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Women's prayer space in the case studies of the historic mosques in three balkan countries


Abstract and Figures

Full or partial access of women to the mosque in various historical periods has influenced the architectural type and setup, especially in the mosque interiors in the form of women's prayer space (maksura) reserved for women. This study examines women's access to the mosque, particularly with emphasis on the architectural typology of women's prayer space in sixty mosques from 15th to 19th centuries located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia as specific case studies, which has often remained relatively unrecognized.
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196-207 Gülşen Dişli Women’s Prayer Space
in the Case Studies
of the Historic Mosques
in Three Balkan Countries
Original Scientific Paper
UDC 726.2(497)”14/18”
Molitveni prostor
za žene u primjerima
povijesnih džamija
u tri balkanske države
Izvorni znanstveni èlanak
UDK 726.2(497)”14/18”
Znanstveni prilozi Scientific Papers
ISSN 1330-0652
UDK | UDC 71/72
23 [2015] 2 [50]
7-12 [2015]
23 [2015] 2 [50]
Table I Typology
of women’s
prayer space
in historic case
study mosques
of three Balkan
Tabl. I. Tipologija
prostora za žene
u povijesnim
džamijama u tri
balkanske države
Type 1
Maksura, lying along the full length of the north wall
with a narrow or wider width
Type 1-1
Type 2
Maksura, located on the
northwest corner
Type 3
”U” type
1c - Wps with two circular
balconies - narrow width 1-1c - Wps with three
balconies - wider width
1d - Wps with a raised
central part - narrow width 1-1d - Wps with a raised
central part - wider width
1 - Wps without a balcony
- narrow width 2a - Wps on the north-
west corner - wider width
1-1 - Wps without a
balcony - wider width 3a - ”U” type wps
with short side wings 4a - ”L” type wps
- west side wing
1a - Wps with rectangular
balcony - narrow width 1-1a - Wps with rectangu-
lar balcony - wider width 3b - ”U” type wps
with a balcony
2b - Wps on the northwest
corner - narrow width 4b - ”L” type wps with a
balcony - west side wing
1b - Wps with a circular
balcony - narrow width 1-1b - Wps with circular
balcony - wider width 3c - ”U” type wps 4c - ”L” type wps with a
balcony - east side wing
Type 4
”L” type
* Photo Gazanfer Beg Mosque [2.3.2015.]
23[2015] 2[50] PROSTOR 197Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi
Gülen Dili
Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies
of the Historic Mosques in Three Balkan Countries
Molitveni prostor za žene u primjerima povijesnih džamija
u tri balkanske države
architectural typology
historic mosques
women’s prayer space
Full or partial access of women to the mosque in various historical periods has
influenced the architectural type and setup, especially in the mosque interiors
in the form of women’s prayer space (maksura) reserved for women. This
study examines women’s access to the mosque, particularly with emphasis o n
the architectural typology of women’s prayer space in sixty mosques from 15th
to 19th centuries located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia
as specific case studies, which has often remained relatively unrecognized.
Turkish Republic Prime Ministry Directorate General of Foundations
Department of Art and Construction Works
Milli Mudafaa Cad. No: 20, Kızılay, 06100, Ankara, Turkey
Original Scientific Paper
UDC 726.2(497)”14/18”
Technical Sciences / Architecture and Urban Planning
2.01.04. - History and Theory of Architecture
and Preservation of the Built Heritage
Article Received / Accepted: 4. 6. 2015. / 7. 12. 2015.
Glavna državna uprava za gospodarenje spomenièkom baštinom Republike Turske
Odsjek za umjetnièke i graðevinsko-restauracijske radove
Milli Mudafaa Cad. No: 20, Kızılay, 06100, Ankara, Turkey
Izvorni znanstveni èlanak
UDK 726.2(497)”14/18”
Tehnièke znanosti / Arhitektura i urbanizam
2.01.04. - Povijest i teorija arhitekture
i zaštita graditeljskog naslijeða
Èlanak primljen / prihvaæen: 4. 6. 2015. / 7. 12. 2015.
