Female patronage in classical Ottoman Architecture: five case studies in İstanbul

Sümertaş, Firuzan Melike
The aim of this thesis is to discuss and illustrate the visibility of Ottoman imperial women in relation to their spatial presence and contribution to the architecture and cityscape of sixteenth and seventeenth century İstanbul. The central premise of the study is that the Ottoman imperial women assumed and exercised power and influence by various means but became publicly visible and acknowledged more through architectural patronage. The focus is on İstanbul and a group of buildings and complexes built under the sponsorship of court women who resided in the Harem section of Topkapı Palace. The case studies built in Istanbul in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are examined in terms of their location in the city, the layout of the complexes, the placement and plan of the individual buildings, their orientation, mass characteristics and structural properties. It is discussed whether female patronage had any recognizable consequences on the Ottoman Classical Architecture, and whether female patrons had any impact on the building process, selection of the site and architecture. These complexes, in addition, are discussed as physical manifestation and representation of imperial female power. Accordingly it is argued that, they functioned not only as urban regeneration projects but also as a means to enhance and make imperial female identity visible in a monumental scale to large masses in different parts of the capital.


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Citation Formats
F. M. Sümertaş, “Female patronage in classical Ottoman Architecture: five case studies in İstanbul,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2006.