MOSQUES ARE EMBRACING FOR PRAYING, FINDING PEACE, GETTING LOST IN THOUGHTS ACCOMPANIED BY THE MEANINGFUL WORDS OF THE RAMADAN MAHYAS.
There are shelters to find peace in a city. For some, this is a seafront; and for some others a courtyard of a mosque. In this land, mosques that have survived until today are our historical treasures. Attending prayers and joining the congregation in these mosques that are open to everyone are more enjoyable. Mosques are embracing for praying, finding peace, getting lost in thoughts accompanied by the meaningful words of the Ramadan mahyas. We have created a selection among the numerous mosques that gains more meaning with the Ramadan. Enter through these gates to pursuit the light filtering through the windows, to appreciate the works of master craftsmen, to worship in a historical atmosphere.
Masterpiece of Islamic art: Divriği Great Mosque
It is among the masterpieces of Islamic art in Anatolia. Looking at the stonework of the gates, one might think that it is not easy to find another masterpiece that is so close to the peak of this art. Great Mosque of Divrigi, which is located in the Upper Euphrates Basin, near Çaltı Creek Valley, is regarded as a masterpiece of Islamic art. Its greatest feature is asymmetry, three-dimensionality of the stonework and richness of the motives. It is one of nine natural and cultural assets in Turkey, which is taken in UNESCO’s cultural heritage of the world list. The Bey of Seljuk Mengücek Ahmed Shah had ordered the construction of the mosque that is located just below the Divrigi castle and his wife Melike Turan Melek had ordered the construction of its hospital in 1228. The hospital, which is adjacent to the mosque, is one of the oldest of the three Seljuk medical centers along with the hospitals in Kayseri and Sivas.
At the Crown Gate of the Hospital, a woman figure is depicted with braids on the right border and a male figure, wearing an earring, on the left border. At the West Crown Gate of the mosque, single and double-headed eagles are depicted. It is written Allah on the turning balance-columns. The North Crown Gate that only takes sunlight one whole day in a year is the most famous of the gates with its incredible stonework. The tree of life, the sun disc, lotus tree leaves, crescents, stars, and geometric shapes made with greater mastery. The arch is decorated with octagonal stars and each star has different floral motives. This is why it’s called the ‘Heaven’s Gate.’ Another feature of the door is the use of a wood carving method called ‘Kündekari’ on stone blocks. One other thing that makes the mosque famous is its ebony pulpit, which was built by Tbilisi İbrahimoğlu ‘Amele’ Ahmed. It’s been told that in order to process the pulpit that was made using Kündekari method, the wood was rested under the soil and manure for seven years.
DID YOU KNOW?
UNESCO regards the Divriği Hospital as a structure to symbolize the equality of women and men because of the stone carvings on the entrance.
A master in the Ottoman capital: Selimiye Mosque
When Mimar Sinan completed the Selimiye (1569- 1575), located in Edirne, which he had called ‘My mastery work’, he was 84 years old. He was dreaming of building a dome that could compete with the dome of Hagia Sophia. Indeed, the Selimiye’s dome is the topmost point of Ottoman mosque architecture has reached. As a result of numerous experiments, multilateral alcoved mosque plan has reached its most advanced stage. It has been believed that the mosque had been built in Edirne because of Selim II’s particular interest in Edirne and the thought of no proper hills left to build a mosque in İstanbul. Four 71-meter tall minarets of the Selimiye can be seen almost anywhere in the city.
A masterpiece of the 16th century tiling
The Selimiye incorporates all aspects of the decorative arts of the Ottoman mosque architecture. In the mosque, there are tiles, ornaments of the central dome engraving, glass in the window work, stone, marble, wood, mother of pearl decorations. Especially the tile decorations are considered as the most beautiful examples of the 16th century tiling. A great portion of the window pediments’ tiling in the Sultan’s Assemblies and the altar wall, on the corners of the belts in the Women’s Assembly were dismantled and taken by the Russians during the Ottoman-Russian war, then restored in accordance with the originals. There is a small marble pool under the Muezzins’ Assembly in the Selimiye. This pool design that was encountered in the Seljuk and early Ottoman mosques was revived by Sinan in his time in the Selimiye. When the subject is Mimar Sinan and his mosques, one cannot settle for a single work. Especially Istanbul is filled with the architect’s masterpieces; Suleymaniye Mosque, Rustem Pasha Mosque, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, Kılıçali Pasha Mosque, Shahzada Mosque…
The two minarets that can be climbed via three different staircases were built in spirals in a way that people who climb them at the same time cannot see each other.