Potpun ili djelomièan pristup žena u džamije u razlièitim je mjerilima i u raz-
lièitim razdobljima utjecao na formiranje maksure, tj. molitvenog prostora na-
mijenjenoga ženama u interijerima džamija koji se može smatrati specifiènim
primjerom arhitektonske tipologije i prostorne organizacije. Ovaj se rad bavi
analizom do sada relativno nepoznatih molitvenih prostora za žene u 60 dža-
mija s osobitim osvrtom na njihovu arhitektonsku tipologiju. Analiza obuhvaæa
razdoblje od 15. do 19. stoljeæa u Bosni i Hercegovini, Kosovu i Makedoniji.
arhitektonska tipologija
povijesne džamije
molitveni prostor za žene
198 PROSTOR 2[50] 23[2015] 196-207 G. DIşLI Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi
Women’s prayer spaces, namely the mak-
suras (area in a mosque screened off or parti-
tioned off) reserved for women in the historic
mosques, are among the parts that have un-
dergone massive changes in due course, pas-
sing from destruction to reconstruction, to
additions and extensions, to disuse and reu-
se, the reason of which might have been their
indurable construction materials or weak
construction techniques. Most analysis of
women and the mosque has focused on the
”historic perspective on segregation in mo-
sques, gendering of space, women’s right
to use mosques, and Islamic Law history of
women’s mosque access”.1 There is also a
growing tendency to work on this issue in
contemporary mosques through more gene-
ral aspects such as ”spatial segregation,
physical division, boundary and women, gen-
der inequality, women’s religious and spiri-
tual leadership, and gender justice in a pra-
yer”.2 Yet, very few researchers in these fields
specialize exclusively in the architecture and
quality of women’s space and the study of its
typology in historic mosques, let alone in the
mosques of a specific region as Balkans.3
Accordingly, the lack of research on these
specific prayer spaces lead to their inappro-
priate restoration and/or reconstruction, ex-
amples of which can be seen in case study
mosques and in selected three countries of
the Balkan peninsula.4 Yet, a critical element
in any preservation is the need to assess the
type and condition of building elements which
can provide a baseline for the comparison
during their preservation or reconstruction.
Therefore, this study first briefly outlines the
history of women’s access to the mosque,
focusing particularly on its effect in architec-
ture. After a brief examination of the litera-
ture on women and the mosque, it follows
with a discussion of how women’s access to
the mosque affected the architecture as in
the form of women’s prayer space, either as
constructed, reserved, or separated area. At
this section, different functions of maksuras
and their emergence were explained. The
next section presents an assessment of mak-
suras in case study mosques of selected Bal-
kan countries, used by women today, origi-
nally constructed either for muezzins (caller
of Muslims to mosque for prayer) or for wom-
en, by describing and analyzing the typology
of those women’s spaces.5
In order to fully understand the emergence
for women’s prayer space as part of mosque’s
architectural form in selected Balkan coun-
tries one must first look at the historical con-
text of women’s attendance to the mosques
and the issue of gender segregation in these
religious spaces. In Islam, mosques are not
only spaces for religious practices, but also
for education, social, political, and charitable
activities.6 Reda’s and Hussain’s researches
provide a historic perspective on women’s
access to mosque in early Islam, explaining
the lack of material and textual evidence with
regard to gender segregation in mosques,
such as walls or barriers, during the Prop-
hetic period.7 It is further stated that from the
reign of second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab,
1 Buisson, 2013: 99-122; Holmes-Katz, 2014; Mel-
chert, 2006: 59-69; Reda, 2004: 78-97; Sayeed, 2001: 10
2 Gaber, 2014: 1-7; Aryanti, 2012: 177-190; Buisson,
2013: 99-122; Hammer, 2010: 26-54; Kahera, 2013: 679-
682; Eskandari, 2011; Eskandari, 2012: 1-9; Woodlock,
2010a: 51-60; Woodlock, 2010b: 265-278; Hoel, 2013:
3 Kahera, et al., 2009; Avcı-Erdemli, 2013: 113-128
4 For instance in Kosovo, Peć, Abdürrezzak Efendi Mo-
sque, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bugojno, Sultan Ahmed II
Mosque, and in Macedonia, Ohrid Ali Pasha Mosque the
maksura were totally reconstructed in a new style or with
new material as concrete.
5 The author would like to thank to Prof. Dr. Orhan
Cezmi Tuncer for all his invaluable suggestions and critical
review on the subject matter.
