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Trajectory of iwan: origin, use and meaning from ancient anatolia to islamic period

Tuncel, Burcu
This thesis analyzes the iwan and its typological variations in architecture in terms of its development, migration and cosmological references. Medieval Islamic mysticism (Sufism) with its original theory and practice coalesced ancient lore. Its efflorescence coincides the 11th-13th centuries when Seljuk architecture became developed in Iran and Anatolia. This era is considered as the final stage when the four-iwan-plan reached complete fruition. The geographical route of the Silk Road interconnects Greco-Roman, Iranian and Central Asian Turkish traditions that became the ground where iwan, its precursors and analogues became formed as the end product of variou s local developments. Among them are the vaulted reed hut, cave niche, banquet hall, exedra, canopus, pedimented shrine, aedicula, apse, triumphal arch, mihrab and portal. This study in the iwan’s history focuses on the western end of the Silk Road and traces its beginning in the Iron Age Anatolia. The structural, formal and semantic transformations of the iwan in this route became possible after numerous interactions which are for the first time studied in this thesis.