The Nisanci Mehmet Pasha Mosque

Scholars do not generally consider this mosque to be one of Sinan’s works, many of them attributing it to Davut Aga. However, if the mosque is studied carefully, it becomes obvious that it constitutes an important step in the development of Sinan’s octagonal plan. Even if he was too old to conceive new designs, the great master must have continued to have his previously conceived schemes implemented. Here the central dome is no longer fitted into a simple square structure, and the mosque, as in the case of  Kadirga Sokollu and Molla Celebi, becomes a truly unified space covered with a single main dome and its integrated semi-domes. This basic unity of design is broken however by two cloister vaults covering the entrance and its neighboring areas.

The mosque gradually narrows in zigzags along the north-south axis with the effect of enhancing the kiblah (direction of Mecca). The eyvan shaped plan created on the ground floor with the addition of two side rooms is masterfully integrated with the latecomers’ area. Moreover, the opposition thus created between the mihrab and the latecomer’s areas does not hinder the spatial harmony of the interior. The dome, which is not very large, is easily supported by the zigzagging walls which function as buttresses. As for the south or kiblah facade, which had remained as massive as a buttress wall in many mosques until then, Sinan finally manages to give it the liveliness and portent it deserves. All these features indicate how important a stage this mosque represents in Sinan’s development.