A History of Ottoman Architecture Paperback – 23 Feb 1987
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From the Back Cover
Godfrey Goodwin study immediately established itself as the definitive work on the subject when it was first published, and it remains the only comprehensive survey in English and virtually the only account of the last two centuries of Turkish architecture.
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Consider instead Constantinople: Istanbul's Historical Heritage, which also considers Byzantine art, but has superb colour photography.
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Adding to the difficulty is the overabundance of text relative to the black-and-white photographs. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the obverse is not true in this case. A thousand words of description of buildings lacking graphic representation left me quite in the dark. There is a great number of illustrations, but the text goes far beyond the illustrations. One must possess at least a rudimentary knowledge of the hundreds of Turkish monuments (primarily mosques and related buildings) in order to comprehend what appears to be otherwise concise, if personal, evaluations of their relative conditions and merits. Also, the lack of color documentation is a serious problem when the written description frequently goes on at length about colors.
The author and his editor(s) do not seem to have English as their native language which does provide a bit of comic relief as in, for example, the frequent use of "curvular" (apparently derived from linear) when "circular" is the obvious correct English word.
I did, however, learn much of the crudeness and barbarity of Ottoman civilization which appears to have had a direct influence on its architectural evolution. Centuries were spent constructing mosques based on Byzantine churches (primarily the Hagia Sophia) using the same geometries time and again - the quintessential round peg (circular dome) in the square hole (cubic base) with very short drums. Ottoman architectural geometry consisted of squares, cubes, round domes, and round arches with minor variations for centuries and centuries. In Europe during that time the Romanesque style matured into Gothic which, in time, was supplanted by the Renaissance which was followed by the Baroque. Finally, in the seventeenth century, Ottoman architecture began borrowing Baroque decorative motifs to apply to its geometric vocabulary.
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