The Pantokrator, also known as Molla Zeyrek Mosque, is one of the Byzantine churhes. The building, which was converted into a mosque during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II, dates back to the first quarter of the 12th century. Molla Zeyrek Mosque in its current desolate state is made up of three Byzantine churches. The building has two domes. After the conquest of Istanbul and until its conversion into a mosque, the surviving buildings of the Pantokrator were first converted into a madrasa. Sultan Mehmed I assigned Zeyrek Mehmet Efendi as the chief scholar, and it is his name that was given to this edifice and the district. The opening date of the madrasa in 1453 is accepted as the opening date of Istanbul University. Currently, the building is open for worship as a mosque, but this forms only a part of the entire building. The mosque and its complex are in a dilapidated state today.
Zeyrekhane, The Zeyrekhane is part of the Divan chain of restaurants located in Unkapanı in the direction of Aksaray, next to Molla Zeyrek Mosque. This is a foundation established by the Fatih Municipality and Rahmi Koç Museum and Culture Foundation. It was opened under the name of Zeyrekhane (House of Wisdom) after the restoration of the church of the Pontacrator (Molla Zeyrek Mosque), which was damaged by fires and earthquakes. The Zeyrekhane has a wonderful view of the Molla Zeyrek Mosque behind it, with Süleymaniye in the front, and the Golden Horn, Karaköy port, the Maiden’s Tower and Kadikoy. The interior design of the mosque, which was restored by remaining faithful to the historical position, consists of traditional Turkish motifs. The restaurant offers the specialties of classic Turskih cuisine. Out of respect for the nearby mosque, no alcoholic beverages are served. The expense of the meal is balanced by the picturesque view as well as the wonderful ambience of the location. Now let us continue the tour by turning towards Eyup before walking across the Unkapani Bridge. After passing Cibali, the Fener District lies ahead of us.