UNESCO added Selimiye Mosque and its social complex in the Thracian province of Edirne to its World Heritage List on June 27, 2011, the 10th from Turkey. This magnificent structure was built by Sinan, a famous Turkish architect when he was 90 years old after being commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Selim II. Selimiye Mosque is one of the most important works of Ottoman Turkish architecture and was called a “masterpiece” by Sinan.
Architect Sinan was a Turk with Armenian heritage, just like Frank Lloyd Wright was American, whose parents on her mother’s side were from Wales. In fact, Frank Lloyd Wright, considered the greatest American Architect, declared that Sinan was the greatest Architect of all times. Sinan was born in the village of Agirnas near Kayseri in 1490. Quite by coincidence, Wright died on April 9, 1959, on the same day that Sinan died in 1588.
Sinan built mosques, schools, hospitals, bridges, aqueducts, bathhouses, houses, and many other structures, which may number well over a thousand on lands which were once part of the Ottoman Empire. Wright designed more than 1,000 projects, which resulted in more than 500 completed works. One of his designs was for a mile high building which was not built. This is now being realized in Saudi Arabia where a 1,600 m high building is under construction, surpassing the world’s tallest structure, Burj Halife in Abu Dabi.
World Heritage List
There are close to a thousand sites around the world which are included in the World Heritage List. Since 1982, the city of Istanbul, Ulu Mosque in Divrigi, Sivas, Troy, Safranbolu, Pamukkale, Cappadocia, Nemrut Dağı, Xanthos-Letoon and Hattuşaş have been included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. There are many new sites under consideration for the Heritage List and Istanbul was kept in the list, which was being discussed for dropping due to lack of proper upkeep.
Society of Turkish Architects, Engineers and Scientists in America (MIM)
A group of engineers and architects met early in 1970 and established the Society of Turkish Architects, Engineers and Scientists in America (MIM) on April 8, the day that Sinan died. The organizations is still active after 41 years under a new name, Turkish-American Association of Turkish-American Architects, Engineers and Scientists, which is now headed by Dr. Ali Kocak. A Symposium on both Sinan and Wright and the new horizons on Skyscrapers would be beneficial in rekindling the interest in this organization of over 640 members.
Yuksel Oktay, PE
Past President MIM, 1970