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[Architecture] [Ottoman Architecture]


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The Ottoman architecture, which was expressed in diverse buildings and plan schemes in Bursa, , Edirne and İznik, began to produce its best works especially in Istanbul in new arrangements after the second half of the 15th century. The kulliyahs, which included many kinds of buildings, were constructed. The era of monumental kulliyahs began with the construction of Fatih Kulliyah.

The buildings included in the kulliyah were important in social terms as spaces where people congregated. The foundations as well as the sultans had some buildings erected. Madrasahs, inns, Turkish baths, hospitals, hostels for pilgrims, schools, libraries, fountains, water-tanks, as well as mosques, were built for social service. The plan scheme of the Seljukian examples was applied with certain changes in the caravanserais of the classical period. In these buildings, which consisted of a closed and an open section, there were porticos including stables, warehouses and cars around the yards. The inns, however, were mostly built inside the city centers. The closed bazaars in the city center consist of a middle passage with shops on both sides which is covered with a dome. The covered bazaars, where jewelry and cloth were sold, consist of rows of shops inside and outside. The hostels for pilgrims were places where food was distributed among the poor inside the kulliyah. The madrasahs were constructed independently, adjacent to a mosque and to the kulliyah.

They were usually constructed inside the kulliyah during the classical period. Ottoman baths of the classical period include the hotbed, used as the dressing room; the cold part, which is the passage between the hot room and the hotbed; the hot room with a central dome and the heating room, adjacent to the hot room. The heat comes from the circulation of the hot air from the heating room around the galleries under the floor. The fountains of this period, which are quite rare, have simple niches. Many fountains were built especially after the 18th century. The water-tanks were small buildings of water with a domed, rounded or polygonal plan scheme, which were located inside the kulliyah and were used for distributing water to the poor for benefaction. Also located inside the kulliyah building, the tombs were usually built in a polygonal plan on two floors, covered with a dome and adorned with china. Bridges, channels and castles as well as kulliyahs were built in this period.

All these buildings are important in that they reflect the power of the empire. Especially in the buildings that were constructed during the life of Mimar Sinan with an understanding of the virtue of architecture and arts (where functionality prevailed), the plain and pure architecture is interesting with its improved aesthetics and structure. In the buildings of the classical period, the arrangements and decorations on the dome were plain, avoiding excessiveness, as well as pyramid-like shape of the buildings. Architects from all around the country improved the understanding of form and plan of the past, thus establishing the Ottoman style.

The mosques of the classical period are monumental, with high and numerous minarets. The mosques with central domes were built instead of high mosques with many columns. The most important buildings were constructed with great domes. The early examples of the covering system include one semi-dome and two, three and four semi-domes in the later ones. The diameter and height of the domes gradually outnumbered the former and reached its peak in the Selimiye Mosque. The domes were installed on arches on great columns and the proportions were delicate. The passages between the arches and the domes include decorations. Water tanks with fountains, which were built for cleaning before prayers and which had a visual attraction, were indispensable buildings of the classical period. The fountains are fed by the pool behind under a pyramidal or conic roof. These buildings with columns and domes were constructed in geometrical forms.

Fatih Period

The First Eyup Sultan Mosque, built during the reign of Fatih (1451-1481) is dated to 1459. A kulliyah was built on the area where Eyup Sultan was martyred during the siege of Istanbul. The mosque which stands today was built in 1800. Around the mosque, where the sword ceremonies of the Ottoman sultans were held, there are other buildings such as the tomb, madrasah, hostel, Turkish bath and kitchen. The central dome of the mosque has two adjacent semi-domes.

