Restored 17th-Century Ottoman Mosque in Athens Opens to Visitors

The 17th century Fethiye Mosque, located at the ancient Roman Agora in central Athens has been restored.

Without cracks in the walls and on the roof, it opens with its first exhibition presenting the history of the monument and the restoration work that has taken place in recent years.

The Greek Ministry of Culture says that more exhibitions are planned in the near future.

The mosque was built on the ruins of a Christian basilica from the middle Byzantine period (8th/9th centuries).

The Christian church was converted into a mosque in 1456/58, soon after the Ottoman conquest of the Duchy of Athens, to coincide with the visit to the city by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1458.

During Ottoman times, it was commonly known as the “Wheatmarket Mosque”. During the brief occupation of the city by the Venetian forces in the Morean War (October 1687 – May 1688), the mosque was converted by the Venetians into a Catholic church, dedicated to Dionysius the Areopagite.

Following the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, in 1824 the disused mosque was used as a school by the Filomousos Eteria of Athens. At about the same time, or shortly after the end of the independence war, the mosque’s minaret was torn down.

From 1834 and on, after Greece gained its independence, and until the early 20th century, it was used successively as a barracks, a military prison and finally as a military bakery, at which point additions were made to the building to house the bakery’s kilns.

Since the early 20th century it is used mostly as a storage place for various finds from the excavations in the Agora and the Acropolis of Athens.

In autumn 2010, the Greek Ministry of Culture ordered the emptying of the building from the various antiquities stored there, and signalled the beginning of the process to restore it and open it to the public

With information from Wikipedia