Elbistan Ulu Camii
Elbistan, Turkey
Great Mosque of Elbistan dates from the ruler of Ottoman Sultan Selim I (1512 - 1520), while there is general agreement that it was built in 1496 or 1498 under the Dulkadirs before their territory was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1515. The mosque was re-built in Ottoman style in 1515 by Ali Bey, son of Sahsuvar Bey. The portal contains an inscription bearing the name Seljuk Sultan Giyaseddin Keyhusrev II (Ghiyath al-Din Kaykhusraw II) and the date of 1239 (637 A.H.), which was taken from another mosque commissioned by Emir Husameddin Çavli. It was restored numerous times.

The mosque consists of a square prayer hall, preceded by a three-bay portico to the north and a minaret at the northwest corner, all sitting on a rectangular base of twenty-nine by twenty-two meters. Entered from a tall pishtaq at the center of the northern façade, the three-bay portico is surmounted by cross vaults and closed on two sides. Based on structural difference between the upper structures of the prayer hall and the massive portico vaults, the portico is thought to be a later addition of the sixteenth or the seventeenth century. The portico is now glazed. Inside, the prayer hall has a symmetrical plan centered on a domes square space. Measuring in eight meters in diameter, the central dome sits on an octagonal drum raised on a square base carried on four piers. Four flying buttresses were used to reinforce the octagonal drum at a later restoration. Four shallow half-domes surround the central dome, while the corners of the prayer hall are covered by four smaller domes three meters in diameter. Two staircases on either side of the portal lead to the muezzin's platform (müezzin mahfili). There is another staircase embedded into the east wall of the prayer hall that leads to the sultan's lodge sultan mahfili); this staircase can be accessed from the street or the prayer hall. Constructed as a niche on the qibla wall with miniature columns on its sides, the mihrab is emphasized as a projection on the southern façade, with a half pyramidal roof. The prayer hall is dimly lit with two windows on the north and south façades, and one window each on the east and west façades. There are also eight windows on the octagonal drum.

The decoration of the mosque is limited to muqarnas carvings on the Seljuk style portal, on the two mihrab niches of the portico and, on the minaret balcony. The mihrab is decorated with stone carvings and has a pediment with floral motifs.

The minaret, which sits on an octagonal base, is attached to the northwestern corner of the portico. It ends in a balcony slightly thicker than the cylindrical shaft. The mosque is thought to have had another minaret at the northeastern corner. The mosque is built of cut stone.

Sources:

Akurgal, Ekrem, and Léo Hilber. The Art and architecture of Turkey, 121. New York: Rizzoli, 1980.

Aslanapa, Oktay. Turkish art and architecture, 215. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971.

Bayrak, M. Orhan. Türkiye Tarihi Yerler Kilavuzu, 479-480. Istanbul: Inkilap Kitabevi, 1994.

Goodwin, Godfrey. A history of Ottoman architecture, 176. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992.

Gündogdu, Hamza. Dulkadirli beyligi mimarisi, 23-27. Ankara: Kültür ve Turim Bakanligi Yayinlari, 1986.

Kuran, Aptullah. The mosque in early Ottoman architecture, 196. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.

Sinclair, T. A. Eastern Turkey: an architectural and archaeological survey, 84. London: Pindar Press, 1989.
Location
Günesli Mahallesi, Elbistan, Turkey
Events
1496/901-902 AH or 1498/903-904 AH; rebuilt 1515/920-921 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Elbistan Ulu Camii
Elbistan Ulu Cami
Variant
Ulu Camii
Variant
Great Mosque of Elbistan
Variant
Ulu Cami of Elbistan
Variant
Building Usages
mosque
religious