Istanbul Fatih Kulliyah

The plan scheme of the Edirne Mosque with Three Balconies, was applied in the Istanbul Fatih Kulliyah with its main framework. Completed in 1473, the mosque was restored after the earthquake in 1776. The three wings of the yard, the whole entrance gate, the mihrab and the area from the two minarets to the balcony are remnants of the previous mosque. In the first mosque built by the architect Atik Sinan, the central dome was added a semi-dome. The brick dome of the mosque, which was completely made out of stone bricks, has a diameter of 26,1 meters and a height of 44 meters. The parts on both sides of the central dome are each covered with three domes. The final congregation place with 7 sections and the yard with a fountain are located in the front side. The mihrab with a niche with many faces, is terminated with kavsara and palmets on rows of muqarnas. The corner columns with revolving hourglasses are made out of green porphyry. The mihrab is designed out of marble in a plain and balanced style, unlike those covered with china in the early period; however, the wall of the mihrab is decorated with china. The mosques, built on the order of the Sultan and his family, with numerous minarets are called the “Sultanate Mosques”. The Fatih Mosque is the earliest example of this type in Istanbul.

In the kulliyah around the mosque, the style of Bursa and Edirne prevails; however, it is important as it is the first application with five axes. Spread on a wide area, the kulliyah includes the Black Sea High Schools, the Black Sea Madrasahs, outer yard, inner yard, Tomb of Fatih Sultan, Tomb of Gulbahar Hatun, Mediterranean Madrasahs, Mediterranean High Schools, primary school, hospital, caravanserai and library. It is a kulliyah which has a wholesome system, gathering many kinds of buildings together.

Another building, where a semi-dome supporting the central dome was applied after the Fatih Mosque is the Rum Mehmet Pasha Mosque in Uskudar (1471). The kulliyah was well built according to the topographic conditions; however the hostel and the madrasah have not been preserved. The mosque, where stone and brick were used together, has an arrangement that resembles the reverse T plan scheme of the Bursa period. The rectangular plan was later added with hospices on both sides with hearths and niches. The mihrab, connected to the dome with a diameter of 11 meters, has rumi and palmet decorations inside the semi-dome. The tomb, resembling the Tomb of Gulbahar Hatun, has an octagonal plan.

Istanbul Mahmut Pasha Mosque

Dated 1462, the mosque is the most monumental one among the winged mosques. There are two domes, one with a diameter of 11 meters and the other 10,5 meters, on the axis of the entrance towards the mihrab. On both sides, the lateral places are separated from the central part with corridors of 2,5 meters of width. This different plan is what distinguishes the building from the others. The final congregation place with five sections is covered with domes.

Tomb of Mahmut Pasha

Dated to 1474, the tomb is located behind the Mahmut Pasha Mosque. Built for Mahmut Pasha, the grand vizier, poet and scholar, the tomb has an octagonal plan. The upper part of the tomb is covered with turquoise and navy blue china.

Istanbul Murat Pasha Mosque

Built during the reign of Mehmet II (Fatih Sultan), the mosque is located in Aksaray. The walls of the mosque are made out of two rows of stone and a row of bricks. The plan includes two consecutive domes on the axis of the entrance and two lower domes on two sides opening to the middle area. The final congregation place has five domes.

Bursa Hamza Bey Mosque

Built during the reign of Mehmet II (Fatih Sultan), the mosque has one row rubble-three rows brick walls. In the building with a reverse T plan, there are two domes on the axis from the entrance to the mihrab, and the one closer to the entrance is a bit higher and wider. The rooms on both sides with small domes open to the middle area. These rooms are extended to the north with vaults. Te final congregation place is covered with five domes.

Inegöl Ishak Pasha Mosque

Built in 1468, the mosque, with a madrasah and a tomb, composes a beautiful kulliyah. The brick and stone walls and occasional geometric brick decorations establish a beautiful façade. With its reverse T plan, the mosque resembles the Bursa Hamza Bey Mosque. Of the two domes extending on the axis from the entrance to the mihrab, the one closer to the entrance has an illumination lantern. The side rooms with smaller domes opening to the middle area are extended towards the entrance with vaults. The final congregation place has a dome and five sections. Opposite the final congregation place is the madrasah with its U-shaped rooms behind porticos and the great classroom in the middle. There is also a hexagonal tomb near the mihrab.

Afyon Gedik Ahmet Pasha Mosque

Built during the reign of Mehmet II (Fatih Sultan), the mosque is an example where the reverse T plan was interpreted differently. Two consecutive domes each with a diameter of 11,50 meters cover the main place. On both sides are two small rooms separated from the inner space, with a domed terrace, establishing a triple sectioning. Disconnection of these rooms from the main area is an interesting interpretation. The final congregation place has five domes. The minaret of the mosque is one of the symbolic buildings of the city of Afyon. The twisting stone minaret, with pipes out of white stone and slots out of dark blue, has an ostentatious marble gate.