6 Kuran, 1969: 1; Özalolu, Gürel, 2011: 337
7 Abbot, 1942: 111; Hussain, 2009: 54; Reda, 2004: 82
8 Abbot, 1942: 114; Hussain, 2009: 53-54; Reda,
2004: 77
9 Abbot 1942: 106-126; Avcı-Erdemli, 2013: 113-128
Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… G. DIşLI 196-207 23[2015] 2[50] PROSTOR 199
the tradition changed; ”total prevention of
women from the mosque”, ”pro-segrega-
tion,” and ”anti-segregation” being the three
major trends.8 Abbot’s and Avcı-Erdemli’s
works also examine the status of women in
early periods of Islam addressing their right
to attend the mosque for religious services
without any discrimination.9 Ahmad and Ary-
anti, on the other hand, state that ”instituting
seclusion” did exist in Arabian territory dur-
ing Prophet’s time, relevant especially for His
wives, and even far before Islam in Byzan-
tium and Persian non-Muslim communities.10
In her studies, Aryanti further explains how
this spatial and visual seclusion of women
and quasi privilege of men, at the same time,
provided freedom for women as the right for
public attendance and thus ”opportunities
for her leadership” in the society.11 Similarly,
after a detailed research on early Islamic
laws, Melchert argued that there were re-
strictions for women to go to the mosque
even in medieval times and laws, among
them Hanafi School being the least permis-
sive and Hanbali the most. He also states
that the degree of that restriction was still
less than today.12
Above arguments demonstrate that there are
different exegeses of Verses and Hadiths and
scholarly disputes with regard to the history
of women’s access to the mosque that this
study does not attempt to resolve. Instead,
the study is limited to the question of how
these Islamic laws and women’s prayer prac-
tice at the mosques affected the architecture
of those spaces. Even though there are narra-
tions in important Hadith books concerning
”separating the women from the men in the
masjid (Why don’t we leave this door /in the
Masjid/ for the women?), women leaving
their houses for the masjid, women’s forming
a separate line behind the men, rows for the
women and their distance from the first row,
and women leaving before men after the
prayer”, Hadiths do not directly restrict wom-
en’s attendance to the mosque, yet they sug-
gest the privacy of women.13 Thanks to those
narrations, and to the scholarly research, it is
understood that in Prophet’s Mosque in Me-
dina, there was a separate door for women’s
entrance called as Bab-an Nisa, which might
be considered as the first architectural sign
of women’s seclusion in mosques, assigned
for their privacy rather than prohibition.14
Maksuras, mezzanines, boundaries such as
partition screens, curtains, ropes, and wood-
en balustrades/grilles/lattices in the mos-
ques, balconies, or totally separate praying
spaces reserved for women were the other
architectural reflections of such segrega-
tion.15 For instance, in 870s, women’s prayer
space in the mosques was separated from
the rest, by means of ropes tied between the
columns by order of the governor in Mecca.
Similarly, in Jerusalem, special maksuras for
women were built inside the mosques, for
which Aksâ Mosque can be given as an ex-
ample with its three maksuras for women
about 912-913.16 Masdjid Kuwwat al-Islam (b.
1191) in Delhi is another early example; exhib-
iting architectural reflection of women’s se-
clusion with is four-side mezzanine around
the courtyard of the mosque allocated possi-
bly for women.17 In two-storied mosques such
as Afzal Khan’s Mosque (b. 1653) and Anda
Mosque (b. 1698), in Bijapur, similarly, the
second floor was reserved for women as a
separate prayer area.18 In some other exam-
ples, during the congregational prayers,
women and men prayed on the same main
prayer space, provided that women formed a
distant row behind the men with or without
partitions in-between, even in the mosques
with maksuras. In nineteenth century, it was
also common for women to use the main
prayer space in addition to maksuras be-
tween the congregational prayers.19 As Hol-
mes-Katz states, all those historic patterns
demonstrating women’s presence at the
mosque for prayers or for social activities,
though limited in number, time, and frequen-
cy, and rarely during the congregational pra-
yers, suggest the gendering of activities as
well as spaces at the mosques.20
In consideration of today’s boundaries sepa-
rating women’s prayer spaces in mosques,
this subject is most aptly illustrated in the
work of women scholars, which often draw
