The Öziçeli Hacci Ibrahim Djami, this 400-year old former Turk prayer house, today functions as a museum. The building was built during one of the busiest periods in the history of the town of Esztergom. This well-preserved and renovated Djami is on the most distant north-westerly edge of the former Ottoman Empire.
The building was built during the 130-year Ottoman occupation of Esztergom (1543-1595 and 1605-1683) in the first half of the 1600s and there are no others like it today in Hungary. Due to the unique characteristics of the site, during the planning phase the architect decided to abandon the traditional Djami form and, as a result, for quite some time no one suspected that centuries earlier the building used to be a Turkish Djami. This changed in 1998, when the building was acquired by Rosenberg Hungária Kft and researchers were given the opportunity to examine the building (already quite dilapidated) up close.
As a result, the Djami opened its doors to the public once again in 2007, this time around as a museum. Thanks to thorough research and expert renovation, visitors today can see the building almost completely restored to its former glory.
The museum is much more than an interesting building, it also shows the history of Esztergom in the Ottoman era to young and old visitors alike. Today the former prayer hall is the home of temporary exhibitions in a variety of subjects. In addition, the building, which has wonderful acoustics and is located on the Northern side of Water Town, regularly hosts science and art presentations and lectures.
What makes the Djami unique is the fact that it was most likely already an attraction in the Ottoman era, due to the event that took place there. In 1543, it was through the Small Gate on the Water Town section of the town wall that the first three Spahis of Sultan Suleiman’s army entered the Castle of Esztergom, which subsequently led to the Turks’ conquering Esztergom for the first time (1543-1595). This was a deed that was not forgotten after the Sultan’s death, and this is most probably why a commemorative plaque was placed over the Small Gate in the first half of the 1600s, and why the Djami was raised over the gate as testimony to the conquest.