HIGH ISLAMIC AND OTTOMAN ARCHITECTURE
A series of lectures on the evolution of Ottoman mosque architecture –
Many of you will have visited Istanbul or even Edirne where Ottoman architecture reached its full development in the mid 16th century through the collaboration of a great donor (Sultan Suleiman) and the architectural genius, Sinan Pasha. Architecture has on many occasions in history been the lasting expression of success of a civilization in drawing to itself the tangled threads of its origins and creating a new form from older elements that had expressed similar but at the same time quite dissimilar achievements and even world view. Fortunately the time has passed since Hagia Sophia has been considered to have been copied over and over by the Ottomans and this course of lectures will be devoted to seeing the manner in which older forms and achievements – reaching back into Greco-Roman and Christian times – reached a new ideological expression in the fusion of the Antique tradition with Islam and eventually with the Ottoman Turks.
We will begin by a study of the great Umayyad Mosque of Damascus and the Aqsa Mosque of Jerusalem and the manner in which Greco-Roman-Christian achievements were give a new form through Islam in the 7th century. Almost all of the mosques built during the period of High Islamic Civilization (8th through 13th centuries) are variations on these mosques. The lectures will trace the history of this through the three capitols of the growing Ottoman Empire, Bursa, Edirne and finally Istanbul where Hagia Sophia stood and expressed ideas and a theology that was to a degree antithetical to that of the Ottomans. How its architectural components were re-invented and even discovered through the genius of Sinan is one of the neglected periods of history.
The lectures will be accompanied by visual aids in the form of CD projector photographs as well as hand-outs. At the end of the course there will be a special series of lectures on applied arts in the form of tile and metal work.
N. Stavroulakis did his initial graduate work under Prof. Oleg Grabar who was a pioneer in the study of Islamic Architecture and Applied Arts. His initial doctoral research was done at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem under Prof. Michael Avi Yonah and later under Prof. Bezalel Narkis. He lectured in Ottoman and Byzantine Fine Art at the University of Tel Aviv and later at the College Year in Athens. He was active in leading tours to Istanbul, Edirne and Bursa.