The Fatih Mosque has a lovely interior like many Turkish mosques, but the primary importance of this mosque is its illustrious permanent resident, Fatih Mehmet the Conqueror.
The current mosque and surrounding complex were constructed in 1771 over the rubble of the original that collapsed in the earthquake of 1766. The original Fatih Mosque and complex (külliye) were built on the orders of Sultan Fatih Mehmet, who conquered Constantinople in 1453.
The Imperial Fatih Mosque was constructed between 1462 and 1470. Wanting a monument more spectacular than that of Ayasofya (Hagia Sofia), the sultan cut off the hands of the architect when the Fatih Mosque failed to surpass the height of the church, despite its position atop the fourth of the seven hills of Istanbul.
The mosque complex included a caravansary, a hospital, several hamams, the kitchens, and a market, which combined to form a university that instructed up to 1,000 students at any given time.
The complex was restored by Bayezit II following an earthquake in 1509 but it was severely damaged in the 1766 earthquake. Except for the mihrab, the medreses (schools), and the inner courtyard, the damaged complex was demolished under Mustafa III and the new construction was completed in 1771.
The Fatih Mosque that stands today has similarities to the classical mosques of the 16th century, with its tall central dome held by semi-domes on all four sides. The decorative painting of the interior reflects the baroque influence on 18th century Ottoman architecture.
The tombs of Mehmet II and his wife are located in front of the mihrab wall.
The Fatih Mosque was built over the site of the Church of the Holy Apostles. Reused building materials from the church, such as column pieces and stone blocks of the foundations, have been identified in the courtyard of the Fatih Mosque.
Each Wednesday the area around the mosque is filled with a busy street market.