The Et'hem Bey Mosque construction was started in 1791 or 1794 by Molla Bey and it was finished in 1819 or 1821 by his son Haxhi Ethem Bey, grand-grandson of Sulejman Pasha.
At the time it was built it was part of complex buildings that compose the historical center of Tirana. In front of mosque was the old Bazaar, in east the Sulejman Pasha Mosque, which was built on 1614 and destroyed during World War II, and in the north-west the Karapici mosque.
During the totalitarianism of the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, the mosque was closed. On January 18, 1991, despite opposition from communist authorities, 10,000 people entered carrying flags. This was at the onset of the fall of communism in Albania. The event was a milestone in the rebirth of religious freedom in Albania.
The Mosque today, constitutes of an architectural complex together with the Clock Tower of Tirana. Tours of the mosque are given daily, though not during prayer service. Visitors must take their shoes off before entering the inner room.
The Mosque is composed by prayer hall, a portico that surrounds its north and the minaret. On the north side is the entrance to the prayer hall, which is a squared plan and is constructed in a unique volume. It is covered with dome and the dome is semi-spherical and has no windows. The frescoes of the mosque depict trees, waterfalls and bridges; still life paintings are a rarity in Islamic art.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.