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[Ottoman Architecture] [Ottoman Architecture] [Late period]


SELIM III PERIOD AND BUILDINGS (1789-1807)      


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Late in the 18th century, the first serious step in benefiting the western science and technique was taken by the movement called Nizam-I Cedit (New Order) during the reign of Selim III (1789-1807). The name Nizam-I Cedit, besides a name for an army corps, implied a process of renovation in social, economic and cultural terms. In this period the buildings built previously were supplemented with barracks, military factories, administrational buildings, schools and small dams. The building types were thus diversified with the mosques, fountains and palaces that were built before. As was the case during the reign of Abdulhamit I, the baroque style dominated the elaborations and rococo in decoration in this period.

The Hall of Selim III in Topkapi Palace, which is over-elaborate, reflects the rococo features very clearly. It includes vertical lines and top windows in rococo; brisk lines and gilding are applied abundantly. In baroque palaces, use of mirrors, which enables reflections of light making the space more luminous and spacious, is also important.

An important water building of the period of Selim III is the Mihrisah Sultan Fountain and Water-tank, located near the Eyup Sultan Mosque in Eyup. Built in 179 the building was dedicated to Valide Sultan, the mother of Selim III. It is in fact a kulliyah, consisting of a tomb, hostel for pilgrims, fountain and a school. The tomb, built in 1792, is one of the most beautiful examples of the Ottoman baroque and rococo. The steps at the entrance are made of white, red and black marble. The facade, with columns and plasterwork, concave and convex twists, oyster figures on keystones and S and C curves, reflects a baroque and rococo character. The building is heightened from the ground with stairs. The fountain is shaped like an hemisphere protruding towards outside. It has a fluctuated facade, where the composition of plaster-architrave-pediment-cornice was kept in two levels. Such an application gives the building a brisk effect, with the S and C forms and the relieved figures.

One of the two religious buildings built with baroque and rococo influence during the reign of Selim III is the Eyup Sultan Mosque. Previously, there was the Eyup Mosque here, dated to 1591. The building has been changed with additions in time. Eyup was an important town for the sultans, who used to put up their swords here. The Eyup Sultan Mosque was the last application of classical mosques with eight supports. Its dome with a high rim is the most important baroque element of the building. Besides, baroque and rococo elements are also present in the elaborations in the mihrab and entrance gate of the mosque. There are figures of S and cartridges on the columns on the two sides of the main gate, as well as figures of plants on the column heads.

The other baroque mosque of the period is the Selimiye Mosque. Built in 1803-1804 in Uskudar, the mosque is located on a high plain, which is a general feature of baroque mosques. Besides, it has a dome with a high rim. The sultan’s meeting room looks like a separate residence. The inside of the mosque is luminous as it has numerous windows. Use of the effects of light in designing the internal space is common in baroque style. There are dents and bulges around the dome. Forward and backward movement is obvious in the outer surface. The fringes and profiles are brisk and the arches are round. There are two arches on the main gate, one in the other, and elaborated with a pediment and crowns. There is the cartridge over the epigraph. There are columns embedded into walls on the sides. Besides, bird palaces with baroque influence, like the ones in Nuruosmaniye Mosque, can be seen.

Tomb of Sah Sultan: Sah Sultan, the sister of Selim III, requested a kulliyah in Eyup to built and named after her. The kulliyah, consisting of a tomb, fountain and a primary school, was built in 1800 by İbrahim Kamil Aga. The kulliyah demonstrates the baroque influences with its elements of architecture and elaboration, low arches and elliptical windows. The curved lines on the sides of the main gate and the windows allowing light in as good as possible are the other baroque elements of the building.

In this period, barracks were built, first in Uskudar and Levent, for the purposes of training of the army corps of Nizam-I Cedit (New Order). Selimiye Barracks, located in the southeast of Uskudar, is one of the first examples of this new type of building. Resources indicate that the building was designed by the architect Kirkor Balyan. As is the usual case in barracks, the building is located on a high hill viewing the whole city. The first barracks that include many wooden buildings date back to 1800; however, they were burnt down during the revolt of the janissaries in 1807. The Selimiye Mosque is one of the buildings located in barracks.

During the second half of the 18th century, palace architecture focused on the European coast of the Bosporus. In this period, assistance of a foreign architect for a building was used for the first time in Ottoman history. Hatice Sultan, sister of Selim III, liked the house of Danish ambassador in Buyukdere and wanted to have her palace and garden to be designed likewise. As the ambassador suggested her to apply to Melling, the Austrian painter and architect built a palace in Defterdarburnu for Hatice Sultan. The gravure included in the album of Melling is the visual data of the building. The palace, built in neo-classical style, could not be preserved until today.

Besides Topkapi Palace, the most important work of civil architecture preserved is the Aynalikavak Mansion, which is located in Haskoy in Kasimpasa, on the land of Tersane Palace, once the greatest palace on the coast of Golden Horn. The mansion is the only preserved building in the palace complex. It was built in the 18th century and was later restored by the succeeding sultans. The name is considered to come from the mirrors, which were installed in 1718 after being presented as a gift by the Venetians. The palace, located above the Golden Horn, is one of the most beautiful examples of the traditional Turkish architecture. On the bottom floor of the mansion is now the Centre for Research of Turkish Music and Museum of Musical Instruments, where the ancient musical instruments are exhibited.