The Piyale Pasha Mosque

Called Ulucami or great mosque in Ottoman architecture, this type of building is considered by some scholars to be incompatible with Sinan’s endeavours to develop the central domed structure. Others consider this mosque to be a side experiment for Sinan who may have been seeking a change, having sufficiently exploited the centralised plan.

Two rows of triple windowless domes set parallel to the mihrab wall are supported by two central columns. On the mihrab side, buttresses markedly protruding from the outer wall help support the weight of the domes which the wall alone is too slight to carry. Galleries on both flanks of the building support the lateral load. Here, arches link the middle piers to the external wall in a manner typical of Sinan. The vaults covering the side galleries give the facade a double-arched appearance, creating another unusual visual effect, but the complex two storeyed portico structure surrounding the mosque on three sides seems to be in line with practices frequently found in Sinan’s mosques. In an unprecedented manner, the minaret is situated on top of the wide wall in the centre of the entrance front. The mihrab side too is decorated in an unusual manner, with four rows of windows of different proportions and shapes, set between buttresses and arches. The interior gives a sense of unified space, the group of six domes being supported by only two slim columns.