About the Elite Turkish Soldier's MosqueAt th Chania port, across the Venetian Lighthouse, is the Janissaries Mosque, with its multiple domes. This mosque was used in its past by the elite Turkish soldiers of the Ottoman Empire on the island.
The Janissaries served in the standing army of the empirical army for the Ottoman Empire. As professional soldiers they were stationed in Chania, and ruled the island on behalf of the Sultan. They needed a mosque, and this is what you see today. Of course it was also used by Muslim Turks and others who lived in the area.
Who were the Janissaries?Janissaries were infantrymen of the Ottoman army, or one of the elite units of the Ottoman army. They served the Ottoman Empire from the time the army was assembled in the 14th century until it was dissolved in 1826 by the Sultan for their involvement in a rebellion against the empire.
The first collection of Janissaries were from descendants of prisoners of war and Ottoman slaves. Like the Mamluks before them, the Janissaries also drafted only teenagers who not Muslim, strong, and 15 years and older. They were Christians who were forced to convert to Islam, on their own accord, to be allowed to draft them to the unit.
The Janissaries were the first unit in the Ottoman Empire's standing army, their loyalty was guaranteed because of their non-Muslim status, they had neither the ability nor the will to rebel against the Sultan, unlike other possible Muslim unites.
In addition, the Janissaries wanted to prove their loyalty to Islam. The fact that many Turks did not want to in the infantry unit for its inferior image compared to the cavalry, also helped.
The salaries and stipends the Janissaries received were excellent, and due to their vitality to the Sultan, they lived a life of abundance and comfort. But over the next few centuries they gained strength and reached a level that they controlled the government and even replaced sultans.