Şemsi Pasha

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For other things known as Şemsipaşa, usually named after him, see Şemsi.
"Shamsi Pasha" redirects here. For the Egyptian statesman, see Ali Shamsi Pasha.

Şemsi Ahmet Pasha (also Chamsi-Pasha; 1492 – 28 April 1580) was a prominent Ottoman nobleman and statesman who occupied numerous high-ranking political posts, serving at different stages as the Ottoman governor of Damascus, Rûm, Sivas, Anatolia and Rumelia, and subsequently succeeding Sokollu Mehmet Pasha as grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire in 1579. Paternally, he was a direct descendant of Khalid ibn al-Walid, the celebrated commander whose armies conquered Syria at the time of Muhammad in the 7th century. His mother was the granddaughter of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I, Ayşe Hümaşah Sultan.

Raised in the Imperial residence of the period, Topkapı Palace, as Grand Vizier, he charged renowned court architect Mimar Sinan with the task of building a mosque and adjoining complex near his main seat, the Şemsi Pasha Palace on the Bosphorus shoreline in Constantinople. The Şemsi Pasha Mosque is one of the smallest mosques to be commissioned by a Grand Vizier, and yet it is one of the most well-known mosques in city, due to a combination of its miniature dimensions and its waterfront location. It is mentioned as a chief example of Mimar Sinan's skill in organically blending architecture with the natural landscape.

During Şemsi Pasha's tenure as the Governor-General of Rumelia, it was reported that he left the capital for Sofia in 1565 with such pomp that the people of Constantinople who watched the spectacle of his lavishly clad retinue had never seen a beylerbey (Governor-General) display such 'majesty and grandeur.'

See also[edit]


  • Kuran, Aptullah. 1986. Mimar Sinan. Istanbul: Hürriyet Vakıf Yayınları, p. 193–196.
  • Gültekin, Gülbin. 1994. "Semsi Pasa Külliyesi." In Dünden Bugüne Istanbul Ansiklopedisi. Istanbul: Tarih Vakfi, VII, p. 158–159.
  • Necipoglu, Gülru. 2005. The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire. London: Reaktion Books, p. 452–498.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ottoman Governor of Damascus
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sokollu Mehmed Pasha
Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
12 October 1579 – 28 April 1580
Succeeded by
Lala Kara Mustafa Pasha