Libmonster ID: UK-1366
Author(s) of the publication: E. I. KONONENKO

E. I. KONONENKO, Candidate of Art History State Institute of Art Studies

Keywords: Turkey, Taksim Square, modern mosque, architecture, state and Islam, Ottoman tradition, creative competitions

As soon as the violent protests of Istanbul residents on Taksim Square in June-July 2013, caused, according to the official version, by the deforestation of Gezi Park, subsided, the question of why this park should have been cut down at all began to be actively discussed on the Internet, including in Russian. A number of Islamic websites published articles about the approval of the project for the construction of a mosque in Taksim, the construction of which, according to its architect Ahmet Wefik Alp, was previously planned on the site of Gezi Park [1].

Discussions about the construction of a mosque in Taksim have been going on for a long time, and they have always found both supporters and opponents, inevitably becoming politicized and turning into a discussion "republic and Islam"that is relevant for modern Turkey. It is clear that the "Taksim Mosque" is not only another religious building, but, above all, a symbol of the relationship between the state and Islam.

However, we are not interested in the political impact of the events in Taksim, but in the architectural future of the Turkish mosque - what should it become in the XXI century and what monument can be decorated with the main square of Istanbul?

Given the significance of Taksim Square, the mosque that may appear here will turn out to be a kind of" super project " that will turn into an architectural symbol of Turkish Islam and will certainly turn out to be a model for numerous imitators.


Proclaimed in 1923, the Turkish Republic clearly declared its secularism and as a result of a series of reforms (the elimination of the Caliphate, the abolition of the Sharia court, education reform, the transition to the Gregorian calendar and the Latin alphabet) formed a kind of "state Islam", whose actions "outside the mosque" were strictly limited, and the activities of all religious organizations were put under control Special Department for Religious Affairs [2].

Despite the seemingly respectful but relentlessly detached attitude of the state towards Islam, individual mosques that appeared in the 1920s and 1930s were built without state support according to neo-Ottoman projects carried out at the beginning of the XX century at the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts - the only educational institution that trained architects. The main line of development of Turkish architecture was based on the study of Western experience, which led to the emergence of yeni mimari - "new architecture", the model for which was European Art Nouveau.

The implementation of the principles of a secular state for several decades excluded cult construction from both architectural practice and training programs for young architects. The return of the mosque to Turkish architecture occurred only after the Second World War in the wake of the liberalization of public life.

The largest and most socially significant "super - project" of the cult architecture of Turkey in the post-war period is, of course, the construction of the Grand Mosque in Ankara. The idea of its construction originated in the early 1940s, which demonstrates, on the one hand, the real need to increase the number of places for prayer in a growing city, and on the other - the possibility of declaring the capital of the Republic to respect the interests of the Muslim population.

Established in 1944 at the uchas-

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The Ministry of Religious Affairs, a non-governmental organization, formulated the tasks and priorities of construction and three years later announced the first competition for projects, none of which, however, was approved - not least because of a lack of understanding of what the main mosque of the new Turkey should be. It didn't go any further than the project competition, and meanwhile Istanbul took over the baton of the "revival of the Turkish mosque".

In 1945, the construction of the "cathedral" mosque (jami) begins in Sisli, a rapidly growing neighborhood in the northern European part of Istanbul. The mosque was built exclusively on private donations. Sisli Jami was the first mosque built in Istanbul since the proclamation of the Republic, and therefore it was especially important to choose both an architectural landmark and a performer for the monument, which opened a new chapter in the history of Turkish cult architecture.

Young republican architects simply had no experience in building mosque buildings - at least, such large - scale ones that had urban planning significance-from anywhere. The author of Shishli-jami was V. Egeli (1890-1962), a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1913, a recognized master of the first wave of neo-Ottoman architectural searches of the early XX century.

