Alev Erarslan

Keywords: Architect Sinan, urbanism, kulliyas, Ottoman urban


The Master Ottoman Architect Sinan, known as Mimar Sinan, produced numerous works of different character, among these, mosques, madrasahs, masjids (prayer rooms), khans (inns), caravanserais, covered bazaars, hammams (bath-houses), darüşşifa (hospitals), imarets (hospices), darülkurra (Koranic schools), sibyan mektebi (primary schools), tekke (lodges), waterways, aqueducts, fountains and palaces. Sinan is an architect that imprinted his mark upon his era by not repeating himself in any of the structures he created. Appointed the head of the Sultan's Society of Architects in 1538, Sinan created a great number of architectural works. Throughout the years of his long career in Ottoman architecture, in which time he produced an expansive typology of works, Architect Sinan also made a major contribution to urban planning. As Chief Architect, Sinan was responsible for many urban activities having to do with wastewater, fire prevention and the repair of many public buildings in Istanbul. Although documentation pertaining to Sinan's concept of the urban environment is scant, an analysis of all his structures suggests the existence of a delicate notion of city planning. Looking into the placement of the structures, their functional distribution within the city, the special roles they play in the general urban landscape, as well as their relationships to each other, it is not difficult to witness the rational conceptualization of a city. This article will attempt to examine the works of Architect Sinan in terms of his perspective on kulliye architecture, analyzing the contributions he made to these structures within the urban fabric, and to review his major kulliyes as intrinsic parts of the entirety of the city.