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Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

Content Code : Turkey-5052

Architect Sinan designed this mosque after 1557, for Mihrimah Sultan, Sultan Suleyman's daughter. This mosque is unprecedented with its supporting system and dome (19 m.). Four arches that spring from four piers hold up the dome, which has an astonishing height (35 m.). There are very narrow, domed aisles on the east and west sides of the building. These aisles do not lend a support to the covering system.  

  In addition to this drawback in the supporting system, the four tympana (:walls filling the arches) are excessively fenestrated through three layers of windows (19 windows in each), which render the walls transparent curtains. The qibla wall below the southern tympanum also contains windows. On the inside, two rows of double granite columns bear the thrust of the eastern and western tympana.
 

They also separate aisles from the domed central area. On the other hand, the southern and northern tympana are not buttressed any way. The outcome of this constructional drawback is an elegant structure, which looks like a crystalline ball, hung to ropes fastened on sticks. This effect is more apparent on the inside, which is abundantly lit with sunlight during daytime. This mosque reminds another exceptional building, Hagia Sophia Church, which contains a huge dome placed on   a basilica. This junction is a real challenge to structural canons, which necessitate a gable roof on top of an oblong basilica. In Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, the fenestration in the walls and the heavy dome calls for a bulky buttressing system, which is absent. In both examples, architects challenged established rules and created extraordinarily lit and ample spaces below the dome.

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