Palace Architect Sinan The Great

Palace Architect Sinan The Great

The greatest name in the history of Turkish architecture is undoubtedly  Sinan The Great. The works of this famous architect, whose identity goes far beyond the time he was born and grew up in and the geographical boundaries, continue to carry its traces in a wide geography that includes many countries. His birth is dated as before 1491. He was born in Kayseri, Ağırnas.

However, it was recognized that he was talented as a Muslim designer who was bathed in Ottoman culture, and instead of leaving such a child to his fate in his village, it was deemed appropriate to include him in the Ottoman elite.

His meeting with İstanbul at an early age played a major role in the growth of this genius.

Sinan, who grew up in a school around the Hippodrome at Sultanahmet Square as one of the central points of Roman architecture, traveled to the Arabian and Persian lands in the service of Yavuz Sultan Selim and returned to İstanbul.

He participated in the Egyptian expedition of the Sultan, became familiar with the architectural environment, and got to know the ancient structures and Egyptian pyramids as well as the Seljuk and Sefevi structures.

His participation in the expeditions greatly improved Sinan’s manners and knowledge, provided his ability to show himself and his foresight.

The next signature of Architect  Sinan in 1537 is now “Worthless, incapable Chief Architect”. In the middle of the ellipse shaped seal, the expression “Your useless insufficent servant, anxious and afflicted Architect of the Palace” are engraved around it.

He joined the Belgrade expedition in 1521 and the Rhodes expedition in 1522 with Sultan Sülayman the Magnificent. After the Battle of Mohac in 1526, he quickly gained rank.

He attracted attention with his success in the German campaigns in 1532 and the Ivakeyn campaigns in 1534. He joined the Corfu expedition in 1537 and the Moldavian expedition in 1538. Meanwhile, with the bridge he built on the Prut river, he achieved the great success of the army and became a legend.

Thereupon, Grand Vizier Lütfü Pasha appointed Sinan to replace the deceased Chief Architect, Acem Ali.

In 1537, at the age of 48, Sinan, who assumed the position of Chief Architect and remained the “Royal Architect” until his death, completed the stage in his profession with 3 buildings. The first is the Şehzade Mosque, which he calls “my apprenticeship”. The second is the Süleymaniye Complex, which he calls
“my journeyman’s work”. The building he calls “my masterpiece” is the Selimiye Mosque, which he built at the age of 83 in the name of Selim II in Edirne.

The following sentence is included in the tombstone epitaph, written by Sai Mustafa Çelebi, a close friend of Sinan, who continued his duty with great enthusiasm until 1588, when he passed away at the age of 100; “Sinan has passed this time, the Chief Architect, from the world.” Sinan lies in his eternal resting place in the tomb at the foot of the Süleymaniye Complex, based on the qibla.

Mimar Sinan is known as an architect with his prominent identity. However, architecture alone is not enough to define it. It can also be an engineer, a good logistician, city designer, planner, manager, etc. It has many features and accumulations. His works also show this.

Born in Ağırnas Village of Kayseri in the first half of the 1490s, Sinan was recruited as a novice boy between 1512 and 1513.

Sinan, who seems to be a modest person at first glance, speaks to the future with these assertive words:
“I hope that those who will see what I have done, in the future will remember me with good prayers considering the seriousness of my efforts, I hope”

No one has had the chance to build 477 buildings of 16 different types. More than 120 of Sinan’s works, which have been around for 500 years, continue to be used today.

We see the existence of Sinan-made support walls on both sides of the intervention made by Sinan to Hagia Sophia, which was severely damaged after the 1809 earthquake.

It seems that these supports are so integrated with the structure that they are perceived as original elements.

With the innovations seen in the structure, plan and mass design of Architect Sinan buildings, the Classical Period began in the history of Ottoman architecture.

Sinan’s architectural skills not only developed a central space developed within the framework of the construction possibilities of the period by using a new structure system in mosque architecture; In addition, he has designs that draw attention in many subjects such as the relations of the complex structures with each other on the basis of the site plan, the placement of the structures in the topography, and the engineering structures of waterways and bridges.

Of the 477 buildings that Sinan designed, built, repaired or attributed to him, 29 were unidentified, 172 were destroyed as a result of fire, earthquake and reconstruction activities, 49 were later renovated in a style different from the classical period architecture,23 were in ruins and 204 are the structures that have survived to our time by preserving the original 16th century form and style.

Sultan Mehmet 2nd The Conqueror had the water network of the capital overhauled, so the mains left from Byzantium until the 1550s were kept in working condition.

When the water shortage increased during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, when he visited the Kağıthane Stream and its valley, he came across puddles and damaged waterways in places. He wanted the waterways left by Byzantium to be investigated. Sinan then reported the destroyed old water structures by measuring the height of the valleys and hills with the water terrace. He repaired the waterways from the Roman period, went to improve the existing system, opened new roads in some places, expanded the galleries and increased the flow of water.

Architect Sinan has 92 mosques, 52 masjids, 55 madrasahs, 7 darül-kürra (the Quran reading place next to the madrasah), 20 tombs, 17 soup kitchens, 3 hospitals, 6 waterways, 10 bridges, 20 caravanserai, 36 palaces, 8 cellars, 48 baths, including 365 works.

FIJET TÜRKİYE, World Tourism Journalists and Writers can organize a Memorial Day for Sinan, the world-famous Master Architect, on a specific date each year (July 17 is preferred) as part of the “Turkish Celebrities in History” series.

Memorial Day can be made very interesting with an award-winning project competition to be announced one year in advance.

Before or after the commemoration day, the guests can join the tours prepared by Plan Tours about the Works of Architect Sinan.

I am sure that such an event will attract the attention of many architects from all over the world.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Metropolitan Municipalities, Chambers of Architects will definitely support this as a historical debt to Master Architect Sinan The Great.

Sinan, who was born in Ağırnas in 1490, died on July 17, 1588 as the Palace Architect Sinan The Great in İstanbul. God bless him, Amen.

Hüseyin KURTOĞULLARI
İstanbul, 19.12.2020

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