Wooden Hypostyle Mosques in Anatolia Also Make It to UNESCO World Heritage Sites List
The Wooden Hypostyle Mosques of Medieval Anatolia, known for the skilful woodcarving and handiwork used in their structures, have followed Gordion as the new addition from Türkiye to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The mosques have been inscribed on the UNESCO List at the Extended 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, held on September 10-25, 2023.
By: Turkish Tourism
The historical mosques, standing out as the best representatives of the wooden hypostyle mosques of Anatolia, have also become Türkiye's first serial cultural sites registered in the World Heritage List. This serial property comprises five hypostyle mosques built in Anatolia between the late 13th and mid-14th centuries, each located in a different province of present-day Türkiye. Among the UNESCO-listed mosques are the Beyşehir Eşrefoğlu Mosque in Konya, Sivrihisar Ulu Mosque in Eskişehir, Kasabaköy Mahmut Bey Mosque in Kastamonu, Ahi Şerefeddin Mosque or Arslanhane in Ankara and Afyonkarahisar Ulu Mosque.
Despite their different locations, these mosques showcase common technical features. According to UNESCO, the mosques' distinctive architectural design incorporates an exterior building envelope built of masonry with rows of wooden interior columns ("hypostyle")
Authentic UNESCO-Listed Mosques
The Beyşehir Eşrefoğlu Mosque is the largest among Anatolia's wooden columned and beamed mosques. The mosque, built between 1296 and 1299, reflects the magnificence of stone and woodworkmanship of the Seljuk period. It contains all the features seen across numerous Seljuk mosques: multiple wooden columns, a ceiling wholly decorated with wood and "kalem işi" motifs, and a minbar entirely made of wood.
The Sivrihisar Ulu Mosque is another rare example of a large wooden-columned mosque in Anatolia. The eight-century-
Kasabaköy Mahmut Bey Mosque, constructed in 1366 during the Beylik of Çandar - one of the principalities established as a result of the decline of the Seljuks (Anatolian Seljuk State), holds a distinguished place among the wooden mosques in Anatolia. It is noteworthy for being built without a single nail and its unique interior and wooden structure. The mosque's portal, a masterpiece of art, is now kept in the Kastamonu Ethnography Museum. A replica of the original portal has been mounted in place.
Ahi Şerefeddin Mosque, also known as Arslanhane, is a significant work with a history of eight centuries despite its very plain appearance from the outside. Built in the beginning of the 13th century, the mosque is named Arslanhane, meaning lion's shelter in Turkish, because of the ancient lion statue buried in the wall of the tomb complex located east of it. The single-storey mosque reveals the harmony of spolia material with wood through its 24 wooden pillars and marble column heads.
Afyonkarahisar Ulu Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in the city, was built between 1272 and 1277. The mosque is one of the unique examples of the Seljuk period with its wooden and brick architecture with glazed tiles. Its wooden beam roof is supported by 40 wooden columns whose capitals are made by master artisans.
These unique mosques can be visited on a thematic route: https://faith.goturkiye.com/
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