The token of victory from Beyazit: Bursa Grand Mosque
Bursa is a city that has one of the most beautiful locations of Turkey… The city dominates a fertile plain created by Nilufer Stream on the outskirts of Uludag. The true heart of Bursa is Koza Han, İpekçiler (Silk makers) Bazaar. The bazaar is stunning with its fountain with a prayer room, which is rarely found, cafes and restaurants on the bottom floor, its vaulted structure lined with shops that sell silk scarves. You might not take the Grand Mosque in Bursa just near Koza Han (1398- 1400) seriously from the outside, but you would be wrong. This is the most glorious mosque in the city and also the one that can host the largest congregation. It was built by the order of Yıldırım Beyazıt with the captures gained via the victory in Macedonia. Although, Yıldırım Beyazit had sworn an oath to order the construction of twenty mosques, if he won the war; however, he had to settle with a mosque that had twenty domes and twelve pillars. It was still the largest and the most artistic mosque of the period.
Fountain instead of praying room
The most striking aspect of Grand Mosque is the marble fountain with 16-corners under the glass dome in the middle. A fountain in the middle is not something very common in mosques, but it fits well. There is also a story to it; during the expropriation of the buildings for the construction of the mosque, a woman did not want a mosque to be built over her land due to her faith. Thus, a fountain was built over the land that belonged to her. Another feature of the mosque is the woodwork of the walnut pulpit that fills the eyes. No glue or nails are said to be used to assemble it.
An unusual mosque in Kastamonu: Mahmut Bey Mosque
The size of a mosque doesn’t specify its great impression on the human spirit. Some small mosques are almost like jewels, so to speak. If you’re in Kastamonu, in Daday direction, seeing the wooden Mahmut Bey Mosque, which is 18 km away, is a must in this region. This is such a mosque that by just looking at its photo, your nose could smell the wood. Leave aside the warmth of the wood and the sense of life experiences, this 14th-century mosque can make anyone dizzy with the construction techniques used, ceiling decorations and of course the gorgeous door.
Worship enveloped by the smell of wood
There may be only a handful of these wooden mosques left in Anatolia. The ruler of Candaroğlu, Amir Mahmut Bey had the mosque built. The ceiling and the floor of the mosque is made from wood. The roof is entirely made from wood, while only some of the original columns are wood. It had been constructed with the use of trapping technique and nails are never used. In addition to the magnificent woodwork, ornaments made with vegetable dyes are also remarkable. The door that is made with an extraordinary wood carving method is legendary. The original of this door, which is the work of Nakkaş Mahmutoğlu Abdullah of Ankara that had made the doors of Eligüzel Mosque, is at the Kastamonu Ethnography Museum, in other words in the Liva Pasha Mansion. It was stolen in 1997, than it was found.
A unique structure in the Aegean: Kılcızade Mehmet Aga Mosque
In a lush valley, located in Aydın Mountains’ northern outskirts, Bademli vicinity of Izmir, Ödemiş has been existed for three thousand years in this wonderful nature. Bademli, which often changed hands between Byzantine and Anatolian principalities, goes to the Aydınoğulları principality, which dominated the region, in 1308. It is believed that the name of the vicinity is originated from “Potamia” meaning “land of river” based on an earthen tablet found in a field that says “Potamia” on it.
A flower garden in a green valley
In Bademli, there is a mosque so uncommon in Aşıklaroba neighborhood: Kılcızade Mehmet Aga. One gets the feeling of being in heaven or in a flower garden surrounded by green trees, colorful flowers, and red birds. As well as walls, pulpit has taken its share of the engravings. Looking at the flower and plant motives adorning the ceilings and walls, one might get an idea of the area’s vegetation. The mosque that was built in the 17th century is named after Kılcızade (Seyyid) Mehmet Aga, Voivode of Ödemiş, who ordered the repairs given the structure its final look in 1810. In 1991, the mosque was identified as a property of the Conservation of Immovable Cultural Heritage program. The inscription on the entrance is surrounded with vine and grape frescos. According to the elderly of the locals, the cotton fields seen when coming from Izmir Ödemiş were vineyards and fig orchards once. The inscription presents depictions of Kâbe-i Muzzama and Ravza-i Mutahhara in miniature style on both sides of it. The reason why the three squares located at the southern facade of the mosque are not decorated is because the craftsman who made the engravings was drafted into the army.