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18 July 2022, 10:19

Sinan: A great Ottoman architect

ISTANBUL, 18 July (BelTA - Anadolu Agensy). - Mimar Sinan, or Sinan the Architect, who left his mark on the history of world architecture with his unique works in his half-century architectural adventure, is commemorated on the 434th anniversary of his death.

According to information compiled by Anadolu Agency, Sinan was born in 1490 in the Agirnas village of Türkiye's Kayseri province, and brought to Istanbul as a devshirme at the time of Yavuz Sultan Selim.

Sinan, who had the opportunity to get to know the architectural monuments in the region by participating in Yavuz's Egyptian expedition, gained experience in architectural-urban relations by studying ancient structures as well as Seljuk and Safavid period buildings.

During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, Sinan, who was a janissary, rose rapidly with his successes after participating in the 1521 Belgrade and 1522 Rhodes expeditions of Kanuni.

Sinan, who built three galleys in Tatvan on the orders of Lutfi Pasha in 1534 during his expedition to Iraq, equipped these ships with weapons such as cannons and rifles, and gathered information about the state of the Safavid troops.

The main aim of Sinan, who was close to Kanuni on many occasions and served in various ranks, was to work as an architect.

With the assignment of Lutfi Pasha, he gained the appreciation of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent with the bridge he built over the Prut River in 13 days during the Karabakh (Moldova) expedition in 1538 and was promoted to the position of chief architect.

After this, Sinan left the military service and devoted himself to architecture, where he would produce great works.

He served as the chief architect for 49 years during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, and Murat III.


Sinan, who continued to be productive until the last period of his life, died in Istanbul in 1588.

His mausoleum, which has the appearance of a compass when viewed from above, is located on the edge of the Suleymaniye Complex, which is described as a "masterpiece."

According to the foundation set up in his name, Sinan, whose wife is Mihri Hatun, had three children. One of them was his son Mehmed who was killed while the others were his daughters, Neslihan and Ummuhan.

The great architect has designed, built and repaired hundreds of buildings both large and small in his nearly 50-year architectural adventure.

Sinan designed more than 350 buildings, including 82 grand mosques, and 52 small mosques, 55 madrasas, seven darul-kurras, 20 shrines, 17 imarets, three darus-shifas, 6 waterways, 10 bridges, 20 caravanserais, 36 palaces, 8 cellars, and 48 bathhouses during his lifetime.

Although mosques and social complexes are the most notable among his works, Sinan has also produced important works in different areas such as bridges and aqueducts.

The works of Sinan, who was closely interested in many of the art branches of his period, also include the 16th-century Ottoman tile, calligraphy, carving, and ornament arts.

As the chief architect, Sinan did not only build mosques, complexes or bridges, he also worked in different areas and restored some old buildings. Sinan, who did important works to keep the Hagia Sophia-i Kebir Mosque-i Sharif intact, repaired its dome in 1573 and reinforced walls around it.

The demolition of structures built near ancient monuments, which distorted their appearance, was also among his works.

For these reasons, Sinan ensured the demolition of some houses and shops built in the vicinity of the Zeyrek Mosque and the Rumeli Fortress.

He was also engaged in the construction of waterways, the width of Istanbul streets, the construction of houses and the connection of sewers.

He drew attention to the danger of fire caused by the narrowness of the streets and issued an edict on the issue.

Important Works

Sinan defined the stages he went through in his profession with his three great works.

He described the Sehzade Mosque, which he completed in 1548, as a "work of apprenticeship", the Suleymaniye Mosque, which he completed in 1557, as a "work of journeymanship", and the Selimiye Mosque, which was opened for worship in 1575, as a "work of mastery".

The Sehzade Mosque was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent as a memorial to his son Sehzade Mehmed who died at the age of 22.

The Suleymaniye Mosque was also built by the great architect at the instructions of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1551-1557.

One of the most valuable works of Ottoman architecture, the Suleymaniye Complex, an important building of the Istanbul skyline, managed to survive without significant damage despite many earthquakes.

The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, the "masterpiece" of Sinan, is considered one of the main monuments not only of Turkish-Ottoman art, but also of world architectural history.

The work with four minarets, built by Sultan Selim II, also shows that Sinan was a master urban planning expert, with the choice of the place where it was founded.

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