The Gül Camii, whose name means Rose Mosque, started life as a Byzantine church whose exact origins are contested by scholars. There is a debate as to whether it was built in the 9th or 12th centuries, but popular legend has always held it to have been part of a nunnery dedicated to Saint Theodesia. It was converted into a mosque in the last decade of the 15th century and the classical minaret was added in 1766. The mosque was famously used as a place of prayer and vigil on the eve of the Ottoman Conquest of the city, when it was copiously decked out with roses, hence the origin of its name.
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