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Influential Designs: Suleymaniye Mosque

Introduction

One of the designs that have been very influential in architectural history is Suleymaniye Mosque (Ingersoll & Spiro 12). The architectural design is an Ottoman royal mosque situated in Istanbul, Turkey. It is the biggest mosque in Istanbul. As such, it has become famous as one of the popular sights in the city. Sultan Süleyman built the structure. Mimar Sinan was the chief designer of the building. The structure’s work was started in the year 1550 and completed in the year 1558. In a bid to illustrate the significance and influence of Suleymaniye Mosque, the article below reveals a number of influential architecture designs in architectural history that were inspired by the structure’s design.

Architecture

To understand the influence of Suleymaniye Mosque, an architectural analysis of the structure must be studied. Similar to the other royal mosques in Turkey, the building has a colossal yard on its west side. The yard is of brilliant magnificence with a colonnaded peri-style with pillars made of marble, sandstone, and porphyry. The structure has four minarets. As such, the minarets are situated at the corners of the structure. The minarets have ten colonnades illustrating that Suleiman I was the tenth Ottoman sultan. Its key dome is 53.0 meters in height. The dome’s diameter is 27.50 meters. During the 16th century, the dome was the tallest in the Ottoman kingdom.

the yard of Suleymaniye Mosque
Fig 1: the yard of Suleymaniye Mosque

Architectural analysis of the structure’s interior offers an insight about how the structure later influenced architectural history. The inside of the structure is in a shape of a square. Its interior is 59 meters by 58 meters. The interior forms a single enormous space. Its major dome is edged by mini-domes. The northern and the southern arches are flanked by tympana-packed windows. Vast porphyry monoliths buttress the windows. During the construction, Sinan chose to make a fundamental architectural improvement to cover the northern and southern supports required by the key piers. He combined the supports into the partitions of the structure with half of the supports projecting inwards and the other half of the supports projecting outwards. The projections were then masked with arcaded porticoes. The structure’s interior embellishment is refined with the use of Iznik slates. Its white granite mihrab and mimbar are modestly designed (Meri 43). The structure’s woodwork has been made magnificent by use of ivory and mother of pearl materials.

the interior of Suleymaniye Mosque
Figure 2: the interior of Suleymaniye Mosque

In architectural history, Suleymaniye Mosque’s is categorized under the Ottoman architecture (Ersoy 238). Ottoman architecture can be traced back to two movements that developed during the 16th century. The first movement emerged in Anatolia between the 14th and the 16th centuries. The other movement was influenced by the Christian art.

The significance and influence of the design

Suleymaniye Mosque’s designed influenced a number of architectural designs in history. For instance, the structure’s influence is evidenced in a number of Christian architecture depicted in Europe during the sixteen century. Just as the mosque, the structures were hexagonal in shape and had large domes on one side. Similarly, the structures had huge trilobite horseshoe minarets. Sinan’s work motivated other architects who helped to popularize Suleymaniye Mosque architecture’s popularity in the west. As such, historians assert that Michelangelo’s dome in Rome was built based on some of Suleymaniye Mosque’s designs. Other historians argue that Sinan might have copied his designs from the Italians. The similarity in the structures indicates that there is possibility that Suleymaniye Mosque’s designs might have influenced Renaissance Italy.

In Europe, between 1700 and 1800 the influence of Suleymaniye Mosque’s was huge as illustrated by religious structures of the time. Most western architects were influenced by Suleymaniye Mosque’s styles, especially in decorations, domes, pavilions and window styles. Although they did not copy the structure’s styles directly, they believed that incorporating the best ideas from the structure would contribute to their modernization of architecture.

The period between the 18th and the 19th centuries marked a tremendous era that Suleymaniye Mosque’s designs were integrated into Christian architectures. During the time, the Ottoman influence on European architecture began to be acknowledged. During the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire was quickly disintegrating as major European powers conquered and colonized a number of regions under their control. The conquests resulted in the new contact between the Ottomans and the Europeans. The contact resulted in the fusion of European cultures and the Ottoman cultures. During this period, extensive efforts were made to display art in Europe attracting many participants from various parts of the world. In particular, Suleymaniye Mosque’s architectures and other famous Ottoman architectures were exhibited in various European exposes during the 18th and the 19th centuries, leaving a major mark in the local architectural designs.

