The Green Mosque (Turkish: Yeşil Camii), also known as the Mosque of Mehmed I, is a part of a larger complex (Turkish: külliye) located on the east side of Bursa, Turkey, the former capital of the Ottoman Turks before they captured Constantinople in 1453. The complex consists of a mosque, türbe, madrasah, kitchen and bath. The name Green Mosque comes from its green and blue interior tile decorations.
The Green Mosque is often seen as the culmination of the early Ottoman architectural style, mainly due to the level of aesthetic and technical mastery displayed within the mosque.
The Green Mosque was commissioned in 1412 by Sultan Mehmed I Çelebi, who ruled from 1413 to 1421, after a fight against his brothers to reunite the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed I was buried in a mausoleum, called the Green Tomb, commissioned by his son and successor, Murad II, which resides in the complex. The Green Mosque’s exact completion date is uncertain, but it was built between 1419–1424. Decorative work continued on the mosque after Mehmed I’s death.
The construction of the Green Mosque was supervised by architect and patron of the arts vizier Hacı İvaz Pasha, who had been a commander under Mehmed I. A calligraphic inscription identifies Nakkas (the Artist) Ali bin Ilyas Ali as the supervisor of the interior tile decorations. Ali bin Ilyas Ali is believed to have brought a diverse group of craftsmen called the “Masters of Tabriz” to assist him. The “Masters of Tabriz” are referenced in a Persian inscription above the mosque’s mihrab. Tabriz, a prominent artistic and cultural center in western Iran, was a particularly important channel through which Timurid influence arrived at the Green Mosque, as it was invaded by the Timurids throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Hacı İvaz Pasha was also reported to have “brought masters and men of skill from foreign lands” to help with the mosque’s construction, according to 15th-century historian Aşıkpaşazade. A Persian inscription inside the royal loge identifies Mehmet el-Mecnun as the artist who decorated the ceramics of the mosque.
The Green Mosque is now a popular tourist destination in Bursa, which was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.