Sinan Diaryz: Mimar Sinan’s Work

Mimar Sinan (“Sinan the Architect,” 1489-1588) was the greatest architect in the history of the Ottoman Empire, and among the greatest in the world.

His graceful, harmonious mosques and mosque complexes (külliye)bridges and caravanserais embellished the empire of his imperial patron, Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, and influenced Turkish and world architecture to the present day.

Author Ann Pierpont fell in love with Sinan’s work, and was amazed to find no walking guide to help architecture-lovers find and appreciate Sinan’s buildings extant in Turkey She solved that problem beautifully.

Her approach was to write “Sinan’s Diary,” her concept of what the great artist would have written had he turned his pen to autobiography.

It’s a dangerous approach: so much could go wrong, and it would be so easy to do it badly.

But Pierpont succeeds brilliantly: the personal approach works perfectly for this sort of book. We know it’s not Sinan we’re reading, but it’s easy to suspend that knowledge and enjoy Pierpont’s first-person narrative, which is sensitive to the man and his art.

The book itself is beautiful and well-made, with useful photos, illustrations and plans, and even framed blank spaces into which readers/walkers can put their own notes or photos after visiting Sinan’s buildings.

Most people may choose not to visit all of Sinan’s great buildings, large and small, described in Sinan Diaryz, but no matter. The book is worth having even if you plan to visit just a few. The background information, walking directions, building descriptions and illustrations of all the other buildings will help any art lover to appreciate the wonder of Sinan’s work.

Sinan Diaryz: A Walking Tour of Mimar Sinan’s Monuments
by Ann Pierpont
Istanbul: Çitlembik Publications, 2007
ISBN 9944-424-08-0, 216 pages, TL40

USA & Canada: Nettleberry LLC, US$44.95


 


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