Green shrine of Ottoman Sultan

Green shrine of Ottoman Sultan

The Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I Celebi took the throne in 1413 when the empire was in decline. During his short (only eight years) reign, he managed to return the territories that gained independence after Timur’s invasion. It was said that Mehmed was a fair, peace-loving and educated ruler. He tolerantly treated his non-Muslim nationals, developed trade, built a lot, patronized writers and poets.

The sultan had nine daughters and seven sons, some of whom were buried with Mehmed in the famous Green Mausoleum - one of the most famous and beautiful historical monuments of Bursa in the north-west of Anatolia.

Actually, Mehmed I died not in Bursa, but in Edirne (Adrianople). Until 1453, the city was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and during the wars of the Ottoman Empire with Austria, Rzeczpospolita, Russia in the 16-18th centuries became the main venue for the Ottoman army. But the death overtook Mehmed I not in a battle. According to some reports, in 1421, the ruler fell from a horse on a hunt. He died not immediately, but feeling the approaching of his death he ordered to call the heir to the throne. However, the heir was far from the place of the tragedy, and it took him more than a month to get to the dying father. Mehmed died before his son’s arrival, but  his death was not announced immediately. According to the rumors, in order to avoid a riot in the army, when soldiers suspected something was wrong, a military parade was organized with the participation of ... the mummy of Mehmed I. The mummified remains of the Sultan were dressed in a caftan, a turban was put on his head. The body was placed beside the window and his hands were moved.

Whether it is true or not, but it is reliably known that forty days after his death, the ashes of the Ottoman ruler were transported to Bursa, where he was born, and buried in the place that the sultan himself chose for building the shrine.

The Green Mausoleum was built by the son and heir of Mehmed I - Murad II. Both the mausoleum and the nearby mosque were designed by architect Haci Iwaz Pasha. The octagonal mausoleum with a conical dome was erected on a top of a hill surrounded by cypress trees.

According to historians, the shrine became a symbol of the Turkish-Ottoman ceramic art of the beginning of the 15th century. The speciality of the tomb are the faience tiles of green and turquoise colors decorating it. Hence the name of the mausoleum - Green.

Another feature of the tomb is considered to be a wooden door with a well-made carving.

The green-blue tiles are everywhere, but not all of them are authentic. After the devastating earthquake in 1885, the most of the ceramics was damaged, so the masonry was replaced by a more modern tile.

Chandeliers and colored glass were built into the mausoleum later.

Both sides of the entrance to the portal are crowned with an umbrella vault and marble niches decorated with patterns of yellow, white and blue tiles.

Fronted with yellow, white and blue glazed tiles and decorated with the calligraphic inscriptions the Mehmet sarcophagus is inside the mausoleum surrounded by seven more graves.

Near the mausoleum, there are burials of Sultan’s foster-mother, his daughters and one of his sons.


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