Kure Ulu Mosque

Built during the reign of Mehmet II (Fatih Sultan) near the town of Inebolu, the mosque is completely out of stone. The main area is covered with three consecutive domes, each with a diameter of 8 meters, all standing on four columns, is extended with low arches and plain covered terraces on both sides.

Tomb of Fatih

It is located behind the mihrab wall of the Fatih Mosque. The tomb with 10 corners was damaged at the earthquake in 1765 and was restored almost as the original. The octagonal Tomb of Gulbahar Hatun, near the Tomb of Fatih, is for the wife of Mehmet II and was also restored.

The Covered Bazaar, established between the mosques of Nuruosmaniye and Bayezid during the reign of Fatih, was built in 1460’s to obtain revenue for the Hagia Sofia Mosque. Consisting of the Cevahir with 15 domes and 84 shops and Sandal with 20 domes and 44 shops, the bazaar was later extended with additional sections. Surrounded with several inns, the bazaar has 61 streets named according to the professions. A part of the bazaar was reserved for second-hand book sellers.

Bayezid II Period

Cerrahpasha Davutpasha Kulliyah

Consisting of a hospice, mosque, tomb, madrasa fountain and double bath, the kulliyah was built in 1485. The mosque with a hospice, which is the main building of the kulliyah, is covered with a central dome where the passages are enabled with sharp arched and muqarnas filled tromps on a square body. The corner tromps with muqarnas filling are decorated with hatai styled pencil work. The mihrab with five sides and protruding towards outside is covered with a semi-dome. The lateral parts are two consecutive bodies covered with domes. In the middle of the yard, surrounding the final congregation place with five sections, there is the fountain with polygonal plan. The minaret with a multilayered body, erected on the western side pf the final congregation place, protrudes towards outside with its square shaped pedestal. The tomb of the kulliyah is covered with cross vaults outside and with a dome inside. The madrasah is established perpendicular to the axis of the mihrab. The madrasah has a U-shaped plan with porticos on three sides and the classroom is rectangular.

Tokat Hatuniye Kulliyah

Erected perpendicular to the Yesilirmak, the kulliyah, built in 1485, was named after the mother of Bayezid. Preserved until today with several restorations, the mosque has a madrasah on one side, and a hospice on the other side. Built out of fine-cut stones, the mosque is covered with a dome with a diameter of 12,5 meters. The hospices covered with domes are rather lower and smaller and they are integrated with the final congregation place. The connection to outside is strengthened with gates. In the final congregation place with five sections, the connection is established with columns on square pedestals and arches. The madrasah has a U-shaped plan. The domed classroom protrudes towards outside with a ratio of ½. There are other rooms behind the portico which surrounds the rectangular yard in U shape.

Amasya Bayezid II Kulliyah

Completed in 1486, the kulliyah has the mosque on the main axis and the madrasah, hostel for pilgrims in L shape and the hospice in parallel. The mosque has two consecutive domes, each with a diameter of 14,15 meters. The domes are connected to rooms with three domes on both sides with wide arches on four columns. There is the final congregation place with columns and arches in the entrance. Near the building ascends the two minarets with protruding pedestals. Inside, the arches decorated with pencil work, the mihrab with green and white columns with hourglass heads, minbar made out of marble and colorful china decorations on the windows of the final congregation place, the walnut gate with deep graven in multi beam geometry and minarets with red and white stone inlay are interesting elements in the mosque. The independent tomb of the kulliyah has a square shape and a dome.

