Imagine stepping into a world that’s straight out of a history book, where the echoes of ancient civilizations still resonate in the stone walls, and stunning architecture paints a vivid picture of bygone times. Welcome to Divrigi, Turkey, home to the extraordinary Great Mosque and Hospital. This UNESCO World Heritage site is more than just an architectural marvel, it’s a journey back in time to the era of the Seljuk Turks, an embodiment of a rich cultural heritage and an enduring testament to human ingenuity. In this blog post, we will embark on an exploration of the Great Mosque and Hospital in Divrigi, delving into its fascinating history, examining its intricate artistry, and understanding its unique place in the world’s cultural narrative. So, buckle up, history enthusiasts and architecture aficionados, as we travel back to the 13th century and experience the wonders of Divriği!
The History of Divrigi
The history of Divriği is rich and complex due to its geographical location and the various cultures that have influenced it over the centuries.
Divriği has been inhabited since ancient times. However, its most significant historical period began with the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century. It was a part of the Seljuk Empire, and later it came under the control of the Mengücekids, a Turkic beylik (principality) in the eastern Anatolia.
The Mengücekids ruled Divrigi from the late 12th century to the early 13th century. During this period, Divriği reached a high level of architectural development. The most notable architectural achievement from this time is the Great Mosque and Hospital (Darüşşifa), built in 1228-1229. UNESCO added this complex, which blends different architectural styles, in a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 due to its cultural significance and the sophistication of its stone carvings.
After the fall of the Mengücekids, Divriği was incorporated into the Ilkhanate and later the Ottoman Empire, along with the rest of Anatolia. It remained a small and relatively unimportant town during these periods.
Divriği continues to be a site of historical and architectural interest, particularly for scholars and tourists interested in the history of the Seljuk Turks and the art and architecture of the Islamic world.
Where is Divriği?
Divriği is located in the Sivas Province of Turkey. It’s in the Eastern Anatolia region of the country. Geographically, it’s positioned towards the eastern part of central Turkey. The town is in a mountainous area, contributing to its natural beauty. The Great Mosque and Hospital, the most well-known landmark in Divriği, is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its exceptional and sophisticated architecture and stone carvings.
The Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi (2023 Latest Information)
Nestled in the eastern region of Central Anatolia, Turkey, lies a monumental testament to the architectural prowess of the ancient Seljuk Turks – the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, this unique architectural ensemble is not just a place of worship, but also a remarkable example of cultural synthesis and architectural innovation.
Historical Significance of the Great Mosque and hospital in Divrigi
Constructed in 1228-1229 under the patronage of Ahmet Shah and his wife, Turan Melek Sultan, the complex stands as a remarkable achievement of the Mengücekids, a Turkic dynasty that ruled Divriği during the 12th and 13th centuries. The Seljuk period, known for its architectural and cultural blossoming, bore fruit in Divriği with the construction of this complex, which blends various architectural styles and innovative stone-carving techniques.
Architectural Splendor of Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi
The Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği captures the observer’s eye with its intricate stonework and awe-inspiring symmetry. It represents an exceptional combination of architectural styles that have synthesized local Anatolian traditions with Islamic elements, creating a unique aesthetic and spatial composition.
The exterior façades of the complex, adorned with intricate stone carvings, depict geometric and floral motifs and inscriptions in Arabic. The interior has similarly rich decorates, reflecting the highly developed artistry of the time.
The Hospital (Darüşşifa)
The Darüşşifa (literally meaning “house of health” in Arabic), or hospital, part of the complex reflects the societal values of its time, highlighting the importance placed on health care and medical knowledge. Even today, the hospital stands as a symbol of the advanced civilization of the Seljuks and their commitment to public welfare.
Importance of Preservation of the Great Mosque in Divrigi
Preserving this historical gem is a matter of global importance. The Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği is not only an architectural marvel but also a cultural treasure, narrating tales from the times of the Seljuk Turks. Its preservation ensures that we maintain a tangible link to our shared past, providing inspiration for future generations of architects, historians, and cultural enthusiasts.
The great mosque and hospital in Divrigi is now under restoration. The restoration has been on going since 2016. It is estimated that the restoration will finish in 2 years.
A Trip to Divrigi: Stepping Back in Time
A visit to Divriği is akin to a voyage back in time, allowing one to walk in the shadows of the ancient Seljuk Turks. The stunning landscapes, mountainous terrain, and historical intrigue of the town offer a unique journey to any traveler. The Great Mosque and Hospital, standing in silent grandeur, encapsulates the spirit of Divriği and serves as a symbol of the town’s rich cultural heritage.
The Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği is much more than an architectural wonder. It embodies centuries of history, culture, and human endeavor. It is a tribute to the knowledge and sophistication of the people who constructed it and a testament to the enduring power of cultural heritage. As you explore its intricately carved walls and ornate interior, you are not just witnessing stone and mortar, but an enduring narrative of human creativity and cultural synthesis. A trip to Divriği is a must for anyone with a passion for history, culture, or architecture.