There isn’t a specific information regarding when or by whom Arab Mosque was constructed. A legend says, in 715 AD, Arab Mosque was built by Arabs during the siege of Constantinople. The Arab army was only able to capture the Galata region for a while. After the Arabs left Istanbul, the mosque was converted into a church. After the conquest in 1453, it started to serve as a mosque once more.
What we know from historical evidences is, in 12th century, during the reign of Latin Empire in Istanbul, there was a church dedicated to St. Paul in the same site. The Church of St. Paul constructed in squared plan like Italian elders, and it served the Genoese community that were settled in Galata region.
Even in the sign located at the entrance of Mosque (which is full of grammatical and vocabulary errors), the first story is written as the “History of Arab Mosque”. No need to blame anyone, it sounds much more catchy.
Soon after the Ottoman conquest, Sultan Mehmed II transformed the church into a mosque which was called Galata Mosque. In 1492, Andalusian Arabs, who fled from Spanish invasion, migrated to Galata. After migrants were settled, the mosque became known as Arab Mosque.
Step inside to see its decorated wooden ceiling and wooden pillars. The squared minaret of Arab Mosque is one of the most unique examples of all minarets in Istanbul.