Edirne Bayezid II Kulliyah

Established on three parallel axes perpendicular to the Tunca River, the kulliyah has the hospital and madrasah on the west, the mosque in the middle, the hostel, caravanserai, kitchen and warehouse on the east and the Turkish bath and the bridge on the way. Built in 1488, the kulliyah had been the greatest until Selimiye was built. In the mosque, there are separate hospices on both sides of the square shaped main body. In the main body, passage to the dome with a diameter of 21 meters is enabled with pendentives on columns. The burden of the dome is transferred to the secret carriers and sharp arches in the corners. Side sections, lower than the main body, participate the carrier of the dome. The dome is illuminated with windows on the wall of the mihrab and on the rim of the dome. In front of the dome where single dome is important is the final congregation place with seven sections, built with diverse ribbed and spiral bricks and suture, decorated with authentic pencil work. This part is surrounded with the yard with a portico, connected to outside with windows and three doors on three sides. The hospices with nine domes have four terraces. The gates opening to the hospices, reflecting the characteristics of decoration of the time, are built with kundekari (interlocking) technique. In the hospital, the hexagonal part with a central done includes the patients’ rooms. The other area with a rectangular yard in front of this part was reserved for the lunatic. The rooms on the northeast of the yard were for the hospital staff. The madrasah, sharing the same toilet, has a U-shaped plan and surrounded with porticos, with domes rooms behind.

Istanbul Bayezid II Kulliyah

Built between 1501 and 1506, the kulliyah consists of a hostel, bath and primary school, located parallel to the axis of the mosque and the madrasah perpendicular to it. The central dome, ascending on four free column and arch systems with a diameter of 16,8 meters and a height of 35,5 meters is added with two semi domes on the axis of the mihrab. The side sections are each covered with four domes. On the mihrab wall are three rows of stone windows with cages. The hospices on the sides of the final congregation place are rectangular, yet sectioned on the upper part. There is a dome in the middle and two small domes on both sides. The final congregation place with seven sections constitutes the main façade opening to the yard. The windows are adorned with pencil work in rumi and palmet style. There is the octagonal fountain in the middle of the yard and the arched and domes portico system and the gates on three sides. The madrasah has a rectangular yard surrounded with porticos and rooms behind them. The classroom with a square plan and dome above is located inside, which was a new application. Around the madrasah were the second-hand booksellers which met the needs of the students. Among the buildings in the kulliyah is an inn producing glazer and thread for the palace and a inn of broom-makers. The men’s dressing room in the bath is a monumental work with its dome with a diameter of 15 meters. Most of the shops have not been preserved. The kulliyah was built by Hayrettin Aga, as the one in Edirne. The tomb of Bayezid II, built in 1512 after his death on the request of his son Yavuz Sultan Selim, is made out of cut brick with an octagonal plan and a dome. Eight faces are surrounded with green marble molding, with windows on the upper and lower parts.

During the reign of Bayezid II, mosques with six or eight supports were also built. Manisa İvaz Pasha Mosque, built in 1484; Manisa Hatuniye Mosque, built in 1488 and the Atik Ali Pasha Mosque (1496-1497) in Çemberlitaş, where a semi-dome was added to the central dome are among the buildings in this plan scheme.

Yavuz Sultan Selim

Yavuz Sultan Selim Kulliyah

Built in 1522 in Fatih Çarşamba, the kulliyah consists of a mosque, tomb, hostel and a primary school. The madrasah is built a bit farther. The construction of the kulliyah was begun during the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim and, upon his unexpected death, was completed by Kanuni Sultan Suleyman. The mosque has a square plan and is covered with a single dome with a diameter of 24 meters and a height of 32,5 meters. The dome ascends on thick walls. The terraces between hidden columns and walls are covered with sharp arches. The pressure of the dome is alleviated with columns in the entrance and stone wall columns on the kiblah. On both sides of the main area are four corner rooms with four terraces and hospices with nine sections with a single dome in the middle and the minarets of 38 meters of height ascending on square pedestals on the corners. The final congregation place with seven sections is surrounded with the yard, where there is an octagonal fountain in the middle and porticos on three sides. The minbar and mihrab reflect the decoration style of the period. China, plaster, stone and pencil work, as well as woodwork is striking. The tomb of Yavuz Sultan Selim is polygonal and domed. On the façade is the portico with two supports in front of the building. The Tomb of Sons of Sultans, built in 1570, is also octagonal and has a terraced entrance. There are hexagonal china inlay on both sides of the gate.