Today is the birthday of Sinan, the famous Ottoman architect. My "Top-Three Landmarks" list includes two of his works, Selimiye and Suleymaniye mosques, alongside the Kölner Dom in Germany. Sinan (1489-1588) was probably the greatest architect ever, as can be seen from what he and his students built. Count over 400 beautiful pieces by himself. And remember his students Ismail Efendi, Ustad Isa and Isa Muhammad Efendi, who built Taj Mahal, as well as Sedefkar Mehmed Aga, who built the Blue Mosque... Google Turkey is celebrating Sinan's birthday with the special logo above and I would like to do my part. There are many, many evidences about his genius, but I give you the following story as one example.
* * *It was the early 1990s. A restoration programme was underway in Sehzade Mosque, which was built in 1548. About this restoration, one of the engineers had told the following anectode a few years ago for a TV documentary: "We were working on the garden wall. Some stones of the archs over the gates were partly decomposed. Theoretically, we knew how to restore a stone arch; but we had no practice. So we organized meetings with the experts on stone-building. Finally, we made a plan. We would put a wooden formwork over the arch. Then we would remove the arch gradually, taking notes about its construction technique. "We began to remove stones. Firstly, the keystone. After we removed it, we were surprised to see a glass bottle in the cylindrical space between two stones. There was a white, folded paper inside. We opened the bottle and saw an Ottoman inscription on the paper. We immediately found an expert to read it. That was a letter from Sinan. "Sinan was saying that the lifetime of these stones are around 400 years and the construction techniques would be much more different then. So he was helping us, the modern architects, to restore the arch. He was telling us where in Anatolia we can find the required stones. He was giving information about all the details of his technique. "This letter was a preterhuman example of the effort that a man could make to create something abiding. The magnificence of this letter originates from the fact that Sinan knew about the lifetime of a stone -which is what even the modern scientist can hardly do; he predicted that the construction techniques would completely change and he had got such a high level of information that he used the paper and ink which would last four centuries. It is beyond doubt that these are rare qualities. However, Sinan had got even a higher virtue and that is his sense of responsibility which can produce solutions for the 400 years ahead."
Sehzade Mosque in Istanbul