Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Fine Arts

Committee Chair

Britt, Karen Christiana

Author's Keywords



Istanbul (Turkey)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Architecture, Ottoman--Turkey--Istanbul--History


Following the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottomans, a new trend in architecture developed that achieved a balance between the traditional Ottoman building practices of Bursa and Edirne with the styles found in Byzantium and the West. This thesis uncovers what led to the creation of a new Classical Ottoman architecture through an examination of the architectural resources available to the Ottoman sultans and their architects. The goal of this thesis is to discover what, if anything, is Ottoman about Ottoman imperial architecture in Istanbul. Was this new architecture the result of a logical progression of a traditional style or was it influenced by the new availability of Byzantine and Western resources? Sinan, chief architect under Sultan Süleyman, attained a mastery of material and visual harmony in his Süleymaniye Mosque Complex. Through a chronological study of his earlier mosques and the mosques of his predecessors, I intend to show the mosques of Sinan were responses to cross-cultural influences. Since mosque architecture is not restricted by plan requirements, almost any structure regardless of form may be converted to mosque use. This means that mosque construction is not limited to a particular style and therefore may be adapted to exist as a composite of building traditions. I consulted historical accounts and recent scholarship regarding Ottoman architectural history, along with associated myths and legends concerning the appropriation of the Byzantine Church of Hagia Sophia for Ottoman worship. I also compiled comparison data and statistics on the physical characteristics and dimensions of the mosques including plans and layout, and construction and decoration techniques.