Near the bridge, where people don’t just pass by each other, but stop to talk to each other, near the bridge that sometimes divides different worlds and destinies, here today and who knows for how long, the past and the present come together.
Isaac Celebi Ibn Isa mosque was built in 1506, and it is one of the oldest protected mosques in Bitola.
Across from the Clock Tower and the Big Bezisten (Covered Bazaar), this mosque with its almost 50-meter-high minaret, simply dominates the area. This Mosque used to be a part of a big “vakaf” (property) of the donor who in addition to this mosque built a “medressa”, “mectab”, 103 stores, vineyards, 20 watermills and many other objects. All this property was supposed to be maintained by the income from his stores in the Bazaar, as well as from the incomes of the other parts of his property.
This single-room under-dome mosque, surrounded with always nurtured plants, represented a real resting place for the soul of its donor, but as well as to the believers that come here to say their prayers or simply to hear God’s words. Built in a “cloisonné” technique, where the cut stones and bricks alternate, we can see the unusual but attractive appearance of this important object.
The entrance of the object actually represents an entrance within the double closed porch of the mosque, which, with its vastness only announces the big interior of the mosque. The four pillars, resting on a high stone pedestals ends with identical capitals. This pillars that dominate the room are the main decorative element in the porch. The main portal is situated on the northwest wall of the porch. Through this entrance the believers with their soundless steps, stepping slowly and calmly, enter into the prayer space. There they are welcomed by the luxurious, richly painted decorations, on which the breaking rays dance on the numerous crystal pieces of the chandeliers, dancing the eternal game of light and shadows.
Numerous decorative elements are also present on the “mihrab”, the “mimbar” but on the “kjuirs” too. The decoration of these elements is usually geometrical without disturbing the total ambience of the mosque.
The game of the colours and shapes is reflected in every single part of the mosque. The change of grey - black, blue, gold with a stronger cobalt - blue, dark - green, dark - red colours, gives a distinctive uniqueness to this mosque.
Its characteristics cannot be complete if we don’t mention the gold-plated “Levha” in the shape of disk, which was a gift from the Sultan Reshad V, and which is even today kept with great appreciation.
Text: Meri Stojanova
NI Institute and Museum Bitola