Nilüfer Hatun Imareti
Iznik, Turkey
The inscriptive plaque (kitabe) above the entry announces that Murad I, son of Orhan I, built this soup kitchen (imaret) in 790 A.H., in the memory of his mother Nilüfer Hatun. After many years of abandonment, the soup kitchen has been restored to its original condition in 1955. It is currently the home of the Iznik Museum, established 1960, displaying objects from the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods in Iznik.

The building is based on a reverse T-plan with a five-bay portico preceding a central court to the east with rooms flanking north and south and a raised eyvan to the west. The portico is carried on four piers and four columns crowned with muqarnas capitals, two of which subdivide the side arches. Piers on either side of the entrance are marked with hexafoil demi-columns that are capped with conical roofs at the level of the springing arch. The space is covered with mirror vaults and domed above the central bay. The southern section of the portico was rebuilt during restoration in 1955.

A pair of new wooden doors leads into the square planned central hall, its dome mounted with a lantern. The raised eyvan to the west begins under a great arch that divides the space and is subdivided into equal parts by a second arch. A rectangular frame at the foot of the second arch to the south marks the place of a masked mihrab, suggesting use of the eyvan as a prayer hall. Two small domes, supported by concealed cradle vaults cover the space; the vault holding the inner dome is embellished with rows of stalactites. The rooms to the north and south of the central hall have lower ceilings and are protected by domes on pendentives that rest on arches at the extreme ends of the room. Outside, the ends of the rooms extend beyond the edges of the taller portico, creating an unusual composition. Equipped with fireplaces (ocak), it is possible that these rooms were used as dervish lodges (zaviye) as well as kitchens.

The construction of the soup kitchen is one layer of stone to three layers of brick, increased to four layers of brick on the portico. The walls are capped with brick saw toothing ranging from four layers on the portico a single layer under the lantern dome. Terra-cotta tiles cover the brick domes. The interior is currently plastered.

Sources:

Iznik tarih ve Müze Komitesi yayini. Istanbul: Kenan Matbaasi, 1943.

Ayverdi, Ekrem Hakki. Osmanli mi?ma ârîsinin ilk devri: Ertugrul, Osman, Orhan gaazîler, Hu üdavendigâr ve Yildirim Bâyezîd, 630-805 (1230-1402). Istanbul: Baha Matbaasi, 1966.

Eyice, Semavi. Iznik: tarihçesi ve eski eserleri. Istanbul: Sanat Tarihi Aras stirmalari Dergisi Yayini, 1988.

Ötüken, S. Yildiz. Türkiyede Vakif Abideler ve Eski Eserler. Ankara: Vakiflar Genel Müdürlügü Yayinlari, 1972.

Yalman, Bedri. Iznik: Nicaea. Governorship of Bursa, Provincial Directorate of Tourism: Bursa, 1999.
Location
On Museum Street across from the Green Mosque, Iznik, Turkey
Images & Videos
Events
1388-1389/790 AH, restored 1955/1374-1375 AH
Style Periods
1299-1922
Variant Names
Nilüfer Hatun Imareti
Nilufer Hatun Soup Kitchen
Variant
Nilüfer Hatun Zaviyesi
Variant
Iznik Museum
Variant
Iznik Müzesi
Variant
Building Usages
soup kitchen
social welfare