Do you know which iconic building of Budapest celebrates its 470th anniversary in 2018?
The building is the octagonal tomb, surrounded by rose gardens, of an Ottoman dervish, poet and the companion of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who took part in a number of Ottoman invasions of Europe.
The turbe (Turkish word for “tomb”) was built by Mehmed Paşa, beylerbeyi of Buda between 1543 and 1548 and wears the name of the poet, Gül Baba, who is also known as the “Father of Roses,” a literal translation of the meaning of his name in Turkish. Rumor has it that he was the one to introduce the flower to the country.
Gül Baba’s octagonal turbe is located on Mecset (Mosque) Street in Budapest, a short but steep walk from the Margaret Bridge on the magnificent Gül Baba street, in the district of Rózsadomb (Rose Hill).
It was converted into a Roman Catholic chapel by the Jesuits and renamed to “St Joseph’s Chapel” after the Ottoman invasion of Buda.
In 1885, the Ottoman government commissioned a Hungarian engineer to restore the tomb and, when work was completed in 1914, it was declared a national monument. Its first renovation as a monument was completed exactly 100 years ago, in 1918.
In 1987 the building became an Islamic Center and Mosque, completed with a library and museum with the help of government funds. The buildings were designed by Dr. Basil Al Bayati and follow a traditional Ottoman style. It is now the property of the Republic of Turkey.