Seljuk architecture is the name given to architecture built during the time when the Seljuks ruled most of the Middle East and Anatolia. This was between the 11th and 13th centuries. After the 11th century the Seljuks of Rum emerged from the Great Seljuk Empire developing their own architecture. Their capital was Konya. They were influenced and inspired by the Armenians, Byzantines and Persians.
Great Seljuq Empire architecture[change | change source]
The architecture can be found in a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia. Also from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf. The homeland of Seljuk architecture was Turkmenistan and Iran. This is where the first permanent Seljuk buildings were built. Unfortunately the Mongol invasions destroyed most of these buildings. Only a few remain. In 1063 Isfahan was established as capital of the Great Seljuk Empire under Alp Arslan.
The most significant change was in the early 12th century. It was the conversion of the hypostyle plan into a four-iwan plan mosque (see Shah Mosque). Another mosque-type introduced at this time was the kiosk mosque, consisting of a domed space with three open sides and wall containing a mihrab on the qibla side. The architecture of this period was also characterized by memorial tombs. These were usually octagonal structures with domed roofs, called Kümbet or Türbe. An impressive example of tomb architecture is the mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar at Merv. It is a massive building measuring 27 metres (89 ft) square with a huge double dome resting on squinches and muqarnas pendentives.
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- Andrew Petersen, Dictionary of Islamic Architecture (London; New York: Routledge, 1996), p. 255
- John Freely, A History of Ottoman Architecture (Southampton; Boston: WIT Press, 2010), p. 2
- Josef W. Meri; Jere L. Bacharach, Medieval Islamic Civilization, Volume 1 (New York; Oxford: Routledge, 2006), p. 399