The Seljuk Kiosk Mosque and General Plan

Another Seljuk innovation in the plan of the mosque appeared in what Andre Godard called the Mosque Kiosque. This usually small edifice is characterised by its unusual plan which consists of a domed hall, standing on arches, with three open sides giving it the Kiosk character.

+ Click to read the full article
- Click to close

Summarised extracts from a full article:
Muslim Architecture under Seljuk Patronage (1038-1327) by Rabah Saoud

Another Seljuk innovation in the plan of the mosque appeared in what Andre Godard called the Mosque Kiosque. This usually small edifice is characterised by its unusual plan which consists of a domed hall, standing on arches, with three open sides giving it the Kiosk character (Godard, 1965).

This type of mosque was often attached to large building complexes such as caravanserais and Madrassas. The Kiosk Mosque also formed the original structure of later larger mosques such as the one at Gulpaygan (1105-1118), at Qazvin (1106-1114), and at Jameh Mosque (1072-1092) found in Ardestan (Iran) (figure 2), or incorporated in Madrassas such as the one in the Haydariya Madrassa.

Figure 1. Jameh Mosque (Ardestan) (1072-1092) in its early stages was a Kiosk Mosque

In Anatolia, there are indications that the Seljuk may have integrated the basilical plan of Christian churches into the mosque and Madrassa plans producing a longitudinal shape, rather than customary wide. Seljuk contacts with Christians in neighbouring Byzantium, and the newly Muslim Armenia (11th century) could have resulted in this inspiration, which also resulted in the gradual disappearance of the open courtyard, probably also due to climatic influences too. Examples of these changes can be seen in mosques in Divrighi and Erzurum, Alaaddin Mosque in Nighde, Gokmedrese Mosque in Amasya and the enclosed sections of the caravanserai buildings such as Sultan Han near Kayseri (began 1229). The influence of Seljuk Iran in Anatolia appears in the use of Iwan in a number of examples especially in Khawand Khatun at Kayseri (1238), but the Iwan type entrance "Pishtaq" with its powerful symbolism was maintained in the majority of religious and secular monuments.

In addition to changes in the plan, there has been increasing emphasis on the dome of the Mihrab area which slowly became dominant feature in the arrangement of the internal space of the Mosque especially under the Ottoman succession (see forthcoming article). This approach originated from the Great Mosque of Dunasyr (Iraq) where the sanctuary was made of three barrel vaulted naves (Riwaqs) running parallel to the Qibla and an emphasised Mihrab dome (about 33 feet across) which cut across two of the three naves in an unprecedented manner.

In the earliest charitable complex "Kulliye" of Khawand Khatun (The earliest charitable "Kulliye" (College)) (1238 at Kayseri) the courtyard receded to a small square in the heart of the mosque while the Mihrab dome continued to extend over the two Riwaqs parallel to the Qibla wall. The roof consisted of 10 barrel vaults reflecting the number of aisles of the sanctuary while the central nave leading the Mihrab consisted of two aisles perpendicular to the Qibla wall (the T Plan) and also covered with barrel vaults running in the direction of the nave.

In Ulu Cami complex of Divrighi (Turkey) which consisted of a mosque and a hospital (both built between 1228-1229) the courtyard disappeared completely (figure 3). The mosque, nearly a square, consisting of five aisled prayer hall with five bays deep has a number of fascinating features which were linked by some scholars to Gothic architecture and Baroque art (see Aslanapa,1971).

Figure 2. Ulu Cami (1228-1229), Divrighi (Turkey)

The former appears in the internal features of its roof which was made of sixteen stone vaults of varying and complex forms similar to that of gothic vaulting. The latter feature is found in the remarkable resemblance of the ornamentation and décor style of its portals especially the Northern entrance gate where the Pishtaq frame was decorated with "baroque" forms characterised by its embroidery patterns (figures 4 & 5).

Figure 3: Close up view of, nothern entrance showing "baroque" features, Ulu Cami. Figure 4: Details of decor resembling the Baroque style, Ulu Cami.

The other feature associating with Gothic is the porch of the hospital (figure 6) which has a Gothic appearance with its receding archivolts (Hoag, 1987, p.112).

Figure 5: The Gothic appearance of Ulu Cami hospital portal
Rate this article: 
No votes yet
See full gallery