The Early Modern World, C. 1300–1600

Islamic Art and the Ottoman Empire

Who was Sinan the Great?

Sinan the Great (c. 1489–1588), whose full name was Koca Mimar Sinan Aga, was arguably the most famous architect in Islamic history, designing over three hundred buildings, including the Mosque of Selim II, which is considered his masterpiece. Also known as the Selimiye Mosque, the Mosque of Selim II was built between 1569 and 1575 in Edirne, Turkey. Sinan designed it when he was almost eighty years old, and his goal was to surpass the great architecture of the previous Byzantine Empire. He created a larger dome than that of the Hagia Sophia from base to crown. The building’s interior is a masterwork of mathematical proportion and geometry, fusing an octagon with a dome-covered square, with four half-domes in each corner.


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