Sokullu Mehmed Paşa Complex
Payas, Dörtyol, Hatay, Turkey
Hegira 982 / AD 1574
Architect: Koca Mimar Sinan Ağa (d. AH 996 / AD 1588).
Sokollu Mehmed Pasha under the auspices of Sultan Selim II (r. AH 974–82 / AD 1566–74).
Payas is a harbour town on the road connecting Anatolia to the Middle East. Because of its strategic importance it has been home to numerous civilisations, and in AH 921 / AD 1516, in the wake of the Battle of Mercidabık, it became part of the Ottoman Empire. The importance of Payas increased even more given the development of trade between the Ottoman Empire and the countries of the Middle East, as well as its location on the pilgrimage route. In order to fortify this strategic point and address the needs of travellers, Sultan Selim II ordered the construction of a complex here. The official who took on the responsibility, Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, employed the architect Sinan for the project.
The complex, founded next to a fortress built after the Ottoman Conquest to replace an older one, occupies an area of approximately 700 m x 250 m. In the centre of the complex is a street with shops (arasta) oriented north to south. Measuring 115 m x 15 m, it consists of 48 shops on either side of a vaulted corridor with a prayer-dome at its centre. To the east of the arasta are the buildings for hospitality, such as the caravanserai, soup-kitchen (imaret), and guest house (tabhane); to the west are the buildings for prayer, education, and hygiene, including the mosque, primary school, madrasa, and bathhouse (hammam).
The caravanserai consists of a square courtyard with porticoes on its north, south, and east and the covered section roofed with cross-vaults. The imaret to the south of the caravanserai has a porticoed courtyard with four enclosed rooms to the east and west. The tabhane, for special guests, comprises four rooms; it is located west of the caravanserai, adjoining the arasta.
The hammam lies northwest of the arasta. The building was designed as a double hammam: the hot-water room or sıcaklık (Lt. caldarium) of the men's section has four iwans and four corner-rooms, while that of the women's section is star shaped. The primary school, built adjoining the west wall of the men's sıcaklık, has two square rooms with domes and a three-bay portico on the south.
The madrasa and mosque, located on the southwest of the arasta, share a courtyard which can be accessed from an entrance in the north as well as from the arasta. The madrasa comprises 21 rooms surrounded on three sides by porticoes.
The mosque consists of a cruciform prayer hall, an eight-bay portico for latecomers on the north, and a minaret at the northwest corner. The prayer hall is covered with a dome in the centre and has cross-vaulted iwans extending in four directions.
The main walls of all the buildings of the complex are covered with ashlar. It is possible to connect the two-coloured stonework found on the entrances of various buildings in the complex, particularly on the mosque entrance and the mihrab, with the traditions of Mamluk and Zangid art, rooted in Egypt and Syria.
Of the buildings making up the complex, the mosque is the only one that is still used for its original function. The other buildings are not in use, but are open to visitors.
Payas is an important harbour town on the route connecting Anatolia to the Middle East. The extensive complex of Sokollu Mehmed Pasha in Payas contains a mosque, a madrasa, a children's school, a bathhouse, caravanserai, imaret (soup-kitchen) and a tabhane (guest-rooms) flanking the arasta (row of shops) in the centre of the complex.
The gate of the caravanserai has an inscription stating that the complex was built by Sokollu Mehmed Pasha on the orders of Sultan Selim II in AH 982 / AD 1574.
Aslanapa, O., Osmanlı Devri Mimarisi [Architecture of the Ottoman Period], Istanbul, 1986.
Kuran, A., Mimar Sinan, Istanbul, 1986.
Müderrisoğlu, F., “Osmanlı İmparatorluğu'nun Doğu Akdeniz'deki İskelesi Payas ve Sokullu Mehmed Paşa Menzil Külliyesi [Payas: The East-Mediterranean Port of the Ottoman Empire, and the Külliye-at-a-day's-journey of Sokullu Mehmed Paşa]”, Dokuzuncu Milletlerarası Türk Sanatları Kongresi [Ninth International Congress of Turkish Art] (23–27 September 1991), Proceedings, Vol. 2, Ankara, 1995, pp.513–24.
Sözen M., Türk Mimarisinin Gelişimi ve Mimar Sinan [Development of the Turkish Architecture and Mimar Sinan], Istanbul, 1975.
Şakir Çakmak "Sokullu Mehmed Paşa Complex" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tr;Mon01;26;en
Prepared by: Şakir ÇakmakŞakir Çakmak
Dr Şakir Çakmak is an assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology and Art History of the Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir. Born in Sarayköy, Turkey, in 1964, he graduated from that department in 1986. He started working as a research assistant in the same department in 1988. He completed his MA in 1991 with a thesis entitled “Turkish Monuments in Denizli Province (Mosques)” and his Ph.D. with the thesis “Portals in the Early Ottoman Period (1300–1500)” in 1999.
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 39
Islamic Dynasties / Period
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Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)Pilgrimage | Pilgrimage Routes and Holy Sites Along the Way The Ottomans | Exporting Luxury
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