attention to the poor quality of those spaces,
gender inequality issues, and socio-spatial
quality of mosques. Contributions range from
mosques in Australia, Canada, and the Unit-
ed States to Indonesia, and Turkey.21 Re-
search findings propose that cultural, tradi-
tional, social, regional, and religious forces
are at work for the women’s attendance and
architectural composition of women’s space
at mosques in various ways.22 Dividing de-
vices such as latticed screens, curtains, mez-
10 Ahmad, 1986: 683; Ahmad, 1992; Aryanti, 2012: 180
11 Aryanti, 2013: ii, iii, 114
12 Melchert, 2006: 64, 69
13 Qadhi, 2008: 284, 349-351, 372-374, 379, 404, 609-
610; Kasadar, Şenaslan, 2007: 260
14 Söylemezolu, 1954: 30
15 Samb, 1991: 654-655
16 Samb, 1991: 662
17 Samb, 1991: 691
18 Samb, 1991: 696
19 Holmes-Katz, 2014: 188
20 Holmes-Katz, 2014: 7
21 Aryanti, 2012: 177-190; Buisson, 2013: 99-122; Es-
kandari, 2011; Eskandari, 2012: 1-9; Gaber, 2014: 1-7;
Hammer, 2010: 26-54; Hussain 2009: 52-66; Özalolu,
Gürel, 2011: 336-358; Woodlock, 2010a: 51-60; Wood-
lock 2010b: 265-278
22 Kahera, et al., 2009; Mazumdar, Mazumdar, 2001:
Fig. 1. Kosovo, Priština, Sultan Mehmed II Mosque,
wooden lattices and curtains at women’s prayer
space; Macedonia, Bitola, İshak Çelebi Mosque,
wooden separators at women’s space, and curtains
for women’s separation in Bitola, Hamza Beg Mosque
(from top to bottom)
Sl. 1. Kosovo, Priština, džamija sultana Mehmeda II.,
drvene rešetke i zavjese u molitvenom prostoru
za žene; Makedonija, Bitola, Isak džamija,
drveni razdjelnici u ženskom prostoru i zavjese
za odvajanje žena u Bitoli, Hamza-begova džamija
(odozgo prema dolje)
200 PROSTOR 2[50] 23[2015] 196-207 G. DIşLI Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi
zanines, separate entrances, and spaces
(mostly the basements or anterooms) are the
most common ways to create constructed
spaces for women, examples of which can
also be seen in historic mosques of Balkans
(Fig. 1, 2).23
The maksuras, introduced at the beginning of
Ummayad period during 7th century, had sev-
eral functions. They were reserved either for
the rulers24, for muezzins25, or for women.26 At
the beginning, the maksuras were construct-
ed mostly with a separate door as ”an en-
closed box or compartment in a mosque in
order to protect the ruler from the hostile at-
tacks during the prayer”.27 Later, this tradi-
tion spread through the whole Islam territory
including Anatolia, such that Divriği Kale
Mosque (b. 1180-1181), Divriği Great Mosque
(b. 1228-1229), and Beyşehir Eşrefoğlu Mos-
que (b. 1297-1299) are known among the ear-
liest examples in Anatolia, with a maksuras
reserved for the Sultan, and there are many
others built for the same function in Seljuk
and Ottoman periods, the effects of which
also observable in Balkans.28 They either lie
on the ground or are raised, for which wood,
stone, and iron were the primary materials of
On the other hand, makasîrs, separate rooms
or raised platforms shut off by partitions in a
mosque were introduced for teaching, gath-
ering, and women’s praying, and were also
often called as maksura. In addition, maksura
was the name of the raised platform or bal-
cony often located over the entrance to the
mosque or on the north façade of it as a pro-
jection (often called as mukebbire), on which
the muezzin repeated the words of the imam
(prayer leader) during the prayer for the rear
prayers (Fig. 3).30
Due to the relative scarcity of archival and
historic documents, the exact date for the
first appearance and primary function of
maksuras and makasîrs, whether initially
built for women or for muezzins in the early
mosques, is unknown. Similarly, due to their
mix use (maksuras for muezzins were also as-
signed for the use of women out of prayer
times), today in most of the historic mosques
of Balkans and of Turkey, their original func-
tion is unidentified.31 Though it seems that
the rulers and noble women used the balco-
nies by the fourteenth century, it was only by
the eighteenth century that the use of those
balconies by women becomes a standard in
major Ottoman mosques.32
Fig. 2. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo,
Careva/Emperor’s/Fatih Mosque, built 1565,
separate entrance and separate prayer space
reserved for women, attached at the east side
of the mosque in 1848
Sl. 2. Bosna i Hercegovina, Sarajevo, džamija cara
Fatiha II., sagraðena 1565., odvojen ulaz i odvojeni
molitveni prostor rezerviran za žene, pridodan
uz istoènu stranu džamije 1848.