It is understandable to refer to the" golden age " of the Ottomans in search of a model for Shishli-jami to the architecture of the XVI-XVII centuries. Even the external reference to the era of Turkish power is consistent with the mood caused by the end of the Second World War. Not the least role could be played by the desire to "fit" the new district into the image of the "old" Istanbul. Both Egeli's academic background and his practice as a restorer of classical Ottoman mosques were perfectly suited to these tasks. The building turned out to be an eclectic symbiosis of classical layout, Early Ottoman decoration, elements of Late Ottoman architecture, pseudo-baroque and" neoclassical " interior details.

The construction of Shishli Jami, as well as the very fact of its appearance, confirmed the possibility of further development of the very theme of the Muslim religious building in the architecture of Republican Turkey. Even more revealing in this aspect is the appearance of mosques in the capital of the Republic.

In 1944-1953. Ankara implements another, more representative and significant architectural task for the state-Anitkabir, the grandiose Ataturk memorial complex, regarded in Turkish historiography as a symbol of the Republic's architecture [3]. However, immediately after the construction of Anitkabir was completed, a small Maltepe mosque (1954-1959, architect R. Akcay) was erected near it, which partially compensated for the delayed implementation of the idea of a large city mosque and prepared convinced Kemalists for its appearance in Ankara.

Next to the Atatürk Mausoleum, the traditional Maltepe Mosque looks like an architectural anachronism, but this is what makes it an indicative monument of a new stage in the search for national style. The architect was guided by a certain "typical image" of small mosques of the XVI-XIX centuries in their layout, construction, and decoration.

Maltepe-jami turned out to be a standard stylization of an Ottoman mosque, and even its gray-yellow stone lining "works" on the perception of the building as a structure of "pre-revolutionary" construction, as if compensating for the lack of Ottoman mosques in the once provincial Ankara. Such a blatant imitation of samples "designated" as symbols of national architecture is typical not only for cult architecture, but also for public architecture and even for post-war housing construction.


At the turn of the 1950s-1960s, "modern mosque" became a popular theme of international style both in the architectural and sociological aspects [4], inspired by an attractive order from the governments of Muslim countries in a number of parameters (urban planning tasks, scale, ensemble structure, cultural and historical connotations, traditional materials). The largest in this series was the grandiose "Baghdad Project"*, which attracted many European masters [5]. Western architects have successfully worked in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Brunei, and Pakistan. And the competition of mosque projects for Ankara easily fits into this list, with the difference, however, that preference was given to the project of young Turkish architects-V. Dalokay and N. Tekelioglu.

While many Eastern states were forced to rely on the experience of foreigners in implementing large-scale state projects, by the 1950s Turkey had a whole generation of national architects who were trained by visiting masters or interned in Europe. Moreover, the architectural faculties of Turkish universities already had Turkish teachers who were well aware of the main trends in world architecture. Private architectural studios not only successfully competed with European ones in obtaining foreign loans.-

* Project materials were exhibited at the international exhibition "City of Mirages: Baghdad (1952-1982)" in Barcelona, New York, Boston (2012-2013).

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However, they significantly restricted the construction activities of foreigners, especially after the creation of the Chamber of Architects in 1954, which controlled compliance with the construction standards adopted by it. In the following decades, Turkish architects will already allow themselves to participate in international competitions, and it is their projects of Muslim buildings that have proved to be the most popular in a number of Asian countries, primarily in India and Pakistan.

Dalokay and Tekelioglu proposed to the modern city the design of a modern mosque, using the composition and elements of the traditional image: a square prayer hall in plan, a spherical ceiling, a portico from the north, four minarets in the corners. However, each of these elements was transformed in accordance with the concepts of international style: the dome ceiling became both the supporting structure of the building, which made it possible to make the walls glass, and the portico turned into a lobby raised above the courtyard on pillars.

Despite sharp criticism (the reason for which, in particular, served as minarets, too reminiscent of rockets), the idea of an unusual image as a new symbol of the capital of the Republic was not only approved, but also began to be implemented. However, already at the stage of laying the foundation stone, the project was suspended.

The result of the discussion on " Internationalism or regionalism?", which attracted the Turkish intelligentsia at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s, was the choice of the latter option-at least in cases where the right to choose remained with the government authorities. After the military coup of 1960, a new generation of contestants was given a clear task of focusing on the national tradition.

Refusing further participation in the competition, Dalokai reworked his project and in 1969 submitted it to the competition of projects of the "national Mosque of Pakistan". It was this project that was implemented in 1976-1986 as the King Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. The shape of its prayer hall is often compared to a Bedouin tent stretched on four abutments, and the proportions of the space bounded by thin Turkish minarets were likened by Dalokai himself to an "imaginary cube of the Kaaba" [6].

The project of V. Dalok implemented in the Faisal Mosque is difficult to imagine as a dominant one in Ankara, but some elements of the" Pakistan project "were actively used in small mosques built in Turkey at the turn of the XX-XXI centuries, which demonstrates both the good knowledge of this monument by Turkish architects and its perception as a landmark"super project".

The fate of the Ankara Dalokaya-Tekelioglu project shows that the appeal to an international style in relation to the mosque's architecture met, at least at the level of the Turkish "state order", serious obstacles. The revival of the" grand Mosque " required a more familiar, traditional implementation. These obstacles were easily overcome in the "private order", which allowed for unexpected appeals to fashionable architectural trends, as demonstrated, for example, by the" club " mosque on the island of Kynalyada in the Sea of Marmara, built in 1956-1964, as part of a water sports club, or the mosque in the city park of the town of Derinkuyu in Cappadocia, planned by and erected by the sculptor X. Atamyul, by the way, is the mayor of the city.


Meanwhile, Ankara still needed the Grand Mosque. After several rounds of a new competition, the condition of which was the use of ready-made structures of the Dalokaya Mosque, by 1967 the project of Husrev Tile, who had a degree in art history from Istanbul University and experience in the restoration of Ottoman monuments, was finally approved. His design of the Kocatepe Mosque was immediately dubbed "nostalgic" by the press.

Meeting the expectations of the champions of Turkish traditions, H. Tayla abandoned any modernist search for the image of a modern mosque and once again turned directly to the "golden age" of Ottoman architecture, reproducing the repeatedly tested layout implemented 20 years earlier in Shishli Jami.

According to Tile's project, Ankara has finally received a "great Ottoman mosque" of truly imperial scale and design. The mosque hall is 67*64 m in size and two tiers of galleries are designed for 24 thousand people (!) the dome with a diameter of 25.5 m is raised almost 50 meters. Drawing on his own experience as a restorer and drawing heavily on elements of construction and decoration from the entire lexicon of Turkish architecture, the author of Kocatepe created a normative monument of "modern neoclassicism".

Inherited from the project of V. Dalokaya, the multi-storey basement of Kocatepe does not just level the construction site on the hillside - it has become a multifunctional complex, which has not only the usual library and conference hall for religious institutions, but also a business center, offices of administrative departments, a food court and a large shopping center. The mosque building ceases to be just a place of prayer and becomes part of the everyday secular infrastructure of the surrounding areas.

The minarets of Kocatepe have ceased to be "rockets" and turned into traditional "pencils" - faceted pillars with high conical ends that emphasize the central volume in the composition of the entire complex, dominating the entire landscape.

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by city. They themselves became the main urban dominants, and later the official emblem of the Turkish capital*. However, the very fact of building a huge mosque opposite the mausoleum of Anytkabir even after two decades was regarded as a" provocation towards a secular republic " [3, p.458; 7].


Perhaps the most well-publicized monument of modern Muslim architecture in Turkey is the Mosque of the Parliament (Majlis) in Ankara (1989, arch.Chiniji). This is not a public mosque, and access is restricted to government employees and visitors. Only in the second half of the 1980s did the vast territory of the Mejlis in Ankara acquire its own mosque building instead of separate prayer rooms, and the question of the presence of a small religious building in the ensemble of the Parliament of a secular republic was solved not as an architectural, but as a political problem.

The construction was rated as "the most radical among modern mosques" and even as a "refutation of the traditional mosque". It has neither a dome, nor a minaret, nor a Mecca-oriented wall, nor even a ceiling in the traditional sense [8], but it is filled with allusions to the historical monuments of Ankara itself.

