Ottoman Architecture in the early period was expressed in various types of buildings, such as mosque, madrasah, hospital, tomb, hotel-caravanserai, covered bazaar and Turkish bath. Until the conquest of Istanbul, the examples of this architecture were found densely in centers such as Iznik, Bursa and Edirne. Iznik was the city where the first important buildings were erected. These buildings were the precursors of a new style, which shall later evolve into Ottoman architecture. Following Iznik and Bursa, fascinating examples of architecture adorned Edirne soon.
Characteristics of the architecture of this period are brick or stone walls, extended space in mosques by attaching a dome or half-dome to the main dome on the direction of prayer and establishing an upside down T (┴) plan scheme with the rooms on each sides all opening to the middle room. Other buildings such as madrasah, hospital, tomb, hotel, Turkish bath were built as well as mosques.
These buildings were embellished with stone, brick, plaster and china. Furthermore, they included pencil works, wooden works especially in door and window shutters and in minbar, and some metal works in door and window shutters and window bars.
Orhan Gazi Period
Hacı Ozbek Mosque
Built in 1333, it is the oldest known Ottoman building in Iznik. As typical of the Ottoman architecture in the early period, the walls were made out of bricks and stones. The place shaped as a square is covered by a single dome of prismatic triangles. Last room of meeting is not original.
Bilecik Orhan Mosque
Dated as early as the first half of the 14th century, this building has a dome with a 9,5 meter diameter, which is installed on sharp arches with an octagonal rim. The space under this dome was extended on four directions with terraces of 2,40 meters of depth. This application was an important step in extension of the central dome.
Bilecik Orhan Hospice
Ascending on the opposite skirts of Orhan Mosque, this building has walls which are composed of three rows of stone and three rows of brick. The hospice consisted of two consecutive middle areas each with a dome and of parallel side spaces, which was later destroyed, and of a portico of five rooms, which was also destroyed. Some traces of malakari (plasterwork) trimming can still be seen on the building.
Iznik Orhan Mosque
Built in 1325, the mosque resembles the Orhan Gazi Hospice in Bilecik in planning. Therefore, with the Iznik Orhan Mosque emerges the reverse T ( ┴ ) mosque scheme with side rooms and angles. This plan was indeed developed in the mosques in Bursa.
Iznik Nilufer Hatun Hospice
It was built in1338 after Nilufer Hatun, the mother of Murat I (Hudavendigar). The construction of the walls consisted of a row of dark colored limestone and three rows of red bricks. The great dome with bright lanterns and prismatic triangles was extended backwards as long as two small domes. With the low domes on each side of the great dome close to the entrance, the plan has become the reverse T (┴). The portico with 5 rooms in front of the entrance was covered with a small vault in the middle and two vaults on both sides. Three rows of porcupine eaves and the tiles of the domes enrich the visual effect of the outer face of the building.
Bursa Alâeddin Mosque
Dating back to 1326, the building is covered with a single dome on prismatic triangles. Final communion place with three rooms in front is covered with a dome in the middle and vaults on each side. The fountain with a sharp arch, adjacent to the yard of the mosque is important as it is the oldest fountain descending from the Ottoman era.
Bursa Orhan Mosque
Dating back to 1339, this mosque was built at the time of Orhan Gazi. It has walls consisting of two tows of brick and a row of stone. It is the first example to the buildings based of reverse T (┴) plan scheme. On the axis extending from the entrance to the mihrab, two consecutive domes and smaller domes on each side has rendered the plan of the main space a reverse T (┴). On each of the two corners of the entrance side there is a long vaulted room, while a small dome and transition spaces take place in the middle. There are porcupine eaves on the upper side. The mosque was restored in 1904, during the reign of Abdulhamit II.
Bursa Orhan Turkish Bath
Built by Orhan Gazi, the double bath has been an example to the later baths with its basic plan scheme. Men’s cooling room is covered with a dome with a diameter of 12 meters. The warming room and hot room with its hot cabins with four terraces and domes on the corners define the division of the classical architecture of Turkish baths. Entrances to the men’s and women’s baths are located on different sides.