Fig. 3. Montenegro, Pljevlja, Husein Pasha Mosque,
maksura for the muezzin on the northwest corner,
and mukebbire on the north façade of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bugojno, Sultan Ahmed II Mosque
and Careva/Emperor’s/Fatih Mosque, and mukebbire
above the entrance door in Macedonia, Bitola,
Mehmed Efendi Mosque (from left to right)
Sl. 3. Crna Gora, Pljevlja, Husein-pašina džamija,
maksura za mujezina na sjeverozapadnom uglu
i mukebbire (mali balkon) na sjevernom proèelju
džamije sultana Ahmeda II. u Bugojnu,
Bosna i Hercegovina i džamija cara Fatiha,
te mukebbire iznad ulaznih vrata u Makedoniji, Bitoli,
Mehmed-efendijina džamija (s lijeva na desno)
Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… G. DIşLI 196-207 23[2015] 2[50] PROSTOR 201
maksura lies, it is originally constructed for
the muezzin during the prayer times and also
used for women out of those times.33 All
above scholarship demonstrate that we still
know surprisingly little about maksuras re-
served for muezzins and for women, which
might be the reason for the neglect of the
subject, though its obvious importance.
Many scholars have done important contri-
butions particularly on the inventories of the
23 In Sarajevo, Careva (Emperor’s/Fatih) Mosque, today
women use the left wing addition to the mosque added in
1848, measuring 4,47´12,74 m, instead of the maksura at
the main prayer hall.
24 Sudalı, 1958; Önge, 1969: 8-9-20; Çetinaslan, 2013;
Çalıkan, 2010: 61-74
25 Çam, 1995: 541-555
26 Çetinaslan, 2005; Çamay, 1989
27 Arseven, 1950: 1260; Ugan, 1954: 35-37, 105, 662
28 Tanman, 2003: 662, 680
29 Tanman, 2003: 662, 680
30 Tanman, 2003: 662, 680; Çam, 1995: 543
31 Çam, 1995: 543
32 Holmes-Katz, 2014: 187
33 Çam, 1995: 544
Table II Table showing the name, period, location (B - Bosnia and Herzegovina, K - Kosovo, M - Macedonia), plan type (Square type /S/, Rectangular type /R/, T type /T/),
and current condition (U - Used, UR - Under Restoration, NE - Not-existent, R - Restored/Reconstructed) of case study mosques and typologies of their women’s
prayer spaces (for different typologies of women’s prayer spaces [wps]/maksuras see Table I)
Tabl. II. Tablica pokazuje naziv, vremenski period, lokaciju (B - Bosna i Hercegovina, K - Kosovo, M - Makedonija), tip tlocrta (kvadratièan /S/, pravokutan /R/,
T tip /T/ te sadašnje stanje (U - korišteno, UR - restauracija u tijeku, NE - nepostojeæe, R - restaurirano / rekonstruirano) džamija koje su predmet analize
te tipologije njihovih molitvenih prostora za žene (za razlièite tipologije takvih prostora [wps]/maksure v. tablicu I.)
Code of the
Typology of
women’s space
Plan type of the
Name of the
Mosque (M.)
Code of the
Typology of
women’s space
Plan type of the
Name of the
Mosque (M.)
B1 1-1 S Èekrekèi Muslihudin M. 16th Bosnia and H. /Sarajevo U K6 1 S Hadži Kasım M. 16th “ /Prizren U
B2 1-1a S Sultan Selim II. M. 16th “ /Knežina NE K7 1-1 S Sinan Pasha M. 16th “ /Kaçanik U
B3 1-1b S Kuršumlija M. 16th “ /Kladanj R K8 1a S Hadım M. 16th “ /Cakova R
B4 2a S Arnaudija M. 16th “ /Banja Luka NE K9 1a S Emir Alaaddin M. 16th “ /Priština U
B5 2b S Careva/Sultan Suleiman M. 16th/Blagaj U K10 1b S İlyas Kuka M. 16th “ /Prizren U
B6 2b S Aladža M. 16th “ /Foèa UR K11 1b S Kukli Mehmedbeg 16th “ /Prizren U
