Royal Mosques and Imarets

  • Like the ancient Romans, they maintained a well organized military to oversee the construction and maintenance of public works. The Ottomans promoted a rich urban life as well, building markets, baths and great religious complexes.
  • Ottoman architects initially borrowed their architectural models from Armenian churches, beehive domes of Seljuk tombs, and Persian arcades.
  • The Orhan Gazi Cami in Bursa in 13939 overlooking the central markets, followed the basic reverse T lan of early Otoman royal mosques. The masonry resembed Byzantine craft, with altering bands of brick and limestone, similar to Roman opus mixtum.
  • Mihrab – the niche oriented to Mecca.
  • The reversed T mosque type reappeared in Yeşil Cami. Unlike the eccentric details on Orhan’s mosque, they matched all of the elements proportionally and repeated them serially.
  • The Yeşil Cami belonged to a religious enclave or imaret a charitale instution introduced by the Ottomans during the 14th century. Imarets usually included a cami a turbe one or more madrasas, a hammam.
  • Külliye=to signify the community functions of the complex.
  • The great congregational mosque of Bursa, the Ulu Cami, differed in type from the reverse T royal mosques. It followed the hypostyle model found throughout Southwest Asia.
  • The square bay with a rounded dome became the standard unit of Ottoman architecture.

Constantinople Becomes Istanbul

  • The Ottoman goal of an Islamic Roman Empire required the capture of Constantinople.
  • To stimulate merchant activity, Fatih built the markets of Kapalı Çarşı, which, like the Koza Han in Bursa, had square bays capped with rounded lead covered dome.
  • Fatih converted the venerrable Palatine church(Hagia Sophia) into a royal mosque, adding a minaret. He inserted into its eastern apse a mihrab, slightly askew from the main axis, to point toward Mecca.
  • The Fatih Cami rose over the city with a grand hemispherical dome only a few meters less in diameter than that of Hagia Sophia. Two slender minarets stood at the front corners of the mosque. The voussoirs alternated red and white masonry, repeating  the familiar pattern of ablaq.
  • The Fatih Cami occupied the center of a vast, perfectly square plaza. On the north and south sides stood sets of eight madrasas, in perfect bilateral symmetry, serving for the study of canonical law or sharia.
  • Fatih intended the imaret as a welfare institution that demonstrated the benefits of the Ottoman peace.
  • The Topkapı Saray complex offered a more secluded residence, with fortified walls surrounfing a hilly, wooded park. The sultan’s private realm appeared the antithesis of European palaces: willfully asymmetrical and more like a garden than a building. The scattering of its parts, the strong connection to natural features and the framed views to Bosporus landscapes made Topkapı closer to a Chinese scholars’ garden than to the geometrically coordinated Italian plazzo.
  • Topkapı was organized on a succession of three courts., wrapped the edges of the court with an arcade od pointed arches. He used ancient columns and capped them with freshly sculpted muqarna style capitals.
  • The most important political space in Topkapı, the Diwan comprised a succession of three domed halls, skirted by an unassuming Lshaped portico. Behind the Diwan lay the harem, an intricate collection of small courts and densely packed chambers on three levels.

Sinan and the Challenge of Hagia Sophia

  • An imaret in honor of Hürrem, the Haseki Hürrem complex, took a site in the western part of the city wwhere the road branched off from the Mese toward the Golden Gate. Sinan covered the mosque with a single hemisphericaldome.
  • The Mihrümah Cami at the Edirne Gate carried one of Sinan’s most splendid domes. In a similar mindset to Gothic master builders, Sinan attempted to eliminate the weight of bearing walls, allowing great expanses of fenestration under the four parabaloid supporting arches. ts dazzling luminosity rivals Ste-Chapelle.
  • Şehzade Cami appeared exceptionally harmonious with the central dome with four semidomes, drawing upon earlier works inspired by Hagia Sophia such as Fatih Cami.
  • Süleymaniye Cami had a central dome nearly as large as the Byzantine prototype, flanked by two semidomes. As at Şehzade Cami, four octogonal buttress towers rose at the corners of the dome. Like the Gothic pinnacles, they served as counterweights over the four piers that carry the major loads of the dome. The two sets of minarets, the outer ones with two balconies and the taller inner ones with three, harmonize with the pyramidal massing of the dome. On the two sides without semidomes the walls of the arched elevations were punctured by three rows of windows, similar of the mosque exuded an optimistic sense of light and openness.
  • Like the Fatih Cami, Süleyman’s mosque dominated a vast terraced space. Seven madrasas held the edges, each with a square courtyard. A variety of entries from different levels brought one into the orderly precinct surrounding the mosque.
  • Sinan built the mosque Selimiye in Edirne. The dome spread slightly larger than Hagia Sophia and the minarets were among the tallest of all Islam. Sinan designed the mihrab as a semienclosedd chamber covered with a semidome, reminiscent of the mosques of al-Andalus. Sinan articulated the facade in the courtyard with an alternating rhythm of wide and narrow bays, intimating a kind of Ottoman mannerism.
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