Sinan The Architect

According to the sources available on Sinan’s works, he produced more than four hundred works. It may be safer to say that these works were built or renovated during his lifetime. We shall not attempt to describe each and every one of  Sinan’s works but rather concentrate on the most important ones within their categories, as well as those which are most representative of his art.
Some Important Religious Complexes (Kulliye ) Kulliyes were complexes with diverse social functions, the most important of which was the religious one. The main building of the complex was the mosque, followed by the medrese. The complex would usually also include the following premises: a public kitchen or refectory, a guesthouse, a hospital, a school, a hamam, a fountain, a water distribution kiosk and different shops. The tomb of the person who had ordered the project would generally be situated within the complex. Kulliyes situated on the main caravan routes would include, in addition to the kervansaray, a prayer hall, a hamam, a refection hall, shops and stables. The kulliyes were powerful social poles, and the fact that they were conceived .as vaklfs ensured their continuity. The activities they brought about considerably stimulated the urban development of the areas in which they were built. Therefore many kulliyes were built in newly settled areas in order to help them develop. The duties and rights of each kulliye were specified in detail in the foundation charter and the people in charge of the vaklf implemented the terms of the charter.

The kulliyes designed by Sinan are exquisitely conceived, be it from the point of view exquisitely of the site chosen, the integration to an often rough and uneven terrain, or the harmony achieved with the city’s general skyline. Most of them are situated on hilltops or on the sea shore where they can easily seen. They strike the eye as one approaches the city, constituting an inseparable part of its silhouette. The choice of the site is not only related to the Kulliye’s appearance from afar, but also to the view one has of the city from inside the complex, a view enhanced with the spectacle of the sea offered by the shores of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It is in adapting his design to sloping terrains that Sinan has shown a most special talent. Solving such problems seems to have been like some sort of entertaining crossword puzzle for him. These kulliyes entertaining can be easily reached from different ground levels while offering a rich variety of perspectives. The different buildings forming the kulliye are very skilfully situated at levels corresponding to their function and importance. The final result is a well graded complex offering a fine appearance visible from afar, and forming an organic whole dominated by the mosque.