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A comprehensive and wide-ranging survey of Ottoman Architecture. It extends to over 700 pages and is illustrated with over 1000 illustrations, plans of buildings, maps and drawings. The author is a leading authority on the subject having taught throughout the United States, in Paris and in Istanbul. Whilst this work will become an invaluable reference tool to students, its appeal will also be broadened due to the high quality of its photographs, many of which were commissioned for the publication.
Ottoman Architecture developed in parallel with the political structure of the Ottoman Empire. Located at the intersection of Asia and Europe it was influenced by the numerous competing traditions of Islam, China, the Mediterranean and Byzantine worlds. Building on its early development particularly in Bursa and Edirne at the end of the 14th Century, the Ottoman world reached its high point during the so called Classical period 1437-1703 notably under the Sultans Suleyman 1st and Selim 2nd. The finest architectural achievements were undoubtedly the works of the court architect Sinan 1489-1588. It is these works that form the core of this book. This book also seeks to survey the extensive building works of the Ottomans throughout their Empire which extend to Damascus, Cairo and as far as the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina.
The publication of a book that covers the six centuries and more of Ottoman architectural history ought always to be a significane event. The appearance of the English edition of Doğan Kuban’s Ottoman Architecture lives up to this expectation. The work is truly massive, with 719 pages and over one thousand illustrations, including many superb photographs by Cemal Emden. It is a great pleasure to leaf through its pages, although this can only be done when the book is resting on a table, as it weighs some nine pounds (more than four kilograms).
Tim Stanley is Senior Curator for the Middle East at the Victoria and Albert Museum
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