Date of inclusion on the World Heritage List: December 6, 1985
List reference: 358 Criteria: Cultural
The mosque where stones were clothed with love
The first Turkish building to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Great Mosque and Divrigi Hospital, was built in the 13th century by Ahmed Shah and his wife Mellke Turan from the Principality of Mengucek. The Divrigi Great Mosque was designed by the Ahlat architect Hurrem Shah in 1288 and is known for its monumental architecture, hexagonal dome and unique stone carving decorations.
The Great Mosque and the Hospital have a simple facade. Its status as a unique masterpiece is due to the merits of the stone carvings that adorn the great portal of the hospital, the north portal of the mosque, the west portal of the mosque and the portal of Shah’s podium. Every single figure in the decoration is a unique marvel of art and architecture as well as a technical masterpiece.
Art historians and architects agree that there are no other examples of the three-dimensional and intricate geometric styles and flowing figures of plants.
The portals seem to be borrowed from the Baroque, Seljuq and Gothic styles, but still represent a unique and independent style. All the figures carved on the portals and on the walls were asymmetrical and each square has thousands of figures carved out of stone. The main feature of the designs shown in the portals is their uniqueness: each one is different from other decorations. For example, the wreath of life used on the portal on the north facade is noteworthy as it represents a completely imaginary plant world that only existed in the mind of the craftsman.
In addition to the portals, all the bases, shafts and capitals of the columns as well as the inner surface of the dome were decorated in a different, independent and unique style.
The hospital next to the Great Mosque is in itself a masterpiece of stone carving. It shares the glorious unity of the Great Mosque. The hospital is a two-story building with a central courtyard surrounded by colonnades. It was designed as a hospital where remedies included the calming sound of water flowing from the wells.
This exciting stone masterpiece, sculpted with love, awaits its visitors