The project studies selected architectural monuments from the early centuries of Ottoman rule in Europe. It challenges a common approach that misrepresents and marginalizes them as mere provincial echoes of processes in the sultanate’s metropolises Edirne and Istanbul. Preliminary research findings suggest a more dynamic picture of interaction between ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ and situate them more prominently in the broader narrative of Ottoman architectural history.
A fresh look on historical and material sources as well as the existing architectural documentation will allow drawing new conclusions as to the original appearance of monuments that have been substantially altered in the course of time. The project will demonstrate that later changes have occasionally obscured significant original features and functions. This has inhibited the appreciation of their role in the development of Ottoman architectural history. The often used conception of Ottoman monuments in the Balkans as the product of a vaguely defined ‘culture’ is questioned in favour of an approach that explores concrete agendas and needs of patrons and users for explaining the choice of specific types, forms, and motifs.
The project will study, analyse, and interpret the architecture and decoration of around two dozen monuments in the North of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia along with the historical milieu in which they were conceived.
It seeks to bridge a conspicuous gap in previous studies that focussed on either form or function. The findings of the project will facilitate the integration of a considerable body of remarkable yet little-known monuments into the scholarly discourse on Ottoman and Islamic architectural histories.
On November 25/26, 2016, an international workshop titled ISLAMIC ART'S GENIUS LOCI: HISTORICAL EXPLORATIONS IN TOPOLOGICAL AESTHETICS will be convened within the framework of the project. For more information about the workshop, please consult this document. For questions about the workshop, please contact Maximilian Hartmuth.