Well aware of the" state status " of the mosque being built and the range of possibilities for its "reading", the architects had to look for extremely neutral forms that do not look either to the past or to the future, do not refer to the national tradition and do not symbolize the relationship between the state and religion. The mosque is designed only as a place of prayer solitude and performing rituals in a society of co-religionists, where both members of the government and technical staff are equal (which is presented as a confirmation of the democracy of Islam).

The parliament quarter of the Turkish capital is close to Kocatepe Hill, and the Grand Mosque that dominates the development of the southern part of the city is perfectly visible from the Majlis. Due to the delayed construction, the Kocatepe Mosque was opened only in 1987, so the final stages of two iconic for Ankara and the most famous modern mosques in Turkey: the "nostalgic-neoclassical" Kocatepe and the most "radical" mosque of the Parliament - were almost simultaneous, demonstrating alternative versions of religious buildings of national significance.


The construction of the two iconic monuments took place against the backdrop of the increasing Islamization of Turkish society in the 1980s. One of its important factors was the social consequences of post-war urbanization - mass migration to industrial cities of the population from rural and mountainous regions of Anatolia [9], where the position of traditional Islam was and remains stronger than in megacities in the west of the country.

Internal migration inevitably caused the "traditionalization" of private life, one of the aspects of which was the activity and popularization of everyday manifestations of Islam - the publicity of prayers and Muslim holidays, the demonstrative wearing of hijabs, the growth in the number of Muslim educational institutions, and the appeal for resolving issues not to official authorities, but to imams and muftis. Sufi tariqas, officially dissolved in 1925, were revived.

Another factor was the political activism of Islam: many parties and social movements in Turkey made part of their rhetoric an appeal to traditional values, one of which was everyday Islam, opposed to Western culture. Conservative political trends of the 1970s-1980s sought to find support, first of all, in Muslim communities [2, Kireev N. G., pp. 324-333; White J. B., pp. 361-363; 10]. The rise to power of the Fatherland Party (Anavatan Partisi) in 1983 was made possible by a bloc with nationalist and religious movements, and the subsequent liberal reforms of T. Ozal led both to the activation of public activities of Islamic organizations and to the rapprochement of Turkey with Muslim countries.

One of the visible consequences of these factors was a sharp increase in the number of mosques. In the 1980s, up to 1.5 thousand mosques were built annually in Turkey [11]. Most of these buildings were not expected to have any special architectural merits, since they are designed primarily to fulfill a cult function, serving as a place of collective prayer, and not to declare the uniqueness of relationships.-

* In 1995, the old coat of arms of Ankara, which used an ornament of bronze products from Alajahuyuk, was replaced with a new one - the white silhouette of the Kocatepe Mosque on a blue shield.

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eudarstvo and religion, or express their commitment to certain historical architectural styles or stages of national history.

With few exceptions, thousands of mosques in the last two decades of the 20th century meet modest and logical requirements: "traditional, cheap, spacious." The collective customers of such quarter mosques were Anatolian villages, blocks of new buildings in small towns, and the performers, as a rule, were small private architectural firms using standard projects and affordable materials. In this case, the architects vary several well-developed simple compositions and get results that look like classic Ottoman monuments.

Such pseudo-Ottoman "copies" make up the largest group of modern Turkish mosques, which differ little from each other and are therefore easily recognizable. Similar monuments are found in almost all localities in Turkey.

Due to the geographical proximity, traditional religious ties and active cultural presence of the Turkish missionaries of Islam, as well as the iconic patterns and well-developed construction techniques, modern variations of the Ottoman mosque close to Ankara Kocatepe were in demand at the turn of the XX-XXI centuries. during the construction of mosques in the North Caucasian republics of Russia: Yusuf bey-jami in Makhachkala, " The Heart of Chechnya"in Grozny. When building mosques in other regions of the Russian Federation, it is also easy to note the attraction to Turkish models (for example, the Ismail al-Bukhari Mosque in Verkhnyaya Pyshma) [2, Kireev N. G., p. 383; 12].


