aki1North and west of Haydarpaşa/Kadıköy sprawls the vast Karacaahmet Cemetery, said to cover an area of three square km and to accommodate some one million graves. The details may be lost in time but it is thought to date back to at least the 14th century. 

At the edge of the cemetery on Nuh Kurusu Caddesi stands the new Şakirin Cami, designed by Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu, a woman better known for her work on high-society restaurants, and completed in 2011.

With its sweeping Guggenheim-style dome, its arched mihrab of turquoise and gold, and a chandelier of dripping plastic, it was always going to have the traditionalists up in arms. But at a time when most new mosque designs simply parody Sinan motifs in cheap concrete it’s a joy to be able to point to at least one 21st-century mosque that stands out as a true original.


A little further down Nuh Kuyusu Caddesi heading back towards Kadıköy lies the Alevi section of the cemetery; to find it look for the Mihrişah Valide Çeşmesi (fountain) by the roadside. The 13th-century Islamic mystic Karaca Ahmet is buried in a shrine near the road which is attached to a large and active cemevi, an Alevi place of worship. A tunic made of rope that is believed to have belonged to him is on display beside his tomb.

Amid the graves nearby is one of the city's most unlikely monuments, a shrine to a horse on which Karaca Ahmet is believed to have arrived in Anatolia from Horasan on the Afghan/Iranian border. To this day people still come here to scatter oats and light candles in its memory. 

If you head along Nuh Kuyusu Caddesi in the opposite direction you will come to the old Armenian cemetery where members of the Balyan family of architects were buried. 

Transport info

You can get to the Şakirin Cami and the Karaca Ahmet shrine by bus from beside Kadıköy ferry terminal. 

Nearby areas






aki3Believers stick stones to the columns surrounding the shrine of Karaca Ahmet's horse


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