Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Country / Turkey

Great Mosque of Malatya

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Great Mosque of Malatya

About the site

Corridor: Diagonal Road
Country: Turkey, Malatya
Type: Islamic religious centre
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Islamic Culture
World Heritage:
Middle AgesIslamic CultureIslamic religious centre

An inscriptive plaque above the west entrance, dating from 1247 attributes the mosque's foundation to Shahab al-Din Ilyas bin Shahab Abu Bakr although construction may have begun earlier under Ala al-Din Kay Qubadh (1220-1237). The same inscription names a certain Khusraw as master builder, while the name of Yakub bin Abu Bakr of Malatya is signed as builder on the right flank of the courtyard iwan. The mosque was repaired and extended under Mamluk rule in the second half of the fourteenth century and was restored in 1649 and in 1903.
The mosque has a roughly rectangular plan aligned with qibla on the north-south axis, fifty meters long and thirty-three meters at its widest. It is entered from two muqarnas portals; one at the southern end of the east elevation and a second centered on the west elevation. A third portal, now blocked, leads into a domed bay near the east end of the qibla wall.
The taller arcades to the north of the courtyard are four rows deep and six to eight bays wide. They are walled in on the south side, to form a separate prayer hall with a small mihrab. Part of this section, along with the minaret adjoining its western wall, is thought to have been built by the Mamluks in the second half of the fourteenth century. Its wall are made of cut stone and pierced with nine windows; there are no windows on the brick and stone walls of the older halls.
The exterior of the mosque is unadorned with heavy buttresses of varying widths, while the interior is largely plastered white. The east, west and south facades of the courtyard, by contrast, are richly decorated with tile mosaics featuring interlaced geometric motifs and kufic inscriptions made of cobalt blue and black glazed tiles. The exposed brick interior of the sanctuary feature a variety of brick patterns in the tall zone of transition, which consists of a band of squinches, an octagonal drum with windows and a hexadecagonal ring enveloped by a tile inscription. Turquoise glazed bricks were built into the sanctuary dome to create a spiraling pattern. The historic elements of the courtyard are overshadowed by the protective aluminum siding added to the top of its walls during the 1966 restoration.

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