The most famous Turkish architect. (B. May 29th, 1489, Ağırnas / Kayseri- D April 9th, 1588, Istanbul). He was also known as the Grant Mimar Sinan Ağa, Sinaneddin Yusuf, Abdulmennanoğlu Sinan. He was brought to Istanbul as a picked up boy for the Janissaries during the dynasty of Padishah Yavuz Sultan Selim. (1512) He was chosen to be brought due to his bright intelligence and dynamism. He was recruited for country services and then he began to work in Acemi Ocağı (T.N. Beginner Society) and Guild of Janissaries. He was aspired by architecture and desired to build water channels and arches in yards and gardens. He worked in the construction sites of shelters, fountains and tombs with outstanding professionals of his era. He participated in the 1514 Chaldoran Battle and 1517 Egypt Campaign, respectively. He became a janissary at dynasty of Kanunî Sultan Süleyman (Suleyman the Magnificient). He was recruited in mounted troops in 1521 Belgrade Campaign and 1522 Rhodes Campaign. After the pitched battle of Mohaç in 1526, he also crusaded in German Campaign in 1532, Tabriz and Baghdad Campaigns in 1534. Having returned from these campaigns, he was granted a “Haseki” position (personal servant of the Sultan). In the Baghdad Campaign, he ensured the placement of cannons in the galleys via which the transportation was made on the Van Lake during the Blockade of Van Castle. Sinan who also crusaded in Korfu, Pulya (1537), and Moldavia (Kara Buğdan) (1538) campaigns was appreciated by Kanunî Sultan Süleyman (Suleyman the Magnificient) for fixing a bridge over Prut River in thirteen days during the Moldova Battle.
Sinan had the chance to examine architectural structures in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Persia, and Balkans as well as in Southern Europe extending to Vienna during the battles he crusaded and he also designed various works of art. He met the most famous architects of that era and master of Bayezid Mosque, Architect Hayreddin in Istanbul. He was promoted to the position of Chief Architecture in 1538. Three works he built before becoming head of architecture stand out. Namely, these are the Halep Hüsreviye Külliyesi, Gebze Çoban Mustafa Pasha Külliyesi and Haseki Külliyesi (T.N. Islamic social complexes) erected for Hürrem Sultan in Istanbul. Three works of art he constructed after being the head of architecture are reflecting his improvements in art. First of them is the Şehzadebaşı Mosque and Külliyesi. Located in this complex there are also imaret (alms house), kitchen, caravanserai and a madrasah separated with a street. On top of this, the Süleymaniye Mosque is the most gorgeous work of Mimar Sinan in Istanbul. Great dome in twenty seven diameters was situated in a quite dimensional and harmonic manner on the building rising from the ground. Süleymaniye Mosque implies a fascinating architectural structure with its pure and harmonic outlook indicating peace and nobility. Süleymaniye Mosque and Külliyesi are composed of eight separate buildings and served as a second university, first being the Fatih Mosque.
Edirne Selimiye Mosque that he constructed at the age of eighty is the most beautiful work of Mimar Sinan. The doom of this mosque is higher and deeper than the dome of Hagia Sophia. Dome in thirty one and half meters of diameter was situated on an octagonal body. Narrow minarets of this mosque have three parapets and allow climbing of three individuals at the same time without seeing each other. He stated that this mosque was his mastership work, in which he demonstrated his all skills.
Known works of arts by Mimar Sinan include; 84 mosques, 53 small mosques, 57madrasahs, 7 darülkurra (a section in which Koran is recited in madrasah), 22 tombs, 17 imarets, 3 hospitals, 5 water channel arches, 8 bridges, 20 caravanserais, 35 palaces, 8 cellars, 48 Turkish baths, which are in total 364 pieces. People who made analysis on Mimar Sinan’s works stated that he had applied all required and known measures against the earthquake studying precisely as if he was a scientist. The ground mixture is one example to such measures. Thanks to this material that was used only in the works of Sinan, seismic waves are absorbed and neutralized. On the other hand his location preference for this works also worth to note. He compressed the soil with piles to reinforce the ground and erected retaining walls. Yet another measure taken by him was allowing the foundation of Süleymaniye Mosque to settle down for six years so that the foundation would be exactly situated on the ground.
