Regular readers may recall the recent article on the Sokollu Mehmet Pasa mosque complex in Istanbul. Well a couple of hours bus ride south from Adana you can find an even more ambitious complex also developed by this highly successful Grand Vizier.
In a small town called Payas, best known in modern Turkish terms for its huge steel works, lie the unused but remarkably sound buildings designed by Sinan and built in the 1560s.
The complex comprises a mosque (with 1000-year-old olive tree in its courtyard), a huge caravanserai, a hamam (that was in use until the 1990s), a covered bazaar and an open market area. Whilst guide books refer to it as Sokollu Mehmet Pasa’s complex, the inscription over the entrance to the caravanserai states it was built by Selim II.
As Sokollu was Selim’s Grand Vizier, and held the purse strings, we shall continue to thank him for this amazing complex of buildings.
There is no other Ottoman building of comparable size east of Bursa, and to find this in such a backwater as Payas, only adds to its allure.