Divriği (World Heritage)

By | September 18, 2021

In the years 1228 and 1229, Emir Ahmet Shah built the Great Mosque in the city of Divriği, which was contested several times in the Middle Ages. A hospital also belonged to it. The magnificent complex with the lavishly designed facade is considered a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.

Divriği: facts

Official title: Divriği Great Mosque and Hospital
Cultural monument: 64×32 m »baroque mosque« and hospital, Ahmet Shah Mengücoglu
Continent: Asia
Country: Turkey, Eastern Anatolia
Location: Divriği, on Çalti Çay, southeast of Sivas
Appointment: 1992
Meaning: a masterpiece of Islamic architecture due to rich sculptures and elaborate vault constructions

Divriği: history

1071-1252 Rule of the Mengücoglu dynasty
1228/29 Great Mosque Foundation (Ulu Camii)
1240 Construction of the stairway to heaven

A symphony of ornamental art

The small town of Divriği lies above the steep gorge of the Çalti Çay, a tributary of the Euphrates, surrounded by vegetable and fruit plantations. The Great Mosque of Divriği, a masterpiece of distinctive character, rises on an artificial terrace on the southern slope of the citadel hill. Not only the portals that catch the visitor’s eye first, but also the interiors of the mosque and hospital are among the most impressive creations of Turkish-Anatolian architecture and are an example of the fruitful confluence of Byzantine-Armenian architecture and the new, Seljuk architecture Iran conveyed Islamic-Turkish tradition, which has produced a breathtaking variety of designs and forms. Fore more information about Turkey and Middle East, please visit picktrue.

The four portals are reminiscent of the movements of a symphony: massive and majestic the main portal on the north front of the mosque, concealed and rather an intermezzo, the small port in the east and then, comparable to a menuetto grazioso, the west portal of the mosque, until finally the fulminante finale as the final movement the portal of the hospital lets the symphony fade away. The highlight is undoubtedly the main portal on the north side, which has the most unusual ornaments: broad, curly leaves, filled with flowers and buds and framed by delicate stalks, round discs with woven ornaments, flowers that are reminiscent of a coat of arms and bordered by jagged, angular bulges are.

The impression left by the west portal is completely different, especially when you stand in front of the side wall of the mosque in the afternoon. With its shadow effect, the sun then emphasizes the delicate motifs, the seemingly infinite variety of geometric shapes and the abundant compositions of plants and flowers that only emphasize the portals and window reveals. Striking are the pairs of facing griffins, which hold a small discus in their beak and whose wings end in dragon heads.

The portal of the hospital sets the splendid final chord of the symphony. It looks like an oversized Gothic portal, which, through the doubling of the pointed arch from bundles of pillars, increases the gate motif enormously. An ornate column divides the ogival window, a motif that illustrates the Christian influence in Seljuk architecture. Columns, lotus flower reliefs, wickerwork and medallions frame the portal. Through a vestibule you enter the interior of the hospital, which, lying in the semi-darkness, exudes the calm that is appropriate for a sanatorium. Little light flows through the narrow openings on the side flanks of the central dome. The floor plan follows the pattern of the madrasa, the Islamic Koran school, which, in addition to a mostly open inner courtyard on the sides, contained habitable rooms on two floors.

The interior of the mosque is overwhelming due to the variety of shapes and the individuality of each individual dome. It is divided into five naves by massive pillars and arches, which are covered by barrel and cross vaults of various shapes. This creates an unusual liveliness in the spatial impression. The magnificent ribbed vault of the dome in front of the prayer niche is particularly impressive. To the right of the niche is the splendidly carved Friday pulpit made of ebony, which was made in 1250/51 on behalf of the founder of the entire complex, the Emir Ahmet Shah. Arabesques and stylized thistle tendrils fill the small surfaces of the star chandeliers, creating an overwhelming wickerwork.

Divriği (World Heritage)