Üsküdar as the site for the mosque complexes of royal women in the sixteenth century
Arcak, Sinem (2004) Üsküdar as the site for the mosque complexes of royal women in the sixteenth century. [Thesis]
In popular literature, it is not uncommon to refer to Üsküdar as the town of the mosques of queen mothers and princesses. The interest that stimulated the present study was derived from this simple observation. Üsküdar is in fact the town that had the highest number of buildings that were commissioned by Ottoman royal women. These are palaces, mosques or mosque complexes, or other buildings that are smaller in scale. The fact that there is a conglomeration of royal women’s buildings suggests that by the eighteenth century, a tradition was established for court-affiliated women to build in Üsküdar. This present study examines the primary buildings that initiated this process. These are the mosque complexes of Gülfem Hatun, Mihrimah Sultan, and Nurbanu Sultan, all built in the sixteenth century. The initial question of why the külliyes of Gülfem, Mihrimah, and Nurbanu were successively built in Üsküdar is considered as a problem involving a number of different variables. These include the patron and her relationship with the sultan and other members of the court. The investment made for the mosque complexes of Gülfem and Mihrimah anticipate that the town came to be considered as a strategic location for the court in midsixteenth century. Then, only after three decades, the construction of Nurbanu Sultan’s massive complex not only marked the beginning of a tradition for royal women to build in Üsküdar but more obviously than its two precedents, undoubtedly marked the incorporation of the town into the royal architectural agenda.
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