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Bilecik dec 2007 1735.jpg
17-DEC-2007

Bilecik dec 2007 1735.jpg

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Inside the The Orhan Cami (early Ottoman, one dome, early 14th century). A guide I used indicates it has a special meaning for Turks, without explaining why. I was informed by a viewer as follows:

"This mosque has a deep meaning for the local people. The mosque is known as "Kursunlu Cami" in that region which means "Mosque of Bullets". The original mosque was full of bullet marks left from the days of Greek invasion in 1921. Besides that, the ruins of other minarets in other pictures are from the same days. The previous city was even bigger and more developed than today's Bilecik. It was burnt down and devasted by the Greeks twice during our Independence war. Now the city could only dream and miss its glorious days. Seyh Edebali is the moral founder of the Ottoman Empire, his advices and guideness has established the principles of the new born state.He was the wise, respected holy man who first promised "an empire that will rise from a small clan" which will rule 3 continents."

I am slightly doubtful about the "kursunlu" part as in many other cities kurşunlu refers to a mosque having a roof made of lead (kurşun). For the rest I think the comment explains itself, thanks for the information.

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Bilgin Ersoy 27-Apr-2009 18:29
Something more: what you see now externally is a modified version of the original. Those two minarets, for example, have been added centuries later (obviously by someone from the royal family). The original minaret is the detached one, a little uphill. Plus, the original roof was covered with tiles, not lead. It took at least a century before the minaret of an Ottoman mosque was established at its current typical place (usually the south-western corner)
Bilgin Ersoy 26-Apr-2009 20:13
Why is it so important? To my knowledge this is the oldest surviving Ottoman mosque (as opposed to Selchuque or any other Turkish dynasty and/or architectural style) and it already has all the basic elements of later Ottoman mosques to come, including Sinan's: large dome with short drum covering an open rectangular space. This became the Ottoman obsession and it is believed that in Sinan's Selimiye mosque in Edirne it reached its peak expression (though probably the best example of this circle-in-a-square concept is the Selim I mosque in Istanbul)