MEDITERRANEAN CIVILIZATIONS


HAGIA SOPHIA


Subsidiary Islamic Buildings

Hagia Sophia during Ottoman era After Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque, as in thecase with other large mosques, many religious and secular buildings were constructed in its vicinity according to Turkish-Islamic tradition. The Medrese (theological school), Imaret (charity organisation), Cesme (fountain), Hamam (public bath) were just a few of them. Since this was the most important mosque, many sultans were buried in the mausoleums in its surrounds.

The Fountain (Sadirvan)

Sadirvan (the fountain) In the stone courtyard, the first Turkish monument which catcheseye, is the impressive fountain for ablutions (Sadirvan). Built to serve as a place for ritual ablutions before praying, it is a superb example of Ottoman baroque art. It was built by Sultan Mahmud I in 1740. Next to the fountain is the primary school (Sibyan Mektebi) built by the same sultan.

On the left of the exit is a building now used as an office. Built in the 19th century, it was once the "Muvakkithane" (the clock room). In the middle of the room, on a round table, once stood a large, extremely precise clock. The pupils could look through the windows to find out the exact time.

North of Hagia Sophia, there were two important edifices built during the Turkish era: the Medrese (theological school) and the Imaret (charity organisation). The Medrese has been totally demolished in recent years, but the Imaret is in good condition and serves as a depot. Built by Sultan Murad III in the 16th century, it was used to distribute food to the needy.

The Hamam (public bath) is 100 metres from Hagia Sophia, situated to the east of Sultanahmet Park.


The Mausoleums

Door of mausoleum All of the four mausoleums were built to the south of HagiaSophia. The baptistry was also converted into a mausoleum. The facade of each mausoleum is decorated with ornamental tiles and exquisitely crafted doors.

The first small building, in the section of the courtyard where the mausoleums are located, is a mausoleum of the crown princes. The second is that of Sultan Murad III (1546-1595). A total of fiftyfour sultans and crown princes repose in this mausoleum built by the famous architect Davut Aga.

The third mausoleum is that of Sultan Selim II. It was built in the 16th century by the most famous of all Turkish architects, Sinan, and is an exquisite example of Islamic architecture. It has an overwhelming atmosphere of serenity. Covered with richly patterned tiles, masterpieces of wood carving and calligraphy decorate the walls.

Sultan Mehmed III (1595-1603) lies in the next mausoleum. Some of the crown princes of the same family and the women of the palace, also rest in this same mausoleum.


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