The reconstruction of Constantinople under the initiative of Mehmed II (1429-1481) mirrored, and was an integral part of, the transition of the expanding Ottoman state into a centralized empire. Under Mehmed's rule the city became the object of a grand urban project which aimed not only at reviving the empty and dilapidated Byzantine city, but at endowing it with the civil, religious, intellectual, and commercial centers, the monumental facade and the working structure befitting the imperial capital.
This paper investigates the role of the early vizierial foundations in the formation of the Ottoman capital. The establishment of socio-religious complexes by Mahmud Pasha, Rum Mehmed Pasha and Murad Pasha have to date been discussed mostly in relation to their function as urban nuclei of emerging districts. There are, however, further aspects to these undertakings which render them essential in the making of the Ottoman capital, as well as in the initiation of a new pattern of architectural patronage by the ruling elite. With their prominent sites, architectural features, and extensive functions, the vizierial foundations contributed to the formation of spaces representing Ottoman rule in the city. At the same time, together with the sultanic undertakings, they established the patterns of use of urban space which would shape the city in the following centuries. Thus, the new military elite of the centralized state partook in the construction of Istanbul as the locus of the Ottoman Empire.