B7 2b S Musluk M. 16th “ /Foèa R K12 1d S Defterdar M. 16th “ /Peæ R
B8 2b S Kuršumlija M. 16th “ /Maglaj R K13 2b S Gazi Mehmed Pasha M. 16th “ /Prizren U
B9 2b S Karadjozbeg M. 16th “ /Mostar R K14 3a S Sûzî Çelebi M. 16th “ /Prizren U
B10 2b S Hadži Alija M. 16th “ /Poèitelj R K15 1d S Kuršumlija M. 17th “ /Peæ R
B11 2b S Jeni-Hasan Aga M. 16th “ /Travnik R K16 2a T Sufi Sinan Pasha M. 17th “ /Prizren R
B12 2b T Ferhadija M. 16th “ /Sarajevo R K17 1a S Hadži Ömer M. 18th “ /Cakova U
B13 2b S Careva/Emperor’s/Fatih M. 16th “ /Sarajevo R K18 1b S İskender Beg M. 18th “ /Prizren U
B14 2b S Sinan Beg M. 16th “ /Èajnièe NE K19 1 S Pehlivan Meydan M. 19th “ /Peæ R
B15 2b S Balaguša M. 16th “ /Livno R K20 1 R Gazi Ali Beg M. 19th “ /Vushtri U
B16 4a S White (Bijela) M. 16th “ /Sarajevo U K21 1a R Abdürrezzak Efendi M. 19th “ /Peæ R
B17 4c S Gazanfer Beg M. 16th “ /Banja Luka R K22 1a S Kosar M. 19th “ /Cakova U
B18 1-1b R Jalska M. 17th “ /Tuzla U K23 1-1a S Mahmud Pasha M. 19th “ /Cakova U
B19 2b S Koski Mehmed Pasha M. 17th “ /Mostar U K24 1d R Taftali M. 19th “ /Peæ U
B20 4a S Behram Efendi M. 17th “ /Banja Luka R K25 1d S Yašar Pašha M. 19th “ /Priština UR
B21 1-1a S Hadži Hasan M. 19th “ /Tuzla U K26 2b T Emin Pasha M. 19th “ /Prizren R
B22 3b R Hadži Ali Beg M. 19th “ /Travnik U M1 1a R Hûnkar M. 15th/Debar U
B23 3b R Suleiman Pasha M. 19th “ /Travnik U M2 3a S Ali Pasha M. 15th Macedonia/Ohrid U
B24 3c R Sukiye/Èaršija M. 19th “ /Maglaj U M3 1a S Mustafa Pasha M. 16th “ /Skopje R
B25 4b S Hussein Kaptan M. 19th “ /Gradaèac R M4 1c S Ishak Chelebi M. 16th “ /Bitola R
K1 1d S Bulazade Hasan Beg M. 15hKosovo /Peæ R M5 1-1c S Sultan Murad M. 16th “ /Skopje U
K2 1d R Fatih/Bajrakli M. 15th “ /Peæ R M6 1-1d S Yahya Pasha M. 16th “ /Skopje U
K3 1d S Sultan Mehmed II. M. 15th “ /Priština R M7 3a S Murad Pasha M. 16th “ /Skopje U
K4 1d S Sultan Murad/Èaršija/Fatih M. 15th “ /Priština UR M8 1 S Zeynel Abidin M. 17th/Ohrid U
K5 1 S Ramadanije/Lap M. 16th “ /Priština U M9 1b T Hamza Beg M. 17th/Bitola R
According to Çam, if a maksura has a balcony
like projection at its front (for the muezzin) or
if there is Ya Bilal-i Habeşî written calligraphy
on the wall of the mosque, through which the
202 PROSTOR 2[50] 23[2015] 196-207 G. DIşLI Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi
historic mosques still existent in Balkans34,
and even on the Ottoman women in Bal-
kans.35 Yet, little historical data exists to pro-
vide information on the architecture of wom-
en’s prayer spaces in those historic mosques.
This article, therefore, different from the exis-
tent literature, identifies and describes the
women’s prayer spaces, namely the maksu-
ra, as a special part of the mosque building,
with a particular attention to their typologies.
As one of the objectives of this study was to
identify different and primary types of maksu-
ras from most important monuments located
in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Mace-
donia chosen as the case countries, in total
sixty mosques, from 15th to 19th centuries, were
evaluated in terms of their women’s prayer
spaces. Twenty-five mosques from Bosnia and
Herzegovina (B), twenty-six mosques from
Kosovo (K), and nine mosques from Macedo-
nia (M) constitute the base of the research.