Built at the time of Orhan Gazi, Emir Inn later became an example to the urban inns in Bursa. Its walls are built with stones and bricks. Its plan consisting of porticos with sharp arches ascending on two floors around the square shaped yard and rooms behind the porticos emerged here as a prototype. It meets the whole needs of an inn in a city with its rooms with windows and heaters, stock rooms and shops.
Suleyman Pasha Madrasah
It was built by Suleyman Pasha, the son of Orhan Gazi in Iznik. With rubble walls and arches of three rows of brick and a row of stone in the porticos, the building consists of 11 rooms behind porticos, shaped in U and a classroom. The portico consisting of 8 sections, the rooms and the classroom are each covered with a dome. The classroom, larger than the other rooms, is located in an asymmetric way.
Lala Sahin Pasha Madrasah
Built in 1339 in Bursa, this building bears the traces of the tradition of Seljuk madrasahs. A tromp with a small pond beneath opens to a deep terrace. There are 4 rooms on one side, and 3 rooms on the other.
Murat I Period
Iznik Yesil Mosque
Completed between 1378 and 1392, the building is the most important Ottoman architectural work in Iznik. Covered with marble blocks from inside and outside, the mosque has two rows of windows on the eastern and western faces, which later became an example to the mosques in Bursa. The main dome, with a diameter of 11 meters, is shaped as a hemisphere and is located on prismatic triangles. Here, the space under a single dome is extended towards the entrance. A triple configuration, organized with vaults with mirrors on the sides and the dome in the middle gives the square building a quadrangle character. This was a new trial in extending the inner space. The final congregation place, which is deep and opened to each side with two arches, with three rooms, is closed with a dome of octagonal rim, carried by vaults with mirrors on the sides and by two deep arches in the middle. The brick minaret of the mosque, built according to the Seljuk architecture, is elaborated with green, turquoise, yellow and purple china, hence the name. Iznik Yesil Mosque is a transition to the Ottoman style, which is assumed to have emerged from Seljuk architecture.
Yakup Celebi Hospice
Built by Yakup Celebi, the son of Murat I (Hudavendigar) in Iznik, the hospice has rubble walls, including bricks at certain places. It resembles the Nilufer Hatun Hospice in its planning. Lateral spaces, forming a reverse T (┴) plan, are covered with a syncline vault. However, of the two consecutive domes on the axis of entrance, the one closer to the entrance is smaller. The portico, consisting of 5 sections and covered with a syncline vault surrounds the whole facade.
Built at the time of I. Murat (Hudavendigar) between 1366 and 1385, this mosque has walls of three rows of brick and a row of stone. The building has an authentic two-floored look with the madrasah on the upper floor. The plan of the first floor consists of a high dome 11 meters high in the middle and an adjacent terrace, and of vaulted terraces on each side surrounding the dome. There are vaulted rooms in the corners, an entrance dome in the middle and stairs on both sides. The vault of the kiblah terrace, which is the same width as the middle dome, covers both floors. On both sides of the first floor there are the vaulted madrasah rooms. Beneath the dome, which is open in the middle, is the fountain. The final congregation place has five sections. Porticos of the upper floor open to outside through columned and double sharp arched windows and are integrated with the final congregation place. The sections of the final congregation place are covered with domes. Three sections in the middle of the portico on the upper floor are covered with a dome, while the two sections on both sides are covered with vaults.
Bayezid I (Yıldırım) Period
Bursa Yıldırım Mosque
Built between 1390 and 1395, this mosque is completely made of stone. There are two consecutive domes in the axis of the entrance. The places on both sides, which open to the dome with a diameter of 12 meters, are covered with a dome and the floor is higher as 75 centimeters. On both sides of both of these domed terraces are vaulted rooms. The rooms on the side of the entrance each have a second floor. One of the most important elements of the building is the final congregation place, which is the first example of monumental entrance face, ascending on two floors with Bursa arches. The final congregation place opens to both sides through Bursa arches. There are also ornamentations of vitrified china and plaster.
