Tomb of Mimar Sinan

Tomb of Mimar Sinan
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From Wikipedia

Ḳoca Mi'mār Sinān Āġā (Ottoman Turkish: خوجه معمار سنان آغا) (April 15, 1489 – July 17, 1588) was the chief Ottoman architect and civil engineer for sultans Selim I, Suleiman I, Selim II and Murad III. He was, during a period of fifty years, responsible for the construction or the supervision of every major building in the Ottoman Empire. More than three hundred structures are credited to his name, exclusive of his more modest projects, such as his Koran schools (sibyan mektebs).

His masterpiece is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, although his most famous work is the Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul. He had under him an extensive governmental department and trained many assistants who, in turn, distinguished themselves, including Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa, architect of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. He is considered the greatest architect of the classical period, and is often compared to Michelangelo as a Western contemporary. The stature of Michelangelo and his plans for St Peter’s Basilica in Rome were well-known in Istanbul, since he (and also Leonardo da Vinci) received an invitation to build a bridge over the Bosphorus.[1]


At the start of his career as an architect, Sinan had to deal with an established, traditional domed architecture. His training as an army engineer led him to approach architecture from an empirical point of view, rather than from a theoretical one. He started to experiment with the design and engineering of single-domed and multiple-domed structures. He tried to obtain a new geometrical purity, a rationality and a spatial integrity in his structures and designs of mosques. Through all this, he demonstrated his creativity and his wish to create a clear, unified space. He started to develop a series of variations on the domes, surrounding them in different ways with semi-domes, piers, screen walls and different sets of galleries. His domes and arches are curved, but he avoided curvilinear elements in the rest of his design, transforming the circle of the dome into a rectangular, hexagonal or octagonal system. He tried to obtain a rational harmony between the exterior pyramidal composition of semi-domes, culminating in a single drumless dome, and the interior space where this central dome vertically integrates the space into a unified whole. His genius lies in the organization of this space and in the resolution of the tensions created by the design. He was also an innovator in the use of decoration and motifs, merging them into the architectural forms as a whole. He accentuated the centre underneath the central dome by flooding it with light from the many windows. He incorporated his mosques in an efficient way into a complex (külliye), serving the needs of the community as an intellectual centre, a community centre and serving the social needs and the health problems of the faithful.

When Sinan died, the classical Ottoman architecture had reached its climax. No successor was gifted enough to better the design of the Selimiye mosque and to develop it any further. His students retreated to earlier models, such as the Şehzade mosque. Invention faded away and a decline set in…

He died in 1588 and is buried in a tomb, a türbe of his own design, in the cemetery just outside the walls of the Süleymaniye Mosque to the north, across a street named Mimar Sinan Caddesi in his honour. He was buried near the tombs of his greatest patrons sultan Süleyman and his wife Haseki Hürrem.

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