|Bursa Grand Mosque|
|Style||Islamic, Seljuk architecture|
Bursa Grand Mosque (Turkish: Ulu Cami) is a mosque in Bursa, Turkey. Built in the Seljuk style, it was ordered by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I and built between 1396 and 1399. The mosque has 20 domes and 2 minarets.
In Bursa, Turkey, the most prominent landmark and mosque is The Grand Mosque of Bursa. This mosque is "600 years old," and "one of Islam's most famous sanctuaries". Ulu Cami is the largest mosque in Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, and a landmark of early Ottoman architecture which used many elements from the Seljuk architecture. Ordered by Sultan Bayezid I, the mosque was designed and built by architect Ali Neccar in 1396-1399. Bayezid I was the fourth ruler of the Ottoman empire and ruled during the "most disastrous period of its decline", which makes The Grand Mosque even more significant. Although it was built during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, The Mosque was meant to be an ancestral keepsake for the generations to come. It is a large rectangular building, with twenty domes arranged in four rows of five that are supported by twelve columns. Supposedly the twenty domes were built instead of the twenty separate mosques which Sultan Bayezid I had promised for winning the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396. The mosque has two minarets.
There is also a fountain (?ad?rvan) inside the mosque where worshipers can perform ritual ablutions before prayer; the dome over the ?ad?rvan is capped by a skylight which creates a soft light below, playing an important role in the illumination of the large building.
The horizontally spacious and dimly lit interior is designed to feel peaceful and contemplative. The subdivisions of space formed by multiple domes and pillars create a sense of privacy and even intimacy.
A major structural concern for the mosque are earthquakes. "Earthquakes are considerable threats to historically and culturally significant buildings in Turkey, with its active tectonics and seismicity". After the major earthquake in 1855, the mosque went through "extensive restoration" and did not reopen until seven years later. This was due to the reconstruction of all 20 domes of the mosque. While researchers are unsure of the architect who built the mosque, they assume that it was either Ali Neccar or Hadji ?vaz Pasha due to the design and style of the mosque. The design of the mosque was built in a Seljuk style of architecture with early Ottoman elements. This Seljuk style is characterized by building traditions used by the Seljuk dynasty during its reign. During the 12th century reign of the Seljuk dynasty, "the Seljuk sultanate of Anatolia must have built, converted, altered, and reused many buildings", which explains the similarities between the Seljuk style of architecture and The Grand Mosque's structure. The Grand Mosque includes 20 domes and takes up 3165.5 meters of land that can gold 5000 individuals. It consists of four main doors and a unique water tank. The water tank includes a fountain underneath with eighteen corners, creating pool and a magnificent ambiance. The pool is used for ritual washings that any observer can utilize. The architect, utilizing the Seljuk style, used smooth cutting stones to get the effect of the pointed domes and thick walls. In addition, the mosque has two sets of minarets. A minaret is a "tall slender tower, typically part of a mosque, with a balcony from which a muezzin calls Muslims to prayer". These minarets were added to the mosque after the first renovation in hopes to prevent destruction from another earthquake and ultimately created more of a physical spectacle to the mosque.
The Grand Mosque is home to the most significant architecture and calligraphy, making it beautiful and extravagant inside and out. With the renovations due to catastrophic events, The Grand Mosque has had a complex history that cannot be demoted. Individuals travel from far and wide to witness the mosque's greatness through its' structure and artwork. The physical appearance of the mosque creates a spiritual experience that enhances the overall mosque's purpose.
In addition to The Grand Mosque's structural exterior extravagance, it is also well known for its' interior calligraphy. Calligraphy has been used in various different countries since the beginning of time and reached its prominence in the nineteenth century. Architectural calligraphy "became an essential component of all kinds of buildings - most notably mosques as well as dervish lodges, mausoleums, fountains, bridges, public and private buildings of every sort". The Grand Mosque is well known for its' calligraphy and is even called a "calligraphy museum". The name "calligraphy museum" is due to the 192 monumental wall inscriptions written by the famous Ottoman calligraphers of that period. The mosque has one of the greatest examples of Islamic calligraphy in the world. These inscriptions consist of "41 calligraphers". The Calligraphy is written on the walls, columns and on small and large plates. Out of the 192 calligraphy works, there are 87 different calligraphy works which include "verses from the Quran, hadiths, 99 names of Allah as well as the different names for Prophet Muhammad and notable Islamic scholars" (Gharipour 2013). Most of the calligraphy is written to enhance the visitors experience spiritually or during worship by giving meaningful advice from the Quran. This creates an atmosphere that individuals feel comfortable meditating, worshipping or praying in. Inside the mosque there are 192 monumental wall inscriptions written by the famous Ottoman calligraphers of that period.
The mosque has one of the greatest examples of Islamic calligraphy in the world.
Ablution fountain in the courtyard