Thanks to my young friends Erdinc and Canan who took me to the dome of Hagia Sophia, provided an exclusive access to Panagia Isodion in Istanbul, I got a chance to visit the Green Mosque (Yesil Cami) in Bursa when I was in Turkey in 2012. They had just finished their restorative work and the mosque was getting ready for its official opening in a few days. Their expert hands and attention to detail brought back most of the original glory or this small but significant work from the early Ottoman era.
Built around 1420, the Green Mosque was built both as a place for worship and a place for social interaction. In the social realm, I was told that it had meeting rooms, place for dignitaries to stay overnight, and of course the space for worship to serve its main purpose. It gets its name “Green” from the abundance of turquoise tiles that dominate the view, sometimes plain sometimes overlaid with gold leaf decorations. The domes are ornate with floral patterns and calligraphy and the tall and highly decorated mihrab pointing at the qibla, the direction to Kaaba.
There are many references to the history and architecture of Yeşil Cami (ş is the letter for the sound sh) and I am neither interested nor qualified to comment on. The photographic experience was quite interesting though. The form of the building is almost like a cube, tall ceilings with matching dimensions in width and depth. That made getting floor to ceiling frames challenging since there was not enough depth to move back for good coverage. Luckily, I had with me a 15mm Canon fish-eye lens which provided more than able to cover the angle, at the small price of distortions of the straight lines. I was able to correct them in post processing and even achieved the organic shapes I like after using adaptive wide-angle filter in Photoshop. I don’t know if you prefer to see the cropped views, but these elegantly curved views emerge mostly from the corrective filter which I retain and ensure the symmetry by trimming the excess on the sides.
Bursa, which is also known with the nickname “Yeşil” because of its lush flora, was the first imperial capital of the Ottoman Empire. Along side the namesake mosque, which is a part of a larger complex with other structures, one can find many fine examples of Ottoman architecture. I have written about and presented photographs of several other such places and the general life in Bursa in earlier posts. You may also want to take a peek at them to get a better idea of the town and its rich history and texture, Bursa, A Walk In Bursa, Dinner in Bursa.
And here are the photographs from the Green Mosque.