Mosque-Building on the Ottoman-Venetian Frontier, circa 1550–1650: The Phenomenon of Square-Tower Minarets Revisited

in Muqarnas Online
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Abstract

In the Balkan region of Herzegovina is found a series of Ottoman-period mosques distinguished by minarets of an atypical form: unlike standard Ottoman designs with cylindrical or polygonal minaret shafts, the square plan of these minarets makes them more reminiscent of bell towers. Despite this salient and unusual feature, the “campanile minarets,” as some scholars choose to call them, remain little studied as a historical phenomenon; outside the former Yugoslavia, they are still practically unknown. The current article aims to establish the reasons for the popularity and dissemination of this curious architectural feature in a particular region and time. It discusses two hypotheses that link square-tower minarets morphologically to the Catholic Adriatic and Arab world, but ultimately offers a different interpretation of their formal origins and their establishment as a type.

Mosque-Building on the Ottoman-Venetian Frontier, circa 1550–1650: The Phenomenon of Square-Tower Minarets Revisited

in Muqarnas Online

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     The borderlands of the Ottoman empire, Venice, and the vassal state of Dubrovnik around 1600 with major centers identified. Ottoman centers are in italics. (Map: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2018, based on opentopomap.org)
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     The Giralda of the Seville Cathedral, former minaret of the Great Mosque, twelfth century and later. (Photo: Markus Ritter, 2017)
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     Polje near Bileća, Mosque of Gazi Hasan Paşa (Predojević), built before 1593, ruined since World War II. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Plana in the Dabarsko Polje, the so-called Avdić Mosque, built 1617–18, destroyed in 1992, and rebuilt thereafter. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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    Plana, Avdić Mosque, view toward the porch. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Plana, Avdić Mosque, rear view with square-tower minaret. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     The Popovo Polje in Herzegovina, view toward Trebinje. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Mostar, Mosque of Mehmed Paşa (1618–19), the latest of three monumental domed Ottoman mosques in Mostar. The earliest securely dated one, namely the Karagöz Mehmed Bey Mosque, was completed in 1557–58. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Konjic, Tekke Mosque (1648–49), illustrating the century-long popularity of the domed square mosque type with a slender minaret and a portico. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Konjic, Çarsı or Çavuş Yunus Mosque (1623–24). The hipped roof covered with slate conceals an internal wooden dome (fig. 11). This may point to the ambition of a lesser-ranking patron to emulate a more monumental type of mosque with a full-fledged dome, which was typically sponsored by higher-ranking patrons. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Konjic, Çarsı or Çavuş Yunus Mosque (1623–24), reconstructed wooden dome. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2018)
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     Mostar, Mosque of Sevri Hasan, before 1620–21. The hipped roof conceals a wooden dome on the interior. Note also the finely dressed masonry and the effort to reproduce the pointed (four-centered) arch of the “imperial style,” even in a dome-less mosque. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Mostar, Mosque of Sevri Hasan, before 1620–21. The comparably unassuming exterior (see fig. 12) also stands in contrast to the detailing encountered in the porch. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Mostar, Mosque of Keyvan Kethüda (1552–53, inscription); the city’s oldest preserved roofed-square mosque. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)
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     Mostar, Mosque of Nezir Ağa, sixteenth or seventeenth century, abandoned in the 1930s and rebuilt in 1999. Another lucid example of the roofed-square mosque in ­Mostar. (Photo: Maximilian Hartmuth, 2013)

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