Chapter 7

Ottoman Architecture after Sinan

16th – 19th century

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

1609 - 1619
Architect Sedefkar Mehmed Aga

The photo shows the incomparable geographical, strategic and commercial position of Constantinople-Istanbul, one of the youngest cities in the Eastern Mediterranean (324 AD). The Sultan Ahmed mosque is in the foreground and Agia Sofia in the distance. (Photo Wikipedia) 
The Sultanahmet Mosque is commonly known as the Blue Mosque, because of the Kütiyah tiles in blue, green and turquoise that cover most of its interior. The mosque is the central element of the complex built by Ahmed I (1603-1617) and was completed after the sultan's death in 1617. Its architect is Mehmed Aga (d.1622). The mosque is considered to be the last example of Ottoman classical architecture; Mehmed Aga was an apprentice under Sinan (1450?-1588) and Davud Aga (d.1598), two architects whose works have defined the style of this period.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque seen from the Agia Sofia (photo Rolf Gross 1954)

Entrance ftom courtyard

Interior view of one of the four massive columns and the blue tiles that give the mosque its name. The difference in the dynamic structure between Sinan and Mehmed Aga are clearly visible. This dome sits solidly on its four feet and is no match to the stuctural elegance of Sinan's creations. The beautiful tiles distract and hide its architectural details. It seems, after all, justified to call it the Blue Mosque. (Photos from

Yeni Cami "New Mosque"

1597-1603 and 1661-1663
Architect Davud Aga, Dalgiç Mehmed Aga, and Mustafa Aga

The Yeni Cami or New Mosque was begun in 1597 by Safiye Sultan, the mother of Mehmed III (1595-1603) and completed more than half a century later by Turhan Hatice Sultan, the mother of Mehmed IV (1648-1687). The mosque stands in a long tradition of architectural patronage by Ottoman queen mothers or valides.
The first architect was Davud Aga. He was replaced by Dalgiç Mehmed Aga after Davud's death in 1598 until work halted in 1603. Mustafa Aga completed the mosque between 1661 and 1663. Photo by Dick Osseman

The interior is covered with Iznik tiles. Detail showing the springing of an arch from the pier - the transition point from tile panels to painted decoration - and multi-tiered muqarnas cornice above

iew looking up at the grand arch separating the central dome and the northeast semi-dome; the gilt cornice of the northeast arcade is seen protruding at top

Vaulting detail showing the transition from the central dome to a semi-dome and its three exedra semi-domes (right); the names of Caliph Ali and his sons Hasan and Huseyn are written on black medallions from left to right (photos and text )

Nuru-Osmaniye Mosque

Architect: Simeon Kalfa
Ottoman Baroque

Construction on the Nuruosmaniye Complex began in 1749 during the rule of Mahmud I (1730-1754) and was completed by his brother and successor Osman III (1754-1757) in 1755. In style, the complex is distinguished from its precedents with its adoption of baroque design elements and embodies the westernizing vision of Mahmud I. The name Nuruosmaniye, or the Light of Osman, is thought to refer to Osman III and to a verse from the Sura of Al-Nur, "God is the light of the heavens and the earth", which is inscribed inside the dome. Photos and text from

General view in an older photograph showing the soup-kitchen (left) and the medrese (right) in the foreground

Overall the interior design follows classsical predecessors, the advent of the Baroque is restricted to its external details:
Exterior detail showing transition from dome buttress to corner pier and the cornice of a grand arch supporting the dome

Or the curved courtyard visible from outer space

Laleyi (Tulip) Mosque

Ottoman Baroque

View looking up at the dome and its eight supporting arches, with the mihrab apse seen at the bottom center. The gilt lattice of the royal lodge appears at the upper left corner. The painting of the domes may be old-fashioned, but the outside details are Ottoman Baroque:   (Photos from

Exterior detail, showing stabilizing turret crowning pier at the courtyard end of the soutwest arcade and curved outline of cornice

Detail of the sabil, showing bronze latticework on concave windows and inscriptive panels separated by fluted pilasters below the wide segmented eaves


Yörgüç Pasa Mosque and Dervish Tekke


The mosque was built by Yürgüç Pasa, son of Atabey Abdullah, in 1428. Abdullah was a teacher (atabey) of Mehmed I (1403-1421) and a vizier under his successor Murad II (1421-1451) and served as the ruler of Amasya in 1424. Photos and Text from

Amasya Bayezid Pasha Mosque and Dervish Tekke

Architect: Abu Bekir bin Mehmed Museymes of Aleppo

Bayezid Pasa was build during the mayoralty of Bayezid Pasa in Amasya in 1414, prior to his appointment as grand vizier by Mehmed I. The pasha acquired a large number of windmills, agricultural land, gardens, stores and public baths in the area to provide income for the religious endowment or waqf (vakif) responsible for the operation and maintenance of the mosque.

The inside layout is unique, the domed central hall gives access to six rooms: four large rooms to the east and west and two narrow cells flanking the entrance. The large rooms, once used by dervishes, are equipped with plaster furnaces and shelving. They are domed, with two small lanterns atop the two northern domes.
Photo, text, and plan from

Ottoman Bosnia

Banja Luka, Bosnia-Hercegovina
Ferhad Pasha Mosque 1579-1580

The mosque complex included a madrasa (medrese), a Quranic school (mekteb), a dar al-hadith (darülhadis), a bathhouse (hamam), a fountain (çesme), clocktower (saat külesi or sahat kula), three tombs (türbe) and a cemetery. A caravanserai (kervansaray) and a market (bedesten or bezistan) were also built at the same time. An inscription over the main entrance of the mosque dated construction to 1579 (987 A.H.), which corresponds to Ferhad Pasha's rule as the district governor of Bosnia. (sancakbey) (Ottoman Period). Some experts believe the Ottoman architect Sinan was born in this area.

The Ferhad Pasha Complex was dynamited during Bosnia's inter-ethnic war on May 7, 1993 in the early morning hours. After destroying the buildings on the site, Serbian nationalists bulldozed and removed the debris of the destruction. Photo and Text from

Dogubayazid, Antolia
Ishak Pasha Seray
Architect probably Ishak Pasa himself
Rural Palace,
Derwish Tekke(?)

The Ishak Pasha Seray is one of the most beautiful and romantic Ottoman palaces, not the least because of its breathtaking lonely location. It was commissioned by the local Kurdish Ottoman governor Ishak Pasa and took ninety-nine years to complete in 1784. Ishak Pasa is also thought to be the architect of the palace.
The Palace suffered serious damage during several wars, beginning with the Russian siege in 1828. Its entry doors and other wooden architectural pieces were the war trophies of the Russian army and can be admired in the Ermitage Museum of Sankt Petersburg.
The inner courtyard (enderun) is about twenty by thirty-five meters. It has the administrative section, a mosque, madrasa (medrese) to the north, servant rooms and stables to the south, a double-story structure housing the guards to the east. The harem section is slightly higher in elevation than the inner courtyard. It is surrounded by pleasure gardens (hasbahçe) on three sides, and has a ceremonial hall (muayede salonu), kitchen (mutfak), cellar (kiler), baths (hamam) and many rooms. - Visiting the palace in 1990 I could not get rid of the impression that this standard interpretation was in error, that this castle had really been a Sufi Tekke.... (Photo Rolf Gross 1990)

The dome of the mosque (from

Entry gate to the harem – or the cells of the Sufi  -  from the inner courtyard. (from

View from the garden of the “harem” (Rolf Gross May 1990):