Istanbul Caferaga Madrasah



Located in Istanbul, Turkey, the Caferaga Madrasah or Cafer Aga Madrasa (Turkish: Caferaga Medresesi) is a former madrasah. In 1559, during the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (1520–66), Cafer Aga asked Mimar Sinan to build it.

In 1989, the madrasah was renovated by the Turkish Cultural Service Foundation into a tourist center where traditional Turkish handicrafts like calligraphy, ceramics, jewelry, and so on are taught, made, and sold in 15 classrooms or exhibition rooms, a large salon, and a garden. The Foundation for the Service of Turkish Culture (which manages the center) has built its reputation as a major hub for classical arts in Turkey. At the end of each school year, students from all of the different art classes (ceramics, mosaics, etc.) participate in a group exhibition to showcase their best work from the year.

The madrasah is near both the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace; from the narrow street, you can descend to the Hagia Sophia. The original classrooms were clustered around a central courtyard, which is reached through the building’s main entrance. Inside, you’ll find a restaurant serving authentic Turkish cuisine.

The entire Sultanhamet neighborhood in which the madrasah is found is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


In 1559, Cafer Aga, one of the Babüssaade aghas (1520–1566), asked Mimar Sinan (Koca Sinan) to build the Caferaga Madrasa. This was during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.

In 1989, the Turkish Culture Service Foundation fixed up the madrasah. This made it one of the independent madrasahs that still exist today, although they required maintenance.

Today, the building is a popular place for both locals and people from all over the world who want to learn about and experience traditional Turkish art. It has 15 art workshops, a large hall, and a quiet courtyard.


At the Caferaa Madrasah, workshops are held to introduce, teach, and spread traditional Turkish arts to new generations, as well as to train new artists and make good productions.

Studying traditional Turkish arts and music at a madrasa is like breathing new life into an ancient building.

Regular Participation in the Arts

They’ve been working with tour companies and guides for years to give visitors daily art classes.

In the studios, which are very important for introducing traditional Turkish arts to people outside of Turkey, they hope to make original works that they can be proud to show off in their home countries.


An important part of Istanbul’s cultural fabric is represented by the Caferaa Madrasa, which can be found on the Historic Peninsula. The madrasah still offers its original services and also has art shows and sales of both modern and traditional art.
Meetings of private foundations and associations are held in the large hall, and at the end of each semester, an art exhibition by students adds a different kind of buzz to the space.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Caferaga Madrasah


Q: What is the Caferaga Madrasah?

A: The Caferaga Madrasah is a religious and historical Islamic school in Istanbul, Turkey.


Q: When was the Caferaga Madrasah built?

A: The Caferaga Madrasah was built in the 16th century.


Q: Who built the Caferaga Madrasah?

A: Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan built the Caferaga Madrasah. Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, asked him to do so.


Q: What is the significance of the Caferaga Madrasah?

A: The Caferaga Madrasah is thought to be one of the best examples of Ottoman architecture in Istanbul. It is also an important part of the city’s cultural history.


Q: What are the main features of the Caferaga Madrasah?

A: The Caferaga Madrasah features a central courtyard, a mosque, and classrooms for students. It is known for its intricate tilework and calligraphy.


Q: Is the Caferaga Madrasah still used as a school today?

A: No, the Caferaga Madrasah is no longer used as a school, but it is open to visitors as a museum.


Q: How much does it cost to enter the Caferaga Madrasah?

A: The cost of admission to the Caferaga Madrasah varies and may be subject to change. It is best to check with the museum for the most up-to-date information.


Q: What are the visiting hours for the Caferaga Madrasah?

A: Visiting hours for the Caferaga Madrasah may vary, and it is best to check with the museum for the most up-to-date information.


Q: Are guided tours available at the Caferaga Madrasah?

A: Yes, guided tours of the Caferaga Madrasah may be available. It is best to check with the museum for more information.


Q: Is photography allowed inside the Caferaga Madrasah?

A: Photography policies may vary, and it is best to check with the museum before visiting. Some museums may allow photography, but with restrictions.


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Map of Caferaga Madrasah

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