iPlayer Radio What's New?
Listen
Playing: The Cries of London by Orlando Gibbons
Image for Sinan the Magnificent

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Sinan the Magnificent

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 14 February 2010

Koca Mimar Sinan was court architect to one of the most powerful dynasties the world has known: the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century. Responsible for some four hundred sublime and inventive buildings throughout Turkey, the Balkans and the Middle East he is virtually unknown in the West. Why is this?

Architectural journalist Jonathan Glancey tells Sinan's astonishing story.

Born a Christian in crumbling Anatolia, Sinan converted to Islam and was taken into the Janissary Corps which fought to extend the Ottoman Empire. He participated in the campaign for Rhodes in the 1520s, learning to build rapidly and well - catapults, mosques and caravanserais, all the structures a vast army needed. The experience would stand him in good stead when he became chief architect to Sultan Suleiman I soon after.

Sinan's best known work is perhaps the Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul. But he also created madrassas, bathhouses and viaducts. Influenced by the Byzantine buildings that surrounded him in Constantinople, it is also likely that he had contact with the designs of Renaissance figures including Michelangelo, who was his contemporary. But did the artistic dialogue go both ways? Did Sinan's reputation reach into Western Europe through the strong links between the Ottoman Empire and Italy in particular? It's a tantalizing thought which the programme explores.

Producer:
Jane Beresford.

  • Rustem Pasha Caravanserai

    Rustem Pasha Caravanserai

    Inside the Rustem Pasha Caravanserai built by Sinan in the mid C16th probably on the foundations of a Byzantine church.

  • Rustem Pasha Caravanserai

    Rustem Pasha Caravanserai

    Inside the Rustem Pasha Caravanserai built by Sinan in the mid C16th probably on the foundations of a Byzantine church

  • Rustem Pasha Caravanserai

    Rustem Pasha Caravanserai

    Inside the Rustem Pasha Caravanserai built by Sinan in the mid C16th probably on the foundations of a Byzantine church.

Broadcasts

Discover Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas season

Explore the life, work and legacy of the Welsh poet on the centenary of his birth.

Podcasts

  1. Image for BBC World War One

    BBC World War One

    BBC Radio brings you stories of the war that changed who we are, with documentaries exploring the…

  2. Image for Music and Culture of WW1

    Music and Culture of WW1

    Highlights of BBC Radio 3’s special programmes to mark the WW1 centenary. Classical music, art,…

  3. Image for Ravel Revealed

    Ravel Revealed

    Maurice Ravel revealed through guides to his work and life. Ravel and Jazz, Ravel and literature,…

  4. Image for The Radio 3 Documentary

    The Radio 3 Documentary

    In-depth documentaries which each week explore a different aspect of history, science, philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss