The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Sinan should not be confused with Sinan Pasha.

Koca Mimar Sinan Agha (April 15, 1489 - July 17, 1588) was the Ottoman chief architect for sultans Selim I, Suleiman I, Selim II and Murad III. His masterpiece is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne although his most famous work is the Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul.

Sinan was most probably born in 1490 . In 1511 he came to Istanbul as a devşirme recruit and served the Vizier İbrahim Paşa as a novice of the Palace School. Three years later he, a skilled architect and engineer, took part of Selim's military campaigns into east, as a part of the engineering corps. When the Ottoman army captured Cairo, Sinan was promoted chief architect and was given the privilege of tearing down any buildings in the captured city that were not according to the city plan. He was also appointed commander of an infantry division, but was, at his own request, transferred to the command of the artillery instead. During a Persian campaign in 1535 he built ships for the army to cross Lake Van. For this he was given the title Haseki'i, Sergeant-at-Arms in the body guard of the Sultan, a rank equivalent to that of the Janissary Ağa.

The first work of Sinan was the Şehzade Mosque which he built in 1548. He started constructing the Suleiman Mosque in 1550. This great work was finished in 1557. He has also built many mosques and another buildings in and around Istanbul, for instance the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Rüstem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul, Kadirga Sokullu Complex in Istanbul.

Sinan is said to have constructed 84 great mosques (cami), 52 smaller mosques (mescit), 57 universities, 7 Qur'an schools (medrese), 22 mausoleums (türbe), 17 public kitchens (imaret), 3 hospitals (darüşşifa), 6 aqueducts, 8 bridges, 20 caravanserais (kervansaray; han), 35 palaces (saray), 8 store houses and 41 bath-houses (hamam). He died in 1588 and is buried in a tomb just outside the walls of the Suleiman Mosque to the north, across a street named Mimar Sinan Caddesi in his honour. He is also honored with a crater on Mercury named after him (see List of craters on Mercury).


  • Guler, Ara; Burelli, Augusto Romano; Freely, John (1992). Sinan: Architect of Suleyman the Magnificent and the Ottoman Golden Age. WW Norton&Co. Inc. ISBN 0-500-34120-6

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Last updated: 05-17-2005 17:02:14