Koca Mi’mâr Sinân Âğâ

Koca Mi’mâr Sinân Âğâ (Ottoman Turkish: معمار سينان‎, “Sinan Agha the Grand Architect”; Modern Turkish: Mimar Sinan, pronounced [miːˈmaːɾ siˈnan], “Sinan the Architect”) (c. 1489/1490 – July 17, 1588) was the chief Ottomanarchitect (Turkish: mimar) and civil engineer for sultans Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, and Murad III. He was responsible for the construction of more than 300 major structures and other more modest projects, such as schools. His apprentices would later design the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Stari Most in Mostar, and help design the Taj Mahal in the Mughal Empire.

The son of a stonemason, he received a technical education and became a military engineer. He rose rapidly through the ranks to become first an officer and finally a Janissary commander, with the honorific title of ağa. He refined his architectural and engineering skills while on campaign with the Janissaries, becoming expert at constructing fortifications of all kinds, as well as military infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges andaqueducts. At about the age of fifty, he was appointed as chief royal architect, applying the technical skills he had acquired in the army to the “creation of fine religious buildings” and civic structures of all kinds. He remained in this post for almost fifty years.

His masterpiece is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, although his most famous work is the Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul. He headed an extensive governmental department and trained many assistants who, in turn, distinguished themselves, including Sedefkar Mehmed Agha, architect of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. He is considered the greatest architect of the classical period of Ottoman architecture and has been compared toMichelangelo, his contemporary in the West. Michelangelo and his plans for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome were well known in Istanbul, since Leonardo da Vinci and he had been invited, in 1502 and 1505 respectively, by theSublime Porte to submit plans for a bridge spanning the Golden Horn

Architect Great Sinan

Sinan shaped the Ottoman Empire architecture in 16th century in so many directions that he was named ‘Great Sinan’, ‘Big Sinan’ by the public while he was still living. With the courtly works which he built in the era that he lived, he drove the actual panaromic view of Ottoman Turkish Istanbul. Sinan, himself is the owner of most of the works that belong to Ottoman Empire Classical era.

In his age, many statesmen queued up for getting their fountains, charitable acts, built by him.

It’s quite unbelievable that Sinan lived long enough(nearly 100 years) to achieve these requisitions and had the chance to be eternal by the works that he did.

Structure Of Society In Sinan Era:

During his life which lasted almost 100 years, Sinan lived 5 Sultan’s period which were 2nd Beyazit (1476-1512),Yavuz Sultan Selim (1512-1520), Kanuni Sultan Suleyman (1520-1566), 2nd Selim (1566-1574) and 3rd Murad (1574-1595).

Since Fatih Sultan Mehmet (The conquest of Istanbul), Ottoman Empire had extended by conquering many new states and it became a world emperorship in Kanuni Sultan Suleyman era.

In this era, the imperial borders had extended from Bagdad to Caucasus, from Crimean, Poland and Vienna to the whole Balkans and Serbia, southerly from Arabia peninsula to Sudanese in Africa and to the Atlantic ocean. A powerful coordination system had been formed for the management of this vast Imperial.The Devshirme boys (Devşirme or devshirme was the practice by which the Ottoman Empire recruited boys from Christian families) in which Sinan was also in, were being brought to the Sultan’s Palace and there, they were having the chance to learn about the minstrels, philosophers and erudites of the era. Furthermore, the penmen, theologians, miniature artists in the palace were representing the culture and arts of that age. Yavuz Sultan Selim and Kanuni Sultan Suleyman were also poets.There were many viziers, grand seigniors, military judges, governors of sanjaks, aghas, landowners, princes and princesses around Sinan who grew up in this culture. In Sinan’s era, Ottoman Empire was in its best, productive, rich period. Philosophy, literature and music were the characteristics of the empire.

His Works :
Today we know that Great Sinan has built over 365 masterpieces during his lifetime. These are: 84 mosque , 52 masjid, 57 madrasah, 7 darulkura, 22 mausoleum, 17 lodging house, 3 infirmary, 5 water canals, 8 bridge, 20 cervansarai, 36 palace, 8 cellar and 48 Turkish bath.

Kulliye :
They are a complex of buildings which have various social and religious missions. Kulliye mostly contain the mosque,madrasah,lodging house, guest house,infirmary,school,Turkish bath,fountain and shops. This powerful social centers bring high buoyancy to where they are built and they quicken the development.

Mosque :
Sinan had important contributions to mosque design and construction.The domes and half-domes have been the indispensable coat elements in these constitutions. He used square,hexagonal and octagonal plan schemes and in every building he tried a new methodology of design or a structural component. Facade design has developed a lot in Sinan era. While the frontlines were flat and tough before ,Sinan has zinged them up and externalize the structure of the buildings , outside

Madrasah :
They are the education buildings of the Otoman era.Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of school, whether secular or religious.In Sinan’s buildings, the courtyard of the mosque is often shared with the madrasah’s.

Darulhadis :
They are the places that Prophet Muhammad’s speeches are read to the public.

Darulkurra :
They are the parts of madrasah ,in which reciting the Koran is taught.

Mausoleum :
It is a kind of room-like building in which statesman or reverends are buried. Usually there are many ornamental decorations ,tile ceramic boards and adornments inside.

Lodging House(Imaret) :
They are lodging houses which delivers meal to the students and teachers of the kulliyes,to the doctors and the unwell,to the guests which stay in the gusethouse,to the mosque attendants,to the dervish lodge companions and to the ones around who are in need. There were 750 people working in the Suleymaniye foundation and they were delivering meal to 1000 people, two times, every day.

Hospital (Darussifa) :
Ottomans had built many hospitals in which many illnesses and mental diseases are cured.

Turkish Bath (Hamam) :
The Turkish bath is the Middle Eastern variant of a steam bath, which can be categorized as a wet relative of the sauna. The Turkish baths have played an important role in cultures of the Middle-East, serving as places of social gathering, ritual cleansing, and as architectural structures, institutions, and (later) elements with special customs attached to them. Europeans learned about the Hamam by contacts with the Ottomans, hence it’s the “Turkish” part of the name.

Guest House (Tabhane) :
They are rooms which serve as guest houses for the guests.They are usually planned with the lodging houses.

Caravanserai /Rest Houses: :
They are buildings in which pilgrims, tradesmen and employees stop over with possessions and animals. They are built on caravan routes or in the city . Their plans are usually narrow and long, with a lot of coloums and ovens. The ceiling altitudes are very high inside.

Pavilion / Palaces :
Although there are more than 40 pavilion names that are recorded in Sinan’s documents, they are mostly burnt out or collapsed. The most unique example that has survived, is the 3rd Murad Pavilion in the Topkapı Palace.