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The "Light of Osman" mosque was revolutionary when it was built in the middle of the 18th century. With the baroque style at its zenith in Europe, Sultan Mahmut I set to work, not without just a little resistance from the more traditional clergy. The architect, Simon Kalfa, found a "compromise" and incorporated the European baroque style to traditional Ottoman forms. The mosque was completed 8 years after it was begun by Mahmut's brother and successor, Osman II.

The irregular horseshoe-shape courtyard, shaded in plane trees and horse chestnuts, is alternatively a quiet oasis for contemplation or a bustling pathway leading to the frenzy of the Grand Bazaar. It all depends upon the time of day you visit (or day: the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sun), or whether it's high tourist season. At one time, the courtyard was an impromptu staging area for the Anatolian troubadours, called asiklar (Turkish for lover, but more appropriate would be lovelorn).