GREAT MOSQUE AND HOSPITAL OF DIVRIGI IN SIVAS
The first Turkish buildings inscribed on the World Heritage List are the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği. This building complex was commissioned in the 13th century by Ahmet Shah and his wife Melike Turan of the Principality of Mengüçlü. Renowned for its monumental architecture and traditional stone carving decorations of Anatolia, this masterpiece, with its two-domed mosque, hospital and tomb, was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.
Built by the architect Hürrem Shah of Ahlat in 1288, the Great Mosque and Hospital have plain facades. Their status as a unique masterpiece rests on the merits of the stone carving decorations that adorn the great portal of the Hospital, the northern portal of the Mosque, the western portal of the Mosque and the portal of Shah’s dais. Each and every figure in the decoration is a unique marvel of art and architecture, as well as a feat of engineering.
The Great Mosque of Divriği is the most splendid example of the mosques built during the Seljuk Period in Anatolia. Art historians and architects agree that there are no other examples of the three dimensional and intricate geometric styles and flowing figures of plants.
Its portals appear to be a mixture of Baroque, Seljuk and Gothic styles, but nevertheless represent a unique and distinct style of their own. All figures carved on the portals and walls are asymmetrical and each square has thousand of stone carved figures. The most prominent characteristic of the designs featured in the portals is their uniqueness: each is distinct from other decorations. For example, the wreath of life used on the portal on the north facade is noteworthy, as it depicts an imaginary plant world that only existed in the imagination of the craftsman.
In addition to the portals, all bases, shafts and capitals of the columns, as well as the inner surface of the dome, are decorated with a different, distinct and unique style. The hospital, situated next to the Great Mosque is, in itself, a masterpiece of stone carving. It shares a splendid unity with the Great Mosque. The hospital is a two-story building with a central courtyard surrounded by porticoes, and designed as a hospital where cures included the soothing sound of flowing water from the fountains.
World Heritage List: Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği
Some selected examples (please click on pictures to enlarge):