Building Technology
Composition of horasan (mortar)
Can anyone provide information on the composition
of horasan (the traditional mortar used in
Ottoman architecture)?

I'm posting this question for students at the
Faculty of Architecture of the Univ. of Prishtina
in Kosovo, preparing a presentation for a
workshop on the restoration of Kosovo's war-
damaged historical architecture. A prompt reply
would be appreciated.

Thank you.
Andras Riedlmayer
Composition of horasan (mortar)
Andras, I have passed your question onto Professor Emel Akozer at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. METU has a conservation lab where they do all kinds of analysis work on building materials of historical structures from the Ottoman and Seljuk periods. She has promised to make an inquiry and post a response.
Shiraz Allibhai
Composition of horasan (mortar)
is this question still in progress?
Seda Akcer Oztek
Composition of horasan (mortar)
Yes, answers to this question would still be very much appreciated. I've been told that horasan is a mixture of lime (kirec) and powdered bricks, which may be correct, but I need some more specific information about it:

* What were the most commonly used proportions of the ingredients for horasan in traditional Ottoman buildings? In addition to lime and ground-up bricks, were there any other kinds of materials that may be mixed in (such as horsehair, etc.)?

* Are there different compositions of horasan that were used:

--in different regions of the empire
(e.g. in Syria, Anatolia, the Balkans)?

--in different historical periods
(e.g. 16th century, 18th century etc.)?

--or in different types of buildings
( a mosque vs. a hamam)?

* If horasan is to be used in a restoration, is it to be used the same way as any other kind of plaster/mortar or are there specific techniques for preparing and applying it?

Many thanks for any light you can throw on these questions.
Andras Riedlmayer
Composition of horasan (mortar)
Andras, I will try once again to get the people at METU to follow up on this question. I was told that they would be able to answer this for you.
Shiraz Allibhai
Composition of horasan (mortar)
I suggest looking at some agricultural products as well. For example,
in India it was not uncommon in public buildings and grand havelis or
palaces of the 17th - 19th century (and very likely earlier than this) to add stone ground yellow and/or
black lentils to the lime and brick dust mixture. It acted as a cohesive
and when wet, was able to be smoothed out to a durable and marble-like
glossy finish.
Chris Deegan
Composition of horasan (mortar)
Hi there. From villagers in Anatolia, I was told, that the contents of Horasan are: sand, lime, egg yolk, milk, tar and probably also water; but at the moment I'm searching for the exact answer of the question too.
Best wishes
Else Marie Johansen
Composition of horasan (mortar)

check this book out maybe it can help you.

Akman, M.S., A. Güner, and I.H. Aksoy, "Historical and Technical Specifications of the Khorasan Mortar" (Horasan Harci ve Betonunun Tarihi ve Teknik Özellikleri), 2nd International Congress on the History of Science and Technology in Turko-Islamic Era, ITÜ, Istanbul, 1986. Hendriks, Ch.F.
Mansoor Ali
Composition of horasan (mortar)
Horasan is a water-proof mortar originated from Khorasan; northeast of Iran; and it is developed in Anatolia before Ottomans. It's a reddish pink colored plaster usually done on stone walls which includes fragments (and not powder) of brick and/or porous stones+sand+ash+lime+water. As far as I know there's no organic or animalistic element in this mixture and proportions depend on the use that only experts know. It's a water proof plaster but doesn't stand for cisterns. For the use of cistern in Iran this plaster went out-fashioned and instead another rough plaster is in use named Sarouj. Horasan is welcomed in Anatolia because there's no need for cisterns in that plateau.
Hope it helps.
Keiwan Mashhadi
Composition of horasan (mortar)
Horasan mortar / plaster is still in use in Turkey. Anyone interested should contact Professor Aysun Ozkose at the University of Karabuk.

Karabuk is very near to the World Heritage Site of Safranbolu which is a complete old town with many hundreds of timber-frame Ottoman houses.
Frank John Snelling


This site is adjusted only for landscape mode. Please rotate your device for properly using
We are sorry, we are still working on adjusting for Metro IE. Please use another browser for the best experience with our site.