Sinan Pasha Mosque (Prizren)

The Sinan Pasha Mosque is located in the Historical Centre of Prizren. It was built in 1615 by Sofi Sinan Pasha – a distinguished person of knowledge, a person of important rank in the Ottoman administration. Due to its prevailing position, dimensions, shape, proportion of minaret to the cupola, construction materials and technique, endowments in interior, the Sinan Pasha Mosque represents one of the most characteristic monuments of Prizren.

The mosque is built over an elevated foundation, the access of which is provided on its northern side, by a stone-carved staircase. Its design layout is rectangular, with a niche in its south-eastern side, which makes the mosque different from other mosques in Kosovo. It is built in chiselled river stones, connected in lime plaster, and enveloped from the outside with chiselled stones (assumed to be taken from the ruins of the Monastery of Archangels). The minaret of the mosque is built in pumice stones, in a rectangular foundation and a circular structure. In the upper part, there is a “sherefe”. Before the entry into the mosque, there is an open vestibule, worked in stone. The vestibule has three cupola covered in lead sheeting, supported in rock columns, at a circular foundation. The mosque is covered by a cupola of diameter 42.5 m. The interior is a unique area, enlighted by levelled windows, with a cupola painted in floral motives in three stages. The two first stages of mural paintings come from the 16th-17th century, worked in the “alsecco” technique, while the third stage pertains to the 19th century, worked in Baroque style, dominated by blue motives. The interior includes a mahvil, mynber and myhrab, decorated in floral paintings and plastic decorations worked in stone. In the northern side of the mosque, near the staircase, there is a stone decorated fountain, which is used for abdes (a religious ritual) and public use. In the southern side of the mosque, there is a great yard, fenced in stone wall.

The mosque was used for religious rituals until 1912. During the Balkan wars and the First World War, the mosque was used as an ammunition storage by the Bulgarian and Serbian armies. In 1919, the mosque was severely damaged, including a demolition of the Mosque vestibule. With the establishment of the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments in 1967, the monuments were taken under protection. During the period 1968-1969, upon renovation, the Mosque was turned into a Museum of Oriental Inscriptions, while during the period 1973-1978, the mosque was further restored and conserved in terms of mural paintings. In the period 2007 – 2011, using a donation from the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Development (TIKA), restoration and conservation works were undertaken both in the interior and exterior. In 2011, the Sinan Pasha Mosque was open again for the believers after a long time. In 2013, works were undertaken for regulating the mosque yard, again with a donation by the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Development (TIKA), which is to include recreational areas within the mosque site.