It would be an exaggeration to say that in the modern Muslim architecture of Turkey there are no monuments of innovative architecture that develop and transform ideas about the possibilities of a "non-classical" mosque. However, the "avangard" in the Turkish mosque of the late XX-early XXI centuries turned out to have two interesting features.

First, despite the large number of Turkish architectural bureaus, the activity of young architects who successfully participate in international competitions, and a large number of architectural journals that discuss quite unconventional projects and concepts [13], the circumstances of ordering a modern mosque have not changed much compared to the 1960s. The construction of" ultra - modern " mosques in Turkey depends primarily on individual initiative and is mainly limited to private orders-club, corporate, and sometimes even family ones. A place for" non-traditional " religious buildings is located on the territory of industrial and commercial complexes, on university campuses, in elite suburbs and club villages - where the demonstration of commitment to Islam is combined with the positioning of intellectual freedom, as well as in cemeteries where the construction of a mosque is presented as a charity, a gift to the Muslim community.

The second feature of a modern mosque in Turkey is the obligatory justification of innovations by precedents, focusing on familiar, recognized and accepted public samples, not only of the historical, but also of the very recent past, and appealing to monuments that have already entered the history of architecture, even at the level of individual elements. Landmarks for the modern Turkish mosque were not only the Ottoman monuments, but also, for example, the Parliament Mosque, rejected but not forgotten by Kocatepe V. Dalokaya and his own implemented "Pakistan project".

In some cases, modern Turkish architects apply certain elements of Dalok's projects in "Osmanized" mosques, sometimes finding very interesting solutions for combining the "old" and"new".

In 2004-2010, the project of the "club" Yeshilvadi Mosque was implemented in the elite village of Umraniye in the Asian part of Istanbul (architect A. Kozmaoglu). The building is a structure of two semi-domes of different sizes, hiding both a prayer hall with balconies and a glazed room that replaced the portico. The construction of the ceiling makes this mosque similar to the project of Kocatepe V. Dalokaya, the placement in the basement of the community center and social services of the village is reminiscent of Kocatepe X. However, the very image of a domed building with a minaret is common to all traditional Turkish mosques.

The same image is used in the Shakirin Mosque (2009), built in high-tech style in a cemetery in Istanbul's Uskudar district, considered one of the most conservative in religious terms. The interior design of the mosque, which defined its entire architecture, was made by Z. Fadilioglu, known for the projects of hotel complexes, restaurants and clubs, and the "step" from purely secular, hotel-club to cult architecture seems very significant for modern Turkey. In an interview, the artist spoke about her desire " create an atmosphere in which people could feel comfortable."-

page 67

but" [14] (which is quite justified for a club interior designer). Before starting the project, she consulted with theologians, sociologists, and even residents of Uskudar. Thus, the author did not expect to move away from the usual image of the mosque and was aimed at creating not so much an art object as a comfortable religious space for worshippers.

Shakirin designed the mosque's architecture. Tayla is the author of Kocatepe in Ankara. However, the image of Shakirin Jami is clearly inspired by the Ankara mosque not Tayla, but Dalokaya: in the Istanbul monument, it is finally possible to realize the idea of a facade-free structure, which was technically impossible to implement in the 1960s. Following the architectural image of the Ottoman mosque is defined by two elements-a domed hall and a courtyard. Going back to the image of the dome, the ceiling of the mosque turns out to be a hemisphere with cut-off segments, and the planes of the walls are filled with openwork lattices that expand the space of the mosque; as a result, the interior opens outwards, filled with natural light and becoming visible from the outside, especially in the evening light, which makes it similar to the Parliamentary Mosque.