As part of the Yıldırım Kulliyah in Bursa, this madrasah is one of the earliest and most important of its type in Ottoman architecture. There is the vaulted yard after the terrace with a deep dome in the entrance. The classrooms, eight of them on each side, are covered with a vault. There are 4 rooms on the entrance side. Opposite the entrance is the great classroom, built as a terrace with a dome, protruding to outside.
As part of the Yıldırım Kulliyah in Bursa, the tomb was built in 1406. Its architect was Huseyin bin Ali. It is covered with a single dome with a diameter of 10,50 meters and has a terrace with three domes outside the main space, which is the first example of its type.
Bursa Yıldırım Hospital
It was built between 1399 and 1400. Located far away from the other buildings of the Bursa Yıldırım Kulliyah, the building is important as the first Ottoman hospital. The walls of the building, which is 34x40 meters of size, are made of stone and brick. In its plan scheme, it traces the tradition of Seljukian hospitals with yards. However, the classroom as a terrace covered with a dome, protruding considerably from the main body towards the yard is a significant difference from this tradition. The domed hall at the end of the yard was used as a treatment and resting room.
Built in 1394, the halting place is located on the road to Bursa-Karacabey. Made out of stone, the building has a dimension of 42x22 meters. It has a yard covered with vaults, located on ten columns.
Bursa Ulu Mosque
Built between 1396 and 1400, the mosque is covered with limestone on the outer face. The mosque with 20 domes on 12 columns is the most monumental example of multi-domed mosques. The domes are linked to each other through pendant arches. With a dimension of 69x55, the building has a surface area of 3200 m2. There is no final congregation place. The second dome on the middle axis is left open as a showcase, and there is a great fountain beneath it. Emphasized existence of water inside the building enriches its atmosphere.
Bursa Covered Bazaar
It was built in Bursa as the first covered bazaar of Ottoman Empire and became an example to the bazaars built later. The middle section has 14 domes on 6 square columns and is surrounded with 32 storerooms covered with vaults, 4 doors and 68 shops with vaults on the outer face.
The Ottomans highlighted the importance of defense buildings and therefore they built castles on strategic points. The Anadolu Fortress on the Bosphorus of İstanbul, dated 1395, is the first important Turkish work in İstanbul. The inner fortress, named as Guzelce Fortress in the past, was extended and strengthened during the reign of Mehmet II (Fatih Sultan) and was surrounded with walls and castles.
Mehmet I (Celebi) Period
Bursa Yesil Mosque
Built between 1414 and 1424 during the reign of Mehmet I (Celebi) by the architect Hacı İvaz, this mosque is the main building of a kulliyah. It was built completely out of stone and marble. Its plan and architectural construction resembles the Bursa Yıldırım Mosque in general. There are two consecutive domes, terraces on each side with ribbed domes, and rooms in each corner, with higher floors and covered with vaults on the entrance side and with domes on the side of mihrab. There is a lantern in the middle of the first dome, which has a diameter of 13 meters and a height of 25 meters. There is a great pool with a fountain under the dome. The entrance hall has two floors. The king’s meeting room is on the second floor. There are the staircases on both sides of the entrance hall and two balconies (shahnish) over them, which opens to outside. The name and fame of the building comes from its china covering, which are made of high quality china with multicolor glazing technique. The walls are covered with green and navy blue hexagonal china up to 3,5 meters of height. The ornamentations include geometrical passages, rumi (Anatolian) ornamentation, lotus and palm leaves, hatayi (Chinese motifs), peony and other naturalist figures of flowers and rosettes, and yellow, green, white and purple are the prevailing colors.
Bursa Yesil Tomb
A part of the Bursa Yesil Kulliyah, the tomb was built in 1421. It has a octagonal shape, each side is 8,20 meters long and it is covered with a sharp dome. Its name comes from the turquoise china covering the outer face. The tomb of Mehmet I (Celebi), which is covered with white, blue, yellow and navy blue china is impressing. The diversity of colors and patterns on the china plates in the tomb is significant.
