The complex was commissioned by Grand Vizier Great Sinan Pasha. The architect was Davud Aga, successor and student of Architect Sinan. According to the inscription on the fountain it was completed in 1594.
The complex is a distinguished example of classical period architecture. Within the complex there is a madrassah (school), a tomb and a fountain. The buildings were made of carefully cut kufaki stone and surrounded by walls with iron windows. In the corner of the walls there is a fountain (sebil) for water distribution.
The madrassah is made up of a rectangular courtyard surrounded by sixteen student rooms and a dershane (lecture room) attached to it. In the courtyard there is a fountain for ablution.
The tomb is more elegant outside and simpler from within. The stonework around the gutters draw attention. In the 18th century the garden outide the tomb became a graveyard for those who wanted to rest in this sacred and peaceful place of learning.
The fountain is today used as a bookshop with books in different languages and eloquent copies of the Qur’an. Inside the pillars have nice stonework called “muqarnas” and its dome has embossed plasterwork.
Today the madrassah is used by Hizmet Vakfi, a charity publishing copies of the Qur’an as well as books related to Islam.
Originally born in Albania (Topojani or Delvine) around 1520. He is usually called “Koca” in Turkish meaning great due to his age during his service as grand vizier. He served as grand vizier under Murad III. and Mehmed III.
With his elder brother Ayas Pasha’s assistance he entered the Royal College (Enderun). Under Sultan Suleyman he served in the palace as the meal supervisor. Later he served as Governor of Malatya first and then Egypt. In 1568 due to a revolt in Yemen he was put in charge of the army. He suppressed the revolt and joined together the split Ottoman district. Therefore he was entitled “Conqueror of Yemen”. During his return he performed pilgrimage in Mecca (1571).
This was a powerful time for the Ottoman government and following the conquest of Cyprus Tunisia also became Ottoman land. In 1572 Spanish navy took Tunisia and Sinan Pasha was ordered to lead the Navy to reconquer the land. Under his command legendary admiral Kilic Ali Pasha reconquered the land. Sinan Pasha was given a new title “Conqueror of Tunisia” as well as the rank of vizier.
Sinan Pasha was not just successful in military affairs but also in political and financial matters. He led peace talks with Iranian Shah Abbas as an example. He also inspected quality of coins and established new mints. Mines were run more efficiently with his regulations. He also had a great engineering project to join Black Sea and Gulf of Izmit using River Sakarya.
In 1593 he led a campaign against Austria with an important army force. This was the beginning of a long war until 1606. There were some victories in battles however the aimed conquest did not take place.
He became sick in 1596 and died a few days later (May Allah have mercy on him). He is buried in his tomb in Charshi Kapi area on the road leading to the palace.
His contemporary historian Tsalloniki says he was more than eighty years old when he died. He was also famous in repairing old charitable institutions, giving and receiving gifts and gaining wealth through spoils of war.
Great Sinan Pasha establihed a lot of charities in Arab countries and in the Balkans including schools, mosques, imarats (soup kitchens), fountains, schools for advanced Qur’an studies, hostels and public baths and donated a lot of income to these establishments.