September 12, 2015

1890 ROMANIA (Constanţa) - Grand Mosque of Constanța

In 1878, when it became part of the Kingdom of Romania (newly indepedendent), after five centuries of Ottoman rule almost uninterrupted, the Northern Dobrogea had a very diverse ethnic composition and a majority Muslim population. As homage to the Muslim community in Constanţa, Romania's most important port on the Black Sea, Romanian King Carol I commissioned in 1910 the construction of a great mosque, inaugurated in 1913. Even today, the mosque is referred to by Constanţa's Islamic community as the King's Mosque (Romanian: Geamia Regelui, Turkish: Kral camisi).

The Grand Mosque of Constanţa stands on the site of the former Mahmudia Mosque (Geamia Mahmudia), built in 1822 by Hafız Hüsseyin Pașa and named after Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II. The project was funded by the Romanian Government and entrepreneur Ion Neculcea, and finished construction in 1912. During the ceremony of inauguration, Sultan Mehmed V bestowed the Order of the Medjidie upon chief architect Victor Ştefănescu.

The mosque was built in Neo-Egyptian and Neo-Byzantine styles with elements of Neo-Romanesque architecture. Its designer, George Constantinescu, modeled the mosque after the Konya Mosque in Anatolia (Turkey). It was the first structure in Romania to be built using reinforced concrete. The main portal was constructed using stone from Dobrogea, while the door beneath was constructed from black marble inlaid with bronze. The minaret was built in Neo-Moorish style and has a height of 47m. The dome has a height of 25m and a diameter of 8m.

The mosque has a beautiful indoor mural. The interior houses a famous oriental rug, received as donation from Turkey. It comes from the island of Ada Kaleh and is over 200 years old. The carpet impresses by its size (9m x 16m in total 144 square meters) and the weight of over 490kg. This massive carpet, handmade in the famous handicraft center Hereke, in Turkey, and was owned by the Sultan Abdul Hamid.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the third set of a very extensive series, entitled Romanian Pottery, about which I wrote here.

Carol I Mosque - Wikipedia

Sender: Monica Nicolau
Sent from Chirnogeni (Constanţa / Romania), on 04.09.2012

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