Sokullu Mehmed Pasha Complex in Luleburgaz

hamam_FOTO

Luleburgaz, is the central town of Kırklareli Province in Thrace Region and is a busy commercial, industrial and agricultural city located on Edirne-İstanbul highway. The date of establishment goes back to 4000 B.C.; the city has witnessed in turn Thracian, Hun, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations. When an Episcopal Center in the Byzantine period, it was included in the Ottoman Empire by Sultan I Murat (1362-1389) in 1357. Due to the production of large amounts of meerschaum it was called Bergule, then Arkadiyapolis, Birgoz, Burgas and Luleburgaz – I in the republican period and always contributed substantially to the development of the country. The complex is being built by architect Sinan and named by the famous Great Vizier – Sokullu Mehmed Pasha in XVI century and since then Luleburgaz has been a large and important city and accommodation center. The complex is built on a flat area of about 40.000 m2, which consists of mosque, madrasa (secondary school), primary school, arastas (bazaar), caravanserai (inn), imaret (charity canteen), double baths, bridges, toilets and burial yard.

The imaret is completely broken down, a large part of caravanserai has not survived until the present days, the other structures of complex, mosque – madrasa – burial yard – praying dome are still used for various functions. The double bath is not used as baths because the ownership of the baths’ section is changing, the warm zones belongs to different people. However, the shops which are around the complex in additional to the original plan and the facade are still functioning.

The complex is located on the main accommodation and destination point between İstanbul – Edirne which is used for caravans and carriers to the middle parts of Europe through Edirne-Sofia-Belgrade route from the European side of İstanbul. This is why, the structure was planned to serve several functions at the same time, such as – the mosque which serves religious function, the madrassa and primary school – which serve education function, the imaret and double bath – which serve social events, the bridge serves the caravanserai, the transportation office and the bazaar – which in turn serve the trade.

In addition, if we look at the location and arrangement of structures we see that the mosque is not the main building, the caravanserai, which serves commercial function and the bazaar are taking most of the attention.

The mosque of the complex reflects a variation of the original plan which includes a dome of the community area to the north, one-balconied minaret to the northwest and the burial yard to the south. The courtyard with portico and fountain is located to the north of mosque and is surrounded by madrasa rooms with U shape, hence the courtyard is used in common by the two different structures. The primary school, located in the perimeter wall of complex to the south of mosque, is located on the lower floor and is covered by a small dome.

To the north the courtyard, which is common for the mosque and the madrasa, leads to the bazaar section through a door. The bazaar is adjacent to the northern wing of the madrasa, and consists of shops which are built on either side of a road extending in the east-west direction. The north of complex opens to the caravanserai. The entry to the caravanserai is provided by a door and this door is located at the same axis with the other door which opens from the courtyard to bazaar. Thus, with the top cover of dome where the doors are opened, this section is called the praying area. There is no trace is left from the imaret which is was located to the east of the caravanserai.

The plot where the old non-existent structures were located, included besides the imaret, also the now destroyed boiling room of the double bath.

 

The double bath, is located to the east of the madrasa, and is surrounded by shops. The bridge, leading away from the complex, at the end of Edirne way, on Lüleburgaz River, still serves its functions.

As a result, Luleburgaz Sokullu Mehmed Pasha Complex has significant importance in many respects. It was built along an important way which is still used and busy today, it was designed by a great architect of the era, named after an important grand vizier, and the many and different structures are a notable aspect of the complex. With these qualities the complex is still serving the city, the neighbouring areas and the tourists and has a distinguished place in the Ottoman history.

Beginning from the founding years of the Ottoman Empire, the architecture structures whether in the form of single buildings or in the form of complex, develop with the viability of government’s political and economic status. The complex structures emerge as examples of important architecture buildings which reflect these changes. The Complex emerges as an indicator of economic prosperity and reached its full development with monumental changes in the original plan. The XVI century, which forms the Classical Period of Ottoman Empire, is a period with clear political, economic and cultural organization and its effects were felt in architecture. Lüleburgaz Sokullu Mehmed Pasha Complex is one of the finest examples of buildings which were built during this period.