As shown in Table II, the initials (B, K and M)
of location country were used for coding of
the mosques. First, they were listed alpha-
betically (B1-B25, K1-K26, M1-M9) and then
chronologically according to their construc-
tion period. If the mosques in the same coun-
try share the same construction period, they
were listed according to typology of their
women’s prayer space, namely, the maksura
Type 1 was listed at the first rows compared
to Type 4 (Table I and Table II). Case study
mosques are classified into three groups ac-
cording to their plan types as ”square type
(S)”, ”rectangular type (R)”, or ”T type (T)”;
only four of them are in T type, nine are in
rectangular plan, and the rest lie on a square
base.36 Some of those mosques are not exis-
tent, totally destructed/demolished/dyna-
mited (NE), during the war in 1990s or earlier,
some are under restoration (UR) or restored/
reconstructed (R), and some others are dam-
aged waiting to be restored or used in their
original function (U). (Fig. 4; Table II).37
For the non-existent mosques and for the
ones, whose maksura was totally reconstruc-
ted in a new style or with different materials
during the restorations/interventions, their
original style was detected from archival and
historic sources and used for the typology
study. For instance, in Bugojno, Sultan Ah-
med II Mosque and Ohrid, Ali Pasha Mosque
(M2/3a) maksuras were replaced with con-
crete columns and with iron and wooden bal-
ustrades (Fig. 5).
According to their form and location inside
the mosque, maksura types can be divided
into four main groups; women’s prayer space
(wps)/maksura lying along the full length of
the north wall of the mosque, with a narrow
or wider width (”a”) (Type 1 and Type 1-1),
women’s prayer space (wps)/maksura locat-
ed on the northwest corner of the mosque
(Type 2), ”U” type maksura (wps) (Type 3),
and ”L” type maksura (wps) (Type 4; Table I).
In addition to these four main maksura ar-
rangements, are there also eighteen sub-cat-
egories divided according to the existence,
number, and form (rectangular or circular)
of front balconies/projections. Of the sixty
maksuras being studied, stone, marble, and
wood are the primary construction materials,
the later comprising the largest number, which
might be one of the reasons for their faster
destruction (Table III). Names, periods, cur-
rent conditions, and locations of the case
study mosques and various maksura types
observed in those mosques are presented in
Table I, and their approximate interior dimen-
sions including the dimensions of women’s
prayer spaces are shown in Table IV.
Fig. 4. Different maksuras observed in Prizren,
Emin Pasha Mosque, Priština, Sultan Mehmed II
Mosque, and Skopje, Alaca Mosque, and Mustafa
Pasha Mosque (from left to right)
Sl. 4. Razlièite maksure: Emin-pašina džamija
u Prizrenu, džamija sultana Mehmeda II. u Prištini
i Aladža džamija i Mustafa-pašina džamija u Skopju
(s lijeva na desno)
Fig. 5. Current maksuras in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bugojno, Sultan Ahmed II Mosque, Macedonia, Ohrid,
Ali Pasha and Hadži Durgut Mosques, and Bitola,
Hamza Beg Mosque (from left to right)
Sl. 5. Današnje maksure u Bosni i Hercegovini,
u Bugojnu, u džamiji sultana Ahmeda II., u Makedoniji,
u Ohridu, u Ali Pašinoj i Hadži Durgut džamiji,
te Hamza-begovoj džamiji u Bitoli (s lijeva na desno)
Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… G. DIşLI 196-207 23[2015] 2[50] PROSTOR 203
Maksuras in oldest surviving mosques from
15th century in selected Balkan countries, in-
cluding Sultan Mehmed II. Mosque (K3/1d)
(Priština), Sultan Murad/Èaršija/Fatih Mos-
que (K4/1d) (Priština), Fatih Mosque (K2/1d)
(Peæ), Bulazade Hasan Beg Mosque (K1/1d)
(Peæ), Ali Pasha Mosque (M2/3a) (Ohrid), and
Hûnkar Mosque (M1/1a) (Debar), are all con-
structed with wood except for Fatih Mosque
(K2/1d) (Peæ), and lie along the full length of
the north wall of the mosque with varying
widths (”a”) ranging between 2,23-2,90 m
(Table III and IV). In the 16th century, maksu-
ras experienced new styles and continued to
be used in later periods and almost all the
maksuras in ”Type 2” are built either with
stone or marble with a few wooden excep-
tions. In this century, maksura widths (”a”)
showed a great variety allowing one (below
2,00 m - examples: K6/1 and K10/1b) to three
rows (above 4,00 m - example: M5/1-1c) of
prayer spaces at the same time (Table IV).38
Reviewing Tables II, III and IV, it becomes
clear that there is no strong break between
the 16th century and later period maksuras in
terms of architectural typology and material,
also that all three case study neighboring re-
gions deeply influenced each other compris-
ing fairly similar maksuras. Since dimensions
and proportions are two important elements
in a typology study, approximate areas of
women’s prayer spaces are also compared
with the total interior prayer area of the
mosque. The study showed that in nearly half
34 Ayverdi, 2000a; Ayverdi, 2000b; Ayverdi, 2000c;
Ayverdi, 2000d; Yücel, 1991; Pasic, 1994; Turan, İbra-
himgil, 2004; Gerö, 1976; Özer, 2006; İsen, 2005; Kiel,
2000; Konuk, 2008; İbrahimgil, Konuk, 2006
35 Buturovic, Schick, 2007
36 Plan type of a mosque is considered to be ”square
type” if the difference between the width and depth di-
mensions of the mosque is less than 1,00 m.
