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28 July 2015  |  0 comment  |  Erk Acarer

Simit was born at the palace!

We can easily say that simit established a fast food tradition exlusive to Turkey.

Simit was born at the palace!

Looking at “simit palaces” invented in the recent times, you may think that this is an inconsistent situation.

Indeed, using simit, held in high esteem by the poor, and palace together seems like a remarkable contradiction. 

However, the palace and simit are directly related. Because simit was first made at the palace during the reign of Süleyman the Conqueror. Moreover, by a pasha… 

Şemsi Pasha, one of the viziers of Süleyman the Conqueror rolled up his sleeves and kneaded dough, perhaps because he was bored of state affairs, or because he was a gourmand and fleshy person. He spread the dough using a roller, shaped it like a round ring and put it in an oven.

From that day on, simit became an indispensable flavor of the court kitchen. After being held in high esteem as a court food for thirty years, simit was then included in the meals of mansions and reach people. About two centuries later, simit spread to the streets and mingled in with the people.

It is said that there was a great enmity between Şemsi Pasha, inventor of simit, who stood out with his bad-tempered nature, and Sokullu Mehmet Pasha, the grand vizier of the period.

One day, Şemsi Pasha made fun of the grand vizier saying “Birds shat on your social complex”. Even though he grew pale out of his anger, he only said, “Every venue open to the sky gets its share of birds”. Feeding from his competition with Sokullu, Şemsi Pasha planned to have a mosque built in his name soon afterwards. He met Mimar Sinan and wanted him to build a mosque in a place where no bird landed. 

Even though he was surprised by this odd request, Mimar Sinan started to look for such a place. Consequently, he found a place by the seaside in Üsküdar, where no bird came, since northern and western winds crossed there.

Şemsi Pasha Mosque by the seaside was opened to worship in 1580. The mosque is now in Şemsi Pasha district, on Şemsi Pasha Street. Known as the smallest social complex of Mimar Sinan, it is also called Kuşkonmaz (No Birds Land).

Beşiktaş, Taksim, Bakırköy and Üsküdar…

Centers of the city, fast food havens of the city…

Keep in mind that one of the sale points of simit, Turkey’s unique fast food, is in front of “Şemsi Pasha” or “No Birds Land” Mosque, built in the name of the vizier who invented it.  

May God bless Şemsi Pasha’s soul!

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