Early Ottoman period (1299–1326)
With the establishment of the Ottoman Empire, the years 1300–1453 constitute the early or first Ottoman period in architecture, when Ottoman art was in search of new ideas. This period witnessed three types of mosques: tiered, single-domed and subline-angled mosques. The Hacı Özbek Mosque (1333) in İznik, the first important center of Ottoman art, is the first example of an Ottoman single-domed mosque.
Bursa period (1326–1437)
The domed architectural style evolved from Bursa and Edirne. The Ulu Cami (Holy Mosque) in Bursa was the first Seljuk mosque to be converted into a domed one. Edirne (Adrianople) was the Ottoman capital between 1365 and 1453, when Istanbul (Constantinople) became the new capital, and it is here that we witness the final stages in the architectural development which culminated in the construction of the great mosques of Istanbul. The buildings constructed in Istanbul during the period between the Turkish conquest of the city in 1453 and the construction of the Istanbul Bayezid II Mosque are also considered works of the early period. Among these are the Fatih Mosque (1470), Mahmut Paşa Mosque, the tiled palace and Topkapı Palace. The Ottomans integrated mosques into the community and added soup kitchens, theological schools, hospitals, Turkish baths and tombs.
Classical period (1437–1703)
Topkapı Palace, Istanbul.
During the classical period, mosque plans changed to include inner and outer courtyards. The inner courtyard and the mosque were inseparable. The master architect of the classical period, Mimar Sinan, was born in 1492 in Kayseri and died in Istanbul in the year 1588. Sinan started a new era in world architecture, creating 334 buildings in various cities. Mimar Sinan’s first important work was the Şehzade Mosque, completed in 1548. His second significant work was the Süleymaniye Mosque and the surrounding complex, built for Suleiman the Magnificent. The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne was built during the years 1568-74, when Sinan was in his prime as an architect. The Rüstem Pasha Mosque, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, Ibrahim Pasha Mosque, and the Şehzade Mosque, as well as the türbes (mausoleum) of Suleiman the Magnificent, Roxelana and Selim II are among Sinan’s most renowned works. Most classical period designs used the Byzantine architecture of the neighboring Balkans as its base, and from there, ethnic elements were added, creating a different architectural style.
Examples of Ottoman architecture of the classical period, aside from Turkey, can also be seen in the Balkans, Hungary, Egypt, Tunisia and Algiers, where mosques, bridges, fountains and schools were built.
Westernization period (1703–1876)
The Ishak Pasha Palace, Eastern Turkey.
During the reign of Ahmed III (1703–1730) and under the impetus of his grand vizier İbrahim Paşa, a period of peace ensued. Due to the close relations between the Ottoman Empire and France, Ottoman architecture began to be influenced by the Baroque and Rococo styles that were popular in Europe. Interestingly, a style that was very similar to Baroque was developed by the Seljuk Turks, according to a number of academics. Examples of the creation of this art form can be witnessed in the Divriği Hospital and Mosque, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, as well as in the Sivas Çifte Minare, Konya İnce Minare museums and many other buildings from the Seljuk period in Anatolia. It is often called the “Seljuk Baroque portal.” From here it emerged again in Italy, and later grew in popularity among the Turks during the Ottoman era. Various visitors and envoys were sent to European cities, especially to Paris, to experience the contemporary European customs and life. The decorative elements of the European Baroque and Rococo influenced even the religious Ottoman architecture. On the other hand, Mellin, a French architect, was invited by a sister of Sultan Selim III to Istanbul and depicted the Bosporus shores and the seaside waterfront mansions called yalı. During a thirty-year period known as the Tulip period, all eyes were turned to the West, and instead of monumental and classical works, villas and pavilions were built around Istanbul. However, it was about this time when the construction on the Ishak Pasha Palace (1685–1784) in Eastern Anatolia was going on.
Tulip period (1703–1757)
Beginning with this period, the upper class and the elites in the Ottoman Empire started to use the open and public areas frequently. The traditional, introverted manner of the society began to change. Fountains and waterside residences such as the Aynalıkavak Kasrı became popular. A water canal (other name is Cetvel-i Sim) and a picnic area (Kağıthane) were established as recreational areas. Although the Tulip period ended with the Patrona Halil uprising, it became a model for attitudes of Westernization. During the years 1720–1890, Ottoman architecture deviated from the principles of classical times. With Ahmed III’s deposition, Mahmud I took the throne (1730–1754). It was during this period that Baroque-style mosques were starting to be constructed.
Baroque period (1757–1808)
Circular, wavy and curved lines are predominant in the structures of this period. Major examples are the Nur-u Osmaniye Mosque, Zeynep Sultan Mosque, Laleli Mosque, Fatih Tomb, Laleli Çukurçeşme Inn, Birgi Çakırağa Mansion, Aynalıkavak Palace, and the Selimiye Barracks. Mimar Tahir (also known as Mehmed Tahir Ağa) was the important architect of this period.
Empire period (1808–1876)
Nusretiye Mosque, Ortaköy Mosque, Sultan Mahmud’s Tomb, Galata Lodge of the Mevlevi Dervishes, Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Sadullah Pasha Yalı and the Kuleli Barracks are the important examples of this style, developed parallel with the Westernization process. Architects from the Balyan family were the leading ones of the time. This period was marked by buildings of mixed Neo-Classical, Baroque, Rococo and Empire styles, such as the Dolmabahçe Palace, Dolmabahçe Mosque and Ortaköy Mosque.
Late Ottoman period (1876–1922)
Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque, Şeyh Zafir Group of Buildings, Haydarpaşa School of Medicine, Duyun-u Umumiye Building, Istanbul Title Deed Office, large Post Office buildings such as the Merkez Postane (Central Post Office) in Istanbul’s Sirkeci district, and the Harikzedegan Apartments in Laleli are the important structures of this period when an eclectic style was dominant. Raimondo Tommaso D’Aronco and Alexander Vallaury were the leading architects of the time.
Main article: Architecture of Turkey
View from Maslak district in Istanbul. Istanbul’s skyline has changed especially since the early 2000s.
In the first years of the Turkish Republic, founded in 1923, Turkish architecture was influenced by Ottoman architecture, in particular during the First National Architectural Movement. However, from the 1930s, architectural styles started to differ from traditional architecture, also as a result of an increasing number of foreign architects being invited to work in the country, mostly from Germany and Austria. The Second World War was a period of isolation, during which the Second National Architectural Movement emerged. Similar to Fascist architecture, the movement aimed to create modern but nationalistic architecture.
Starting from the 1950s, isolation from the rest of the world started to diminish, leading to Turkish architects being increasingly inspired by their counterparts in the rest of the world. However they were constrained by the lack of technological infrastructure or insufficient financial resources till the 1980s. Thereafter, the liberalization of the economy and the shift towards export-led growth, paved the way for the private sector to become the leading influence on architecture.