Works of Mimar Sinan

Mimar Sinan's craftsmanship is best perceived in the mosques he had built. In fact, his very first work is the Sehzade Mosque in Istanbul, which was built in 1548. This is also the first among the many opulent mosques he was to build later.

From his early creations, Sinan used to experiment with a wide range of styles. In the case of mosques, he worked with domes and vast interior spaces.

This style is evident in the Sehzade Mosque, where he had semi-domes erected on all the four sides of the central dome. The semi-domes gradually rise up to meet the central dome. There are many windows, which let the light into the central square. The intricate design of the Sehzade Mosques truly bears the imprint of Sinan's genius.

The Sulemaniye Mosque in Istanbul (1550-1557), was also on more or less the same lines as the Sehzade Mosque but on a larger scale and is much more open. He was 70 when he built it. The sense of space is imparted by a central square that continues to the aisles and out into a portico. Apart from the central dome and the semi-domes, the mosque also has many miniature domes offering both support and visual variety.

The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque (1562-1565) in Edirnekapi, Istanbul is amongst the simplest of designs conceived by Mimar Sinan. This single domed structure is based on a square plan. Ramparts jut out of the main structure and provide support to the dome. The uniqueness of the design however lies in the three half domes that support the main dome. Light streams in through the many windows that dot the edifice.

The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey is the high watermark of Sinan's career. He reached the pinnacle of artistry with this mosque and his achievement seems all the more remarkable when we consider that he did all this at the ripe old age of 80.

This massive monument is based on an octagonal plan. The central dome rests on eight piers, with additional support being provided by giant arches. Other differently sized arches serve both as props and as embellishments.

The Selimiye Mosque is unique in many other ways. It departs from the style deployed in the Sehzade and Sulemaniye mosques, in that it does away with semi-domes. It is here that Sinan achieves the greatest interior space, without compromising on the support of the entire structure.

Truly, the uncluttered interiors of the Selimiye Mosque, which seem to stretch along for eternity, is an architectural marvel which architects of all ages have consistently striven to achieve.