Originating in the 1940s, the idea of the" Grand Mosque of Ankara "led to the creation of two "super-projects" - the avant-garde, and therefore rejected Kocatepe V. Dalokaya, and the traditionalist Kocatepe H. Taila. Each of these iconic building projects has become iconic in its own way. The first, partially implemented in Islamabad, sold out for architectural "quotes" in small "club" mosques built by private orders, justifying their dissimilarity with tradition. The second one, which was more consistent with the idea of a visual embodiment of the idea of "state Islam", justified the appearance of a mass of "Ottomanizing" replicas and formed the basis of representative mosques in the North Caucasus and the Volga region.

It is clear, however, that the number of modern quotations that complement the traditional Ottoman mosque is not unlimited. The Muslim architecture of Turkey, which has clearly exhausted the potential of "Ottomanizing" forms and is losing interest in them, is faced with the need to expand the existing search scale. The Parliament Mosque has become an excellent source of architectural allusions, but these allusions have already lost their novelty.

Images used to illustrate articles about the future shape of Taksim Square show different facets of understanding the "modern Turkish mosque" - from another neo-Ottoman building to avant-garde concepts of urban space. And even if the Grand Mosque building in Istanbul's Taksim will never appear, the mythologem itself - "Mosque on Taksim" - turns out to be an excellent occasion for a new architectural competition and the emergence of a new bold "super project" that can, like the ideas of Dalok, Tile and Chinigi, fuel the development of Muslim architecture in Turkey for several decades.

1. See, for example: asp?id=39706; 22147; om-rajone-taksim.html; ID=25987

2. For more information, see: Kireev N. G. History of Turkey. XX century. Moscow, 2007, pp. 78, 169 (Kireev N. G. Istoriya Turtsii. XX vek. M., 2007) (in Russian); White J.B. Islam and politics in contemporary Turkey // The Cambridge History of Turkey. V. 4: Turkey in the Modern World. N.Y., 2008, p. 357.

3. Bozdogan S. Art and architecture in modern Turkey: the Republican period // The Cambridge History of Turkey. V. 4, p. 432; Wilson C. The persistence of Turkish nation at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk // Nationalism in a Global Era. The persistence of nations. N.Y., 2007.

4. Holod R., Khan H., Minis K. The Contemporary Mosque. Architects, Clients and Designs since the 1950s. N.Y., 1997.

5. Подробнее см.: Bemardsson M.T. Visions of Iraq: Modernizing the Past in 1950s Baghdad // Modernism and the Middle East. Architecture and Politics in the XX Century. Seattle, L. 2008, p. 81; Pyla P. Baghdad's Urban Restructuring, 1958: Aesthetics and the Politics of National Building // Ibid., p. 97.

6. Shaw I. Pakistan Handbook. Hong Kong, 1989, p. 213.

7. См. также: Meeker M. Once there was, once there wasn't: national monuments and interpersonal exchange // Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey. Seattle. 1997.

8. Al-Asad M. The Mosque of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara: Breaking with Tradition // Muqarnas. 1999. V. XVI, p. 155, 161.

9. См., например: The Problem of Internal Displacement in Turkey: Assessment and Policy Proposals. Istanbul, 2005; Icduygu A. Turkey: demographic and economic dimension of migration // Mediterranean Migration Report 2005. Florence, 2005; Ozbay F. Migration and Intra-provincial Movements in Istanbul between 1985 - 1990 // Bogazici Journal Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies. 1997. V. 11, N 1 - 2.

10. См. также: Islam in Modern Turkey: Religion, Politics and Literature in a Secular State. L. 1991; Yavuz H. Islamic Political Identity in Turkey. N.Y., 2003.

11. Ahmad F. The Making of Modern Turkey. L., N.Y., 1993, p. 221.

12. Ibragimov I. A. Arkhitektura sovremennykh rossiiskikh mechetey [Architecture of modern Russian Mosques]. 2011, N 2, с. 53 (Ibragimov I.A. Arkhitektura sovremennykh rosiyskikh mechetey // Akademicheskiy vestnik UralNIIproekt. 2011, N 2) (in Russian).

13. For more information, see: Yocel A. Contemporary Architecture in Turkey / / Mimar. 2001. V. 40.

14. (13.05.2009)


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