The architecture of the Turkish Ottoman Empire forms a distinctive whole, especially the great mosques by and in the style of Sinan, like the mid-16th century Suleymaniye Mosque. For almost 500 years Byzantine architecture such as the church of Hagia Sofia served as models for many of the Ottoman mosques such as the Shehzadeh Mosque, the Suleiman Mosque, and the Rüstem Pasha Mosque.
The Ottomans achieved the highest level architecture in the Islamic lands hence or since. They mastered the technique of building vast inner spaces confined by seemingly weightless yet massive domes, and achieving perfect harmony between inner and outer spaces, as well as light and shadow. Islamic religious architecture which until then consisted of simple buildings with extensive decorations, was transformed by the Ottomans through a dynamic architectural vocabulary of vaults, domes, semidomes and columns. The mosque was transformed from being a cramped and dark chamber with arabesque-covered walls into a sanctuary of aesthetic and technical balance, refined elegance and a hint of heavenly transcendence
Early Ottoman period
With the establishment of the Ottoman empire, The years 1300-1453 constitute the early or first Ottoman period, when Ottoman art was in search of new ideas. This period witnessed three types of mosques: tiered, single-domed and subline-angled mosques. The Haci Ozbek Mosque (1333) in Iznik, the first important center of Ottoman art, is the first example of an Ottoman single-domed mosque.
Bursa Period (1299-1437)
The domed architectural style evolved from Bursa and Edirne. The Holy Mosque in Bursa was the first Seljuk mosque to be converted into a domed one. Edirne was the last Ottoman capital before Istanbul, and it is here that we witness the final stages in the architectural development that culminated in the construction of the great mosques of Istanbul. The buildings constructed in Istanbul during the period between the capture of the city and the construction of the Istanbul Beyazit Mosque are also considered works of the early period. Among these are the Fatih Mosque (1470), Mahmutpaşa Mosque, the tiled palace and Topkapi Palace. The Ottomans integrated mosques into the community and added soup kitchens, theological schools, hospitals, Turkish baths and tombs.
Classical period (1437-1703)
Selimiye Mosque is considered to be the masterpiece of Sinan
During the classical period mosque plans changed to include inner and outer courtyards. The inner courtyard and the mosque were inseparable. The master architect of the classical period, Mimar Sinan, was born in 1492 in Kayseri and died in Istanbul in the year 1588. Sinan started a new era in world architecture, creating 334 buildings in various cities. Mimar Sinan's first important work was the Şehzade Mosque completed in 1548. His second significant work was the Süleymaniye Mosque and the surrounding complex, built for Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne was built during the years 1568-74, when Sinan was in his prime as an architect.The Rüstempaşa, Mihriman Sultan, Ibrahimpasa Mosques and the Şehzade, Kanuni Sultan Suleyman, Hurrem Sultan and Selim II mausoleums are among Sinan's most renowned works.
Circular, wavy and curved lines are predominant in the structures of this period. Major examples are Nur-u Osmaniye Mosque, Zeynep Sultan Mosque, Laleli Mosque, Fatih Tomb, Laleli Cukurcesme Inn, Birgi Cakiraga Mansion, Aynali Kavak Summerplace, and Selimiye Barracks. Mimar Tahir is the important architect of the time.
Empire Period (1808-1876)
Çırağan Palace is an example of Empire period
Nusretiye Mosque, Ortaköy Mosque, Sultan Mahmut Tomb, Galata Lodge of Mevlevi Derviches, Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Sadullah Pasha Yalı, Kuleli Barracks are the important examples of this style developed parallel with the westernization process. Architects from the Balyan family were the leading ones of the time.
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