4.614 | Fall 2002 | Undergraduate

Religious Architecture and Islamic Cultures

Lecture Notes

16. Religious Architecture of Anatolia (14th-15th Century)

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The Ottomans: A Turkish dynasty named after Ghazi Osman, who established a small principality in the northwestern corner of Anatolia in the 13th century. The Ottomans fulfilled an Islamic dream in conquering Constantinople (Istanbul) and formed the largest empire of its time which comprised the Balkans, Greece, Anatolia, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, the Holy Cities of Arabia, Algeria, and Tunisia. The empire lasted until 1924. The early Ottomans had a close relationship with sufis and dervishes, but the building of an Islamic empire brought the ulema class to the forefront. Early Ottoman religious architecture reflects the balancing of traditional Orthodox themes with the mystical sufi ones in its forms and functions.

Ghazi: Warrior or conqueror, used both as a title and as a means of attracting Turkomans to fight for the faith and for the expanding principality.

Akhi: Member of the Sufi network that Islamized Anatolia and formed the religious counterpart to the warrior class.

Imaret: Soup kitchen, it was one of the major charitable units in any religious Ottoman complex.

Tabkhane: Hospice, sometimes attached to a mosque for the free lodging of wandering dervishes and travelers.


Yesil Cami (Green Mosque) at Iznik

(1378-91). A single dome mosque built by the vizir Hayreddin Pasha. It has part of the central dome supported on columns, which announces the future development of Ottoman mosques.

Üç Serefeli Cami at Edirne

(1438-47): Built by Murat II, it is a turning point in Ottoman architecture: a hypostyle mosque with a large, domed maqsura that dominates both the interior space and exterior profile of the mosque.

Yesil (Green) Complex at Bursa

(1412-20). An urban charitable complex which comprises a mosque, a türbe, a hammam, and an imaret. It was built by Mehmet I. Superior example of the use of Iznik tiles.

Isa Bey Mosque, Selçuk

(1375). Like the Mosque of Dunaysir, it shows the influence of the venerated model (here the Damascus Mosque) in new architectural developments in Anatolia, but still emphasizes the role of domes (two in this case) in indetifying religious architecture.

Hüdavendigar Complex, Bursa

(1366-86). A multiple iwan zawiya-mosque topped by a madrasa. It was built by Murad I who extended the empire into Europe, organized it with the help of the ulema class (hence the madrasa) and introduced the Janissaries system.

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Fall 2002
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