Necipoglu, Gulru and David Roxburgh. “ The Mosque Complex of Sultan Süleyman.” Lesson 17/22 presentation developed for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Education Programme, 2019.
The seventeenth lesson in a 22 lesson course on Monuments of Islamic Architecture developed by Professors Gulru Necipoglu and David Roxburgh at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. In this lesson, by way of focusing on a single monument, namely the Süleymaniye mosque complex in Istanbul (1550s) commissioned by Sultan Suleyman (r. 1520-66) from his Chief Court Architect Mimar Sinan, we will discuss 16th century Ottoman architectural culture and practices.
In which ways were elements from the Roman-Byzantine and Italian Renaissance architectural traditions selectively integrated into the Ottoman architectural idiom?
How did the Ottoman sultanic mosques of Constantinople/Istanbul make direct references to the international prestige of the city’s premier 6th century Byzantine church, Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya, now functioning as the leading Friday mosque of their new capital)?
How does the Süleymaniye complex differ from the Hagia Sophia and previous Ottoman mosques in terms of spatiality, scale, materiality, and ornament? What are the novelties of mosques designed by Sinan, who served as the Ottoman chief court architect for half a century (between 1539 and 1588) during the reigns of three sultans (Suleyman I, Selim II, Murad II)?