On our last trip to Macedonia, we drove across the border into Greece. The first town we entered was Florina, which is a small dusty town in the northern region of Greece.
The first thing we did, was google ‘things to do in Florina‘. Interestingly, whilst searching, my wife stumbled upon an interesting site. It did not look much, but sure possessed a lot of history.
Search results told us that there was a Mosque close by called Yakub Bey Mosque. So, we put on our Google Maps navigation and started walking that direction. When we arrived, all we came across was this:
To understand this structure, we have to rewind a little.
According to historians, this structure was once a part of a Mosque called Yakub Bey Mosque, also known as Carsi Cami (market mosque). This is something that we know from the travel narratives of Evliye Celebi, a famous Turkish traveller who was known for travelling the Ottoman World.
Originally constructed and established in the end of the 15th century (Ottoman period), the area consisted of a Mosque, a cemetery, and a Madrasa (religious school).
Located right at the heart of the community, the Mosque was ringed with markets, shops and adminsitration buildings. It was therefore known to be one of the oldest districts in the town of Florina.
All that remains today is a demolished remnant of the Mosque which is surreal to see, yet causes me to ask questions. I hope to research how it ended up like this. Therefore, if anyone has any information, I would appreciate it if you could provide me with anything that will help me figure out how on earth the Mosque ended up like this.
If in Florina, be sure to visit. The locals are well aware of their history and will therefore go out their way to guide you to the Mosque and provide you with useful information.