Name of Monument:

Yıldırım Complex


Bursa, Turkey

Date of Monument:

Hegira end of the 8th century / AD 14th century

Architect(s) / master-builder(s):

Builder: (of the tomb) Ali, son of Hüseyin.

Period / Dynasty:

Early Ottoman


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.

View Short Description

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.

How Monument was dated:

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.

Selected bibliography:

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.
Ayverdi, E. H., İstanbul Mi'mârî çağının Menşe'i Osmanlı Mi'mârîsinin İlk Devri Ertuğrul, Osman, Orhan Gaazîler Hüdavendigâr ve Yıldırım Bâyezid 630–805 (1230–1402) [The Origins of Architecture in Istanbul, the First Phase of Ottoman Architecture, Reigns of Ertuğrul, Osman and Orhan Gazis and Yıldırım Bayezid 630–805 (1230–1402)], 2nd edition, Istanbul, 1989.
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.
Gabriel, A., Une Capitale Turque, Brousse, Bursa, Paris, 1958.
Wilde, H., Brussa, Berlin, 1909.

Citation of this web page:

Yekta Demiralp "Yıldırım Complex" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. 2020.;ISL;tr;Mon01;14;en

Prepared by: Yekta Demiralp
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 22