Similarly, in the 18th and 19th centuries a number of expos that brought the Ottoman architecture in Europe were conducted. During the events, a number of Asian architectural designs were exhibited attracting several European designers. Some of the expos focused on rationalist principles of the composition of monuments and domes in Suleymaniye Mosque and other Ottoman mosques. The European designers were interested in these principles instead of their decorative forms. Some historians argue that this phenomenon was common throughout the 18th century. Through the events, European architects and other artists developed a deep interest in Suleymaniye Mosque’s monumental principles and tended to ignore the decorative forms, perhaps because they were believed to be aligned to the Islamic faith. The interest in principles rather than decorative forms is also believed to be an obsessive focus of European interests during this period.

In general, a number of mosques build in Europe during the 18th and 19th century depicted Suleymaniye Mosque’s influence. For instance, the structures are hexagonal in shape, have large domes on one side. The features have been borrowed from Ottoman cultures. Some structures have huge trilobite horseshoe minarets carrying the load down supported by a cluster of three columns. In addition, some structures were built using iron, zinc, and glass, producing a metallic lacework uncommon in the western building styles. Although these materials were believed to be an aspect of the modernization, it is worth noting that the idea was borrowed from Suleymaniye Mosque’s structure.

Gabriel Davioud’s presence in the 1898 Paris arts exposition of is significant in the analysis of Suleymaniye Mosque’s inspirations to the western architecture in the modern times. Gabriel was one of the leading architects assigned to the work on rebuilding Paris after the revolution. He designed the Trocadero Palace for the exposition. Although Gabriel borrowed a lot from Roman styles, it is evident that the Suleymaniye Mosque’s styles played a significant role in the furnishing of the building. For instance, the Trocadero Palace bears two square towers, which takes the shape common in the minarets of the Suleymaniye Mosque. The towers have elaborate ornamented facades as well as pavilions with domes above them just like the ones exhibited in Suleymaniye Mosque. In addition, the pavilions in the Trocadero Palace are positioned on either end of the building and used as the main entrances. The aspects provide evidence of the Suleymaniye Mosque’s on Gabriel’s work in Paris.

Another important aspect of the Suleymaniye Mosque’s architectural designs in the architectural history is portrayed in mosques build in the western world (Verkaaik 17). The religious structures provide a good example of the degree of spread of Suleymaniye Mosque’s architectural ideas in the western world. The structures have distinctive pointed domes such as those of Suleymaniye Mosques. Similarly, the structures have minarets. The minarets take the shape common in the minarets of the Suleymaniye Mosque.

Another structure that shows the influence of Suleymaniye Mosque in the west is the Tweedy and Company Store’s in New York. Richard Morris Hunt was the designer of the structure. The structure was completed in 1872 (Freely 56). Hunt had been using Islamic styles and ideas in his work. The building has an entrance made of a façade with lobed arches that bear a horseshoe shape of different scales. The design is a direct emulation of the Mihrabs or niches depicted in Suleymaniye Mosque’s entrances. Based on the above illustration, it is apparent that Suleymaniye Mosque influenced later architectural history.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it should be noted that Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the designs that have been very influential in architectural history. The structure’s influence is evidenced in a number of Christian architecture depicted in Europe during the sixteen century. Just as the mosque, the structures were hexagonal in shape and had large domes on one side. Similarly, the structures had huge trilobite horseshoe minarets. For instance, Michelangelo’s dome in Rome was built based on some of Suleymaniye Mosque’s designs. Another important aspect of the Suleymaniye Mosque’s architectural designs in the architectural history is portrayed in mosques build in the western world. The structures have distinctive pointed domes such as those of Suleymaniye Mosques.

Works Cited

Ersoy, Ahmet. “Ottoman Gothic: Evocations of the Medieval Past in Late Ottoman Architecture.”Manufacturing Middle Ages 12.3 (2013): 217-238. Print.

Freely, John. A History of Ottoman Architecture. Southampton: WIT, 2010. Print.

Ingersoll, Richard, and Spiro Kostof. World Architecture: A Cross-cultural History, Berkeley, CA: U of California, 2012. Print.

Meri, Josef. Medieval Islamic Civilization : An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Verkaaik, Oskar. Religious Architecture Anthropological Perspectives. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2013. Print.

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