mosque is located in the Karakoy neighborhood of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district. The address is Azapkapı, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye. The mosque is easily accessible by public transportation, and it is surrounded by artisan shops, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of the area.

Best Time to Visit

To avoid crowds, it’s best to visit Arap Mosque early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This will allow you to enjoy the tranquility of the mosque and appreciate its architectural beauty without the hustle and bustle of tourists.

Insider Tips

  • Be respectful of the mosque’s religious significance and dress modestly when visiting. It is recommended to cover your shoulders and knees.
  • Remove your shoes before entering the prayer area and be mindful of your behavior inside the mosque.
  • Consider joining a guided tour to learn more about the history and significance of Arap Mosque.

Nearby Attractions

While visiting Arap Mosque, take the opportunity to explore other attractions in the vicinity. Here are some notable landmarks worth exploring:

  • Galata Tower: Located nearby, Galata Tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of Istanbul. Climb to the top for a mesmerizing experience.
  • Galata Bridge: Take a leisurely stroll across the Galata Bridge, which spans the Golden Horn, and soak in the picturesque views of the city and the bustling activity on the bridge.
  • Spice Bazaar: Immerse yourself in the vibrant sights and scents of the Spice Bazaar, where you can explore a variety of spices, teas, and traditional Turkish delights.


Arap Mosque Istanbul is a true gem that showcases the rich history and architectural beauty of the city. From its Gothic-style portal to the serene courtyard, every corner of this mosque tells a story. We hope this guide has piqued your interest and provided you with valuable information for your visit. Explore Arap Mosque with a sense of wonder and appreciation for its cultural significance. Share your experiences and let the captivating beauty of Arap Mosque leave a lasting impression on you.


  1. Can non-Muslims visit Arap Mosque? Absolutely! Arap Mosque welcomes visitors of all faiths. Just remember to dress modestly and be respectful of the mosque’s religious significance.
  2. Are there any guided tours available? Yes, guided tours are available for those who wish to learn more about Arap Mosque’s history and architectural features. Check with local tour operators for more information.
  3. Is photography allowed inside the mosque? Photography is generally allowed, but it’s important to be mindful and respectful of worshippers. Avoid using flash and maintain a quiet and unobtrusive presence.
  4. Are there any facilities available for ablutions? Arap Mosque has a şadırvan, a fountain for ritual ablutions, located in the courtyard. Visitors are welcome to use it before entering the prayer area.
  5. Is there parking available near the mosque? Limited parking is available in the vicinity of Arap Mosque. However, using public transportation or taxis is recommended as parking can be challenging in the busy neighborhood.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Arap Mosque Istanbul and immerse yourself in its captivating history and architectural beauty.