Gül Baba – called alse the ‘father of roses’- was an Ottoman Bektashi dervish, poet and companion of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent who took part in a number of Ottoman invasions of Europe. He is thought to have died in Buda during the first Muslim religious ceremony held after the Ottoman victory of 1541, or alternatively to have been killed during fighting below the walls of the city on August 21, 1541. Suleiman, who was also Caliph, declared him patron saint of the city and is reputed to have been one of the coffin bearers.
The octagonal tomb (türbe) is located for a short but steep walk from the Margaret Bridge in Buda. The tomb was built by Pasha Mehmed Paşa, beylerbey of Buda, between 1543 and 1548 and has a shallow dome covered with lead plates and wooden tiles. It was left undamaged when the Habsburg armies captured the area during the Second Battle of Buda in 1686, but was converted into a Roman Catholic chapel by the Jesuits, who renamed it “St Joseph’s Chapel”. The land later came under the ownership of János Wagner, who built up his villa here, but maintained the site and allowed access to Muslim pilgrims coming from the Ottoman Empire. In 1885, the Ottoman government commissioned a Hungarian engineer to restore the tomb and, when the work was completed in 1914, it was declared a national monument. The site was restored again in the 1960’s and ultimately in 1987 when an Islamic Centre and Mosque were built surrounding it. The new buildings flank the türbe to the right and left. The building to the south of the türbe is a mosque, covered by three domes, all resting on drums of various heights, that in the centre being taller than the lateral ones. Due to the cold climate of the country the mosque is entirely covered and is rectangular in shape. Since colour is very much in evidence both on the exterior and interior of the building, it is envisaged that the mihrab was coated with Zsolnay tiles and framed by a rectangular border containing Quranic inscription. The türbe is now the property of the Republic of Turkey.