Essential Architecture-  Turkey

The Great Mosque of Dunaysir


Artuqid Beg Yülük Arslan (Husam al-Din, 1184-1203)






Islamic Ottoman Turkish




The Great Mosque of Dunaysir (Kochisar)

Heavily influenced by the plan of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, this mosque, founded in 1214, exhibits the interaction between Iranian, Classical, and Syrian traditions in the Medieval architecture of Upper Mesopotamia.
The congregational mosque of Dunaysir was commissioned by Artuqid Beg Yülük Arslan (Husam al-Din, 1184-1203) and completed after his death in 1204 by his brother Artuq Arslan (1203-1239). It was abandoned for many years before being restored in 1971 by the General Directorate of Religious Endowments (Vakiflar Genel Müdürlügü).

The rectangular mosque is built on a flat site northwest of modern town of Kiziltepe and consists of a long and narrow prayer hall, preceded to the north by an open courtyard about twice its size. The courtyard, which is about fifty-seven meters wide and thirty-one meters deep, is flanked by halls on all three sides of which only the foundations have remained. It was entered from two sets of portals on the side walls and a fifth on the northern wall. The twin minarets, which rose at the northern corners of the courtyard, have not survived.

The prayer hall opens onto the courtyard with nine archways, including a grand archway at center which holds the entrance. Archways flanking the portal contain mihrab niches while the others are fitted with a lintel to create a rectangular window topped by an open lunette. Each arch is framed with a looped string motif carved in high relief. The portal is distinguished with a crown of two polychrome arches with joggled voussoirs and a multifoliate arch, all framed by a thick pointed archway.

Inside, the prayer hall is about sixty-three meters and sixteen meters deep. It is divided into three rows and nine aisles with two transverse arcades and covered with three lofty barrel vaults. The wider aisle at center is the sanctuary with mihrab and minbar; it is crowned with a dome ten meters in diameter that rests on double archways on either side, and a grand archway with heavy piers facing the portal to the north. Each of its four squinches is carved with a different muqarnas pattern. Its semi-circular mihrab niche has a fluted semi-dome and is inscribed in two archways with embedded columns; the multifoliate outer arch is inscribed in Arabic. The surfaces of the mihrab niche and frame are finely carved with interlaced geometric motifs, arabesques and floriated inscriptions in relief. The sanctuary is lit from above with four windows between the squinches and six arched windows around the tall drum. There are numerous casement windows between the projecting buttresses on the three exterior walls. The exterior of the elongated dome was recently covered with aluminum panels.


Altun, Ara. 1978. Anadolu'da Artuklu Devri Türk Mimarisi'nin Gelismesi. Istanbul: Kültür Bakanligi Yayinlari, 79-99.

Aslanapa, Oktay. 1991. Anadolu'da Ilk Türk Mimarisi Baslangici ve Gelismesi. Ankara: Atatürk Kültür, Dil ve Tarih Yüksek Kurumu, 9-12.

Gabriel, Albert. 1940. Voyages Archéologiques dans la Turquie Orientale. Paris: E. de Boccard.

Kuban, Dogan. 2002. Selçuklu Çaginda Anadolu Sanati. Istanbul: Yapi Kredi Kültür Sanat Yayinlari, 103-104.


Special thanks to the Islamic architecture website