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Spring- 2011 Rabela Junejo
THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MONUMENTAL CORRIDOR: THE GREAT COMPLEXES OT THE 16TH CENTURY
The text is taken from the book’ “The Image of an Ottoman City: Imperial Architecture and Urban Experience in Aleppo in the 16th and 17th Centuries”, by Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh. The book focuses on the study of Ottomanization of the Aleppo in the 16 th and 17th century. The critique is drawn basing it on the lack of the previous scholarship to acknowledge and analyses the process in a more unbiased method. As it is highlighted that the works done before were mainly stances taken either from an Ottoman Imperial perspective basing the architecture in the center as the model and of higher/greater importance or by the nationalist whose agenda mainly was to regard the architecture of that time as imposed by an imperial regime. The book focuses on the interaction and exchange between the center and the periphery and addresses how both provided for on each other, and attempts to fill the gaps present in the previous scholarship. The author of the book Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh is an Art Historian, his research interest involves study of, Early modern and modern Islamic Art and Architectural History, urban history, theory of architectural preservation, and architecture and gender.  Chapter three of the book discusses in a structured manner four of the major complexes developed in Aleppo basing the focus on the Ottomanization of the city, located along a monumental corridor the ancient cardo maximus as stated by the author. The complexes discussed are; The Khusruwiyya Complex, The Adiliyya Complex, The Bahramiyya Complex and The Complex of Khan al-Gumruk. I will be summarizing and discussing one of the four complexes discussed in the chapter.
The Khusruwiyya Complex: The complex included mosque, madrasa, and a caravanserai completed in 1546. The form and location, the author suggest signaled the Ottoman style and presence, of the complex. There are some debates regarding the date of the complex but it was completed in around 1546, and was commissioned by Husrev Pasha the vizier during the reign of Sultan Suleiyman. There are also debates about who, the architect of the complex was whatever is the case the complex as author
The functions the buildings of these complexes housed were also as suggested by the author Ottoman in approach and usage. portico and the door having the dedicatory inscription. Dialogue and exchange between center and periphery of not just elements but artisans. the major elements of the Ottoman style were reproduced most significantly in the Great Mosque like the low hemispherical dome the un interrupted prayer hall the entrance faced features like minarets. the complex is designed as such to be viewed from the distance and hence location and hierarchy of the building with in the complex play a great role. The contrast between the two suggests the divergence of the style from one to another again then the dissemination of certain older elements localizes the Imperial central style. Acknowledgment of the local design by fusion of it in the new structures and also by building in the style using local artisans. designers and patrons. Other details are also discussed with due reference to sources by the author to prove the Ottoman identity/style of the complex mosque also having local elements suggesting visual conversation between the center and the periphery. The patrons of such complexes executed and commissioned these projects in order to legitimize their position in the central political scene. These and certain other elements make the complex different spatially as well as stylistically from what was already being designed and built in Aleppo. There are certain assumptions made by the author regarding these commissions the reason or motive behind them which can be discussed or debated and research upon further. There are instances of these patrons commissioning building in the local styles as well. Important Points Highlighted: Ottomanization of the periphery in accordance (not very stringently) with the standardized model produced and disseminated from the center. . The building though independent entities are bounded by a low fence making them a part of a single complex. The spatial organization is also very ‘Ottoman’ in approach. In the formal analysis the author suggest that. The dialogue or comparison between the already existing Mamluk and newly built Ottoman buildings is apparent in the visual order of the space. The planning also reflects Ottoman influence of the center as it is axial in nature. The dialogue between the already present and the newly built not just in stylistic vocabulary but also in spatial arrangement and functionality of spaces producing a contrast as well as suggesting the newness of the newly built structure.suggest was the imprint of the Ottoman architecture in the urban landscape of Aleppo based on the standardized Imperial architecture of the center applied on the periphery.
There is lack in my scholarship regarding the earlier approaches historicizing the past both in the center and the provincial Ottoman geography so am unable to comment on that work.html .ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/publications/watenpaugh. The authors claim to represent the visual and verbal resources to fill the gap of a biased stance on the subject discussed in my opinion is fulfilled in a very systematic manner analyzing each heading and subheading in greater detail with due reference to the sources available again both textual and visual also duly pointing to the shortcomings or errors in the previous works.  http://arthistory.