Another building type that reflects remarkable trials by Sinan is tombs. While the tomb of Şehzade (Prince) Mehmet draws attention with its excessive ornamented side and slotted dome, he used the double-sided dome, which was rarely used in Turkish architecture, at the excellent looking tomb of Kanunî Sultan Süleyman and he placed the inner dome on top of pillars and external dome on the external walls. He used smoothed edge square-plan instead of traditional hexangular or octagonal pattern for II. Selim’s tomb.
Mimar Sinan thoroughly examined all works of arts he could see but he never imitated any of them. He consistently improved and renewed his art. Columns, walls and other components of his works are not wider than the required dimensions to enable them to resist the load they bear. Detail-oriented computing in all his architectural structures stands out as a characteristic feature. Prior to the construction he used to arrange landscaping. Mimar Sinan is also an urban-planning specialist. He had a great success in choosing the place for his construction sites and located his work of arts in the most suitable manner with the surroundings. Furthermore, he also established a sewerage system called as drainage in his works. Drainage system was intended to increase durability of the buildings through the protection of foundation against water and humidity. Air channels which balanced cold and hot air were by removing moisture and damp were used within the structure. Moreover, vapor discharge channels were used in order to prevent input of steam generated by warming up of water and soil during summer. Steam discharge and moisture channels were utilized in combination with drainage channels. Monumental structures which draw attention with robustness of their load-bearing elements and foundations which still remain standing are important from an engineering viewpoint as well as architecture. That is why; he was named as the “chief architect of the world” and “engineer of the time”.
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The tomb of Mimar Sinan is located in a triangle area at the opposite corner of former Ağalar Kapısı (T.N. gate for guards of the Sultan) of the Süleymaniye Mosque. There is a fountain made of solid marble in front of the tomb. In the small graveyard at the back of the fountain, the corpse of Mimar Sinan lied in a tomb with six columns, top of which is covered while sides are not surrounded. This tomb was constructed by himself, a short while before his death. It was restored by Architect Vasfi Egeli in 1933. Edges of his symbolic coffin as well as the wreathed quilted turban placed on top of it are made of marble and the tomb might be viewed from a barred window facing the street.
REFERENCE: Reşat Ekrem Koçu / Mimar Sinan (Sedat Çetintaş ile, 1936), Ahmet Refik / Türk Mimarları (1936), İbrahim Alaeddin Gövsa / Türk Meşhurları (1946), Suut Kemal Yetin / Türk Mimarisi (1970),Metin Sözen / Anadolu Medreseleri (1970), Türk Mimarlığı’nın Tarihsel Gelişimi (1980) - Yüzyılların Mimarı Sinan (Architect of Ages, 1988), Büyük Larousse Ansiklopedisi (c: 13, s: 8189 – 8190, 1986), Ana Britannica (c: 19, s: 394-395-396, 1987), M. Kadri Atabaş / Türk Mimarları (2000), Orhan Cezmi Tuncer / Diyarbakır Camileri (Diyarbakır BŞ Belediyesi Kültür ve Sanat Yayınları, Ankara 1996), Sinan’ın Doğusu – Mimar Sinan ve Diyarbakır (Diyarbakır Valiliği, tsz), Yrd. Doç. Dr. Mücahit Yıldırım / Diyarbakır Camileri ve Mimar Sinan Ekolü (Nebiler, Sahabiler, Azizler ve Krallar Kenti Diyarbakır, 25-27 Mayıs 2009, Diyarbakır, s. 315-322), İhsan Işık / Diyarbakır Ansiklopedisi (2013) - Ünlü Sanatçılar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 5, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).