chapter  9
26 Pages

Around Beyazit and Şehzade Başi

SomefewhundredmetersfartherondownOrdu Caddesiandonthesamesideofthestreetwecometothe kUlliyeofRagtpPa§a.Thisdelightfullittlecomplexwas foundedin1762byRag~pPru}a,GrandVezirinthereig11 ofMustafaill.ThearchitectseemstohavebeenMehmet TahirAga,whosemasterpiece,LaleliCamii,isalittlefarther downOrduCaddesiandontheoppositesideofthe avenue.Weenterthroughagateontopofwhichisa mektep,orprimaryschool,nowusedasachildren'slibrary. Acrossthecourtyard,st<rroundedbyanattractivegarden, isthemainlibrary;thishasbeenrestoredinrecentyean andisnowonceagainservingitsoriginalpurpose.From thecourtyardaflightofstepsleadstoadomedlobby whichopensintothereading-room.Thisissquare,the centralspacebeingcoveredbyadomesupportedonfour columns;betweenthese,beautifulbronzegrillsformakind ofcageinwhicharekeptthebooksandmanuscriptsRound


the sides of this vaulted and domed room are chairs and tables for reading. The walls are revetted in blue and white tiles, either of European manufacture or strongly under European influence, but charming nevertheless. In the garden, which is separated from the courtyard by fine bronze grills, is the pretty open ttirbe of the founder. Rag1p

Pa~, who was Grand Vezir from 1757 until 1763, is considered to have been the last of the great men to hold that office, comparable in stature to men like Sokollu Mehmet Pa§a and the Rag1p Pa§a was also the best poet of his time and composed some of the most apt and witty of the chronograms inscribed on the street-fountains of Istanbul. His little klilliye, though clearly baroque in detail, has a classic simplicity which recalls that of the Koprillii complex on the Second Hill.