Hegira end of the 8th century / AD 14th century
Builder: (of the tomb) Ali, son of Hüseyin.
The complex: Sultan Bayezid I (‘the Thunderbolt’) (761–805 / 1360–1402); the tomb: Emir Süleyman Çelebi (r. AH 806-814 / AD 1403-1411 over Rumeli [Balkan] territory during the Interregnum).
The entire complex sits on top of a relatively sheer hill in the Yıldırım neighbourhood of Bursa. Five of its buildings survive to the present day: the mosque, madrasa, darüşşifa (hospital), hammam and tomb. The imaret (soup-kitchen) and pavilion, which are known to have been there, no longer exist. The buildings are known to have suffered much damage, particularly in the earthquake of 1270 / 1855. The seemingly haphazard layout of the buildings, a result of the topography of the site, is noteworthy.
The mosque is located at the highest point of the hill. Built of ashlar according to the 'mosque-with-tabhane' layout, it comprises a prayer hall, inner courtyard, with an iwan on either side, and two tabhanes (guest rooms) each on the north and south of the iwans. On the north side is a five-bayed portico for latecomers. In the mosque, the guest rooms are covered with panelled square vaults; the two small rooms on either side of the entrance with cross-vaults, and the other rooms with domes. The minarets at the northeast and northwest corners of the mosque have collapsed. The minaret on the north end of the west wall of the building is a later addition.
The madrasa is approximately 30 m northwest of the mosque. Built of stone and brick, it consists of rooms along three sides of a courtyard and a classroom-iwan extending outward from the south wall. There are porticoes on the three sides of the courtyard.
The tomb of Sultan Bayezid I, who died after being defeated and taken prisoner by Timur at the Battle of Ankara in 805 / 1402, is the smallest building of the complex. It stands about 30 m north of the mosque and has a cubic body with a single dome. On its north side is a three-bayed portico with domes. The walls of the tomb are covered with single rows of dressed ashlar alternating with double rows of bricks.
The hammam about 100 m southwest of the mosque has a layout with a lateral sıcaklık (hot room) that has double halvets, private chambers. The changing room with a single dome leads to the ılıklık (luke-warm hall), and then unto the sıcaklık.
The darüşşifa is about 300 m southeast of the mosque. It consists of a courtyard measuring approximately 17.60 m x 36.00 m with rooms around its perimeter. The two long sides of the courtyard have porticoes covered with barrel-vaults. The large area opposite the entrance is domed, while the other rooms are covered with barrel-vaults.
There is extensive decorative, carved stonework on both the outer walls of the mosque and the entrance façade of the madrasa. The guest-rooms lying southeast and southwest of the mosque have moulded plaster decoration on the hearths and cupboards. Geometric patterns in brick and stone decorate the window tympana of the madrasa and the niches of the darüşşifa entrance-iwan. A small amount of tile decoration can be found in the tabhanes to the north of the mosque as well as on the window tympana in the west wall of the classroom-iwan in the madrasa.
This is one of the earliest examples of Ottoman complexes (külliye). These complexes were commissioned by the sultans or other dignitaries in various parts of a town and consist of a group of structures, the most important of which is the mosque, encircled by a courtyard wall. The Yıldırım complex in Bursa stands on a small hill and comprises a mosque, a madrasa, a hospital, a bathhouse, a mausoleum, an imaret (soup-kitchen) and a pavilion. The prominent mosque stands on the highest point of the hill.
There are no inscriptions in the complex, except for that over the doorway of the tomb of Sultan Bayezid I. In the endowment document prepared for Sultan Bayezid I in the middle of Ramadan 802 / May 1400, the buildings of the complex are mentioned, but the date of their construction is not. Since endowment documents were usually prepared within a short time of the construction of buildings, we can assume the complex was finished toward the end of the 8th / 14th century. The inscription on the tomb of Bayezid I indicates that a certain architect named Ali, son of Hüseyin was ordered to build it by Emir Süleyman çelebi in Muharram 809 / June 1406.
Ayverdi, E. H., “Yıldırım Bâyezid'in Bursa Vakfiyesi ve Bir İstibdalnâmesi [The Bursa Waqfiyya and a Replacement Document of Yıldırım Bayezid]” Vakıflar Dergisi, VIII (1969), pp.38–46.
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çetintaş, S., Türk Mimari Anıtları, Osmanlı Devri, Bursa'da Murat I ve Beyazıt I Binaları [Turkish Monuments, Ottoman Period, Monuments Commissioned by Murat I and Beyazıt I in Bursa], Istanbul, 1952.
Demiralp, Y., Erken Osmanlı Sanatı, Beyliklerin Mirası, [Early Ottoman Art: The Legacy of the Emirates], Madrid, 1999, pp.105–7.
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Yekta Demiralp "Yıldırım Complex" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tr;Mon01;14;en
Prepared by: Yekta DemiralpYekta Demiralp
Yekta Demiralp is an assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir. He was born in Soğucak, Balıkesir, Turkey in 1959. He graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Linguistics, History and Geography, Department of Art History in 1980. He worked as a teacher of history of art and then joined the Department of Archaeology and History of Art, Ege University, as an expert. He became a research assistant in the same department in 1988 and an assistant professor in 1997. He participates in Beçin excavations and has published on the history of Turkish architecture and art.
Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood
Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions., İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu
İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: TR 22