Mardin Ulu Camii
Mardin, Turkey
The mosque is located in historic core of Mardin. It has numerous inscriptive plaques from the Seljuk, Artuqid, Aq Qoyunlu and Ottoman periods, showing that the mosque was probably founded in the eleventh century by the Seljuks and developed to its current state under Artuqid rule during the last quarter of the twelfth century. Three inscriptions at the base of the minaret announce that it was commissioned in 1176 (572 A.H.) by Artuqid Beg Il Ghazi II (Kutbeddin or Qutb al-Din, 1176-1184). A fourth Artuqid inscription from 1186 (582 A.H.) commemorating Yülük Arslan (Husam al-Din, 1184-1203) is found to the right of the east courtyard portal. The wooden minbar is carved with the name of Artuqid Beg Dawud II (1368-1376). Two undated Aq Qoyunlu inscriptions to the left of the east portal are signed by Sultan Muizz al-Din Jahangir (1444-1457) and a governor of Mardin. Ottoman restorations are also commemorated with three inscriptions dating from 1764/65 (or 1861/62), 1888/89, and 1895/96.

The mosque consists of a rectangular prayer hall aligned east-west, preceded by a courtyard of comparable size to its north. It sits on a terrace built out from a south-facing hillside, with its north wall embedded into neighboring structures. The prayer hall is accessed through the courtyard, which is entered from side portals from on stone-staired alleyways to the east and west.

The stone-paved courtyard is forty-five meters long and thirteen meters wide. It is flanked to the north by an arcade with eleven cross-vaulted bays, which was topped with a upper story of rooms at a later date. The six western bays of the arcade are closed off to form a hall with a mihrab, while the five open bays to the east form a raised portico with a fountain iwan. The hall and portico are both entered from the central bay of the arcade. Barrel-vaulted cells adjoin the portals on the east and west sides of the courtyard. The cylindrical minaret with its ribbed dome rises at the northeast corner; the steps leading to its single balcony are accessed with a staircase from the courtyard.

The prayer hall to the south of the courtyard is entered from four doorways two of which were blocked to form windows. Its interior space, which measures fifty-one meters by thirteen meters, is divided into three rows and seven aisles with two transverse arcades and spanned with three lofty barrel vaults. A domed sanctuary occupies the two southern rows of the wider third aisle (from east), which is aligned with a portal on the north wall. The area before the sanctuary holds a wooden mezzanine floor that rests on archways with slender columns inserted between the heavy arcade piers. These archways and three buttresses built into the qibla wall help brace the structure against the dome's lateral thrust. The prayer hall is lit with five casements with pointed arches along the qibla wall, and four small windows pierced between the dome squinches. There are no remnants of painted decoration in the white-plastered interior. A few bands of carved molding adorn the sanctuary mihrab, which is flanked by two pilasters and topped by a triangular pediment.

The carved decoration of the cut-stone exterior is mostly preserved, including large inscriptive panels and a floral cornice on the east elevation. The finely carved ribs of the stone sanctuary dome are mirrored on the minaret crown and on two miniature domes on qibla buttresses. Of special interest is the Artuqid minaret, which is divided into four decorative sections with carved rings and a muqarnas balcony. Kufic compositions inscribed in tear drop motifs and medallions adorn the lower two sections, while the third section and the octagonal tower above the balcony are decorated simply with blind niches and arcades framed by carved moldings.

Sources:

Altun, Ara. Anadolu'da Artuklu devri Türk mimarisi'nin gelismesi, 61-75. Istanbul: Kültür Bakanligi : dagitim yeri, Devlet Kitaplari Müdürlügü, 1978.

Aslanapa, Oktay. Anadolu ilk Türk mimarisi: baslangici ve gelismesi, 8-9. Ankara: Ataürk Kültür, Dil ve Tarih Tüksek Kurumu, 1991.

Gabriel, Albert, Jean Sauvaget, and Turkey Istanbul. Voyages archéologiques dans la Turquie orientale. Paris: E. de Boccard, 1940.

Sözen, Metin. Anadolu'da Akkoyunlu mimarisi, 47-49. Istanbul: Türkiye Turing ve Otomobil Kurumu, 1981.
Location
Mardin, Turkey
Images & Videos
Documents
Events
11th-12th c./5th-7th c. AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Mardin Ulu Camii
Mardin Ulu Camisi
Variant
Ulu Cami
Variant
Great Mosque of Mardin
Translated
Ulu Cami of Mardin
Translated
Building Usages
mosque
religious