Bursa Yesil Madrasah
Built during the reign of Mehmet I (Celebi), the madrasah consists of a broad rectangular yard with a pool, surrounded with domed terraces and rooms behind them. There is also a classroom on the southern side, protruding 12 meters to outside, covered with a dome.
Merzifon Celebi Mehmet Madrasah
Built between 1414 and 1417, this monumental madrasah consists of 20 lecture halls between porticos covered with vaults and classrooms protruding on three sides. There is a domed entrance terrace in the entrance.
Edirne Eski Mosque
Completed in 1414, the mosque is categorized among the grand mosques. In its square-shaped plan, covered with nine identical dolmes standing on four heavy columns, the dome over the entrance has a lantern. There is a final congregation place with five rooms.
Edirne Covered Bazaar
It was built during the reign of Mehmet I (Celebi) as a foundation to the Eski Mosque. The vault in the middle covered with fourteen domes standing on six columns is surrounded with storerooms. There are deep entrance halls on every side and shops are located on the outer face of the building.
It was built during the reign of Mehmet I (Celebi) as one of the greatest inns of the commercial centre of Bursa, in order to provide income to Bursa Yesil Kulliyah. Though having lost its authentic appearance, it still preserves the architectural features of classical urban inns. Its walls are made out of stone and bricks. The building has two floors, and the rooms around the yard have porticos.
Located in Bursa, this building is made out of brick and rubble. Around the square-shaped yard with two floors, there are porticos covered with vaults and rooms behind them.
Murat II Period
Bursa Muradiye Mosque
Completed between 1425 and 1426, the mosque is in a wide kulliyah. The walls are made out of stone. Of the two consecutive domes each with a diameter of twelve meters, the one on the side of the entrance is filled with muqarnas and surrounded with terraces with domes. The final congregation place has five sections. The three sections in the middle are covered with domes, and the others are covered with cross vaults. In the mihrab, the lower part of the walls is decorated with rich china figures.
Tomb of Murat II
Located behind the Bursa Muradiye Mosque, this tomb is covered with an open dome, as was requested by the sultan. With its stone and brick walls, the building is plain in decoration. However, in the inner side of the entrance fringe, there is a great wood work with geometrical passages and circles.
Edirne Muradiye Mosque
The mosque, built in 1436, is made of stone. In the plain reverse T (┴) plan of the building, there are two consecutive domes from the entrance towards the mihrab. On the two sides of the dome with a lantern in the middle, closer to the entrance, there are terraces with domes. The final congregation place has five sections. Inside the mosque, the walls and the mihrab are covered with rich china to half-length. Besides relieves and geometric patterns, there are flower patterned turquoise, navy blue, yellow and light green china. There are also blue and white china in the mihrab.
Edirne Uc Serefeli Mosque
Dated between 1437 and 1447, the building has a rectangular plan. It has two heavy columns on both sides and a dome with a diameter of 24,10 meters, standing on six sharp arches placed along the walls near the entrance and kiblah. The building is extended on both sides with two domes of 10-50 meters. The triangular spaces in between are covered with small domes. Such a plan scheme was first used in this mosque in the Turkish art. The rectangular yard with a portico, with a fountain in the middle is well integrated with the mosque. In this mosque, which was the first one with 4 minarets, each minaret is different: twisting, pipe ribbed, quadrangular and zigzag minaret with three balconies. The last one, which is 67,75 meters high was the highest of its time, when it was built.
Tire Yesil İmaret Mosque
Dated 1441, the building was made of rubble on the outer face. It is an interesting example as regards to the development of the reverse T (┴) plan. The dome with a diameter of 6,70 meters, closer to the entrance, is continued with a hemisphere with the same width. Thus, there is a protruding and deep mihrab. This mosque was the first building with a hemisphere attached to the great dome. The minaret on the east is covered with quadrangular figures of glazed, turquoise and purple bricks.
Edirne Beylerbeyi Hammam
It is a Turkish bath built during the reign of Murat II.