Info Photos

Ottoman Soldiers (Janissaries)


The Istanbul district of Zeyrek is known throughout Turkey for its sloping streets and its antique wooden houses. From the high points of this district magnificent views of the Mosque of Soliman and the Golden Horn can be seen.

The, recently restored, Zeyrekhane Restaurant forms part of the complex belonging to the 12th century church of Christ Pantocrator, now converted into a mosque.
Originally, the building was a union of two churches and a chapel contsructed as mausoleums for the Comnenus Dynasty (1118). It was then used in similar purpose during the Paleologos Dynasty (1259-1453).

Janissaries (yeniçeri in Turkish), signifies “The New Soldiers”. Janissaries included childrens units within their ranks. Such childrens' units trained to be fighting soldiers and were not drawn from elite groups within the Ottoman Empire. Amongst their many responsibilities, Janissaries were charged with safeguarding and protecting the Ottoman Sultans; thus, they were deeply connected to the palace, being considered as the Praetoria Guard of the reigning Sultan.