For instance for the totally destructed mosques in Foèa,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, see Nemliolu, 1996. Among
the totally destructed mosques, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Banja Luka, Ferhat Pasha Mosque and Poèitelj, Hadži Alija
Mosque were recently reconstructed and Foèa, Aladža Mo-
sque is under reconstruction. Macedonia, Bitola, Haydar
Kadi Mosque, Kosovo, Priština, Yašar Pasha Mosque are
under restoration and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar,
Karadjozbeg Mosque, Maglaj, Kuršumlija/Kalavun Yusuf
Pasha Mosque, Kosovo, Prizren, Sinan Pasha Mosque,
Priština, Sultan Mehmed II Mosque, Macedonia, Skopje
Mustafa Pasha Mosque, and Bitola, Ishak Celebi Mosque
have been recently restored. In addition, Bosnia and Her-
zegovina, Èajnièe, Sinan Beg Mosque, Kosovo, Priština,
Emir Alaaddin Mosque, Vushtri, Gazi Ali Beg Mosque, and
Cakova, Kosar Mosques are planned to be restored or re-
constructed by Turkish Republic, Directorate General of
38 Approximate width (”a”) of a row needed during the
prayer is 1,50 m and approximate dimensions of prayer
space required per woman during the prayer are 0,50´1,50
m (depth ´ width). For more detailed information see
Eskandari, 2011: 66-67.
39 Özalolu, Gürel, 2011
40 This information became public to the author during
an interview with Macedonia, Bitola Mufti and with the
imam of Ohrid, Ali Pasha Mosque in March and April 2015.
of the case study mosques mostly from 15th
and 19th centuries, the ratio of women’s pra-
yer space to the whole prayer area ranges
between 20-30%, following it the ones below
10% and between 30-40% percent, respec-
tively (Table IV and V). As can also be seen
from Table V, in almost all case study mos-
ques, women’s prayer space is smaller than
men’s, which is a common tradition39, and the
ones with ratio of women’s prayer space to
the main prayer hall above 40% is most com-
mon especially in 19th century mosques. This
can be explained to some extent that in case
study mosques, women could attend to the
Friday prayers only at some specific mosques
such as Careva/Emperor’s/Fatih Mosque
(B13/2b) and Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque in Sa-
rajevo (Fig. 2), most frequently during the Ra-
madan for night prayers and rather less for
daily prayers.40 The increasing base areas of
women prayer spaces especially in 19th cen-
tury, on the other hand, can be seen as the
sign of increasing number of women attendan-
ce to the mosque as well as developments in
architectural programme of maksuras.
Among the studied maksuras, the ones in Ga-
zanfer Beg Mosque (B17/4c) in Banja Luka,
Hussein Kaptan Mosque (B25/4b) in Gra-
daèac, Ishak Celebi Mosque (M4/1c) in Bito-
la, and Sultan Murad Mosque (M5/1-1c) in
Skopje represent one of a kind with their
unique architectural types, differentiated
from others with their shape and number of
balcony projections. If there is no specifically
reserved area for women inside a mosque,
either the late comers portico partitioned
with (Bitola, Hatuniye Mosque and Sarajevo,
Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque) or without (Bitola,
Hasan Baba Mosque) curtains or wooden
Table III Table showing the construction material of the women prayer spaces in case study mosques
(codes&types represent the code of the mosque and typology of women’s prayer space shown in Tables I and II)
Tabl. III. Tablica pokazuje graðevinski materijal molitvenog prostora za žene u džamijama
(oznake codes&types predstavljaju šifru džamije i tip molitvenog prostora za žene u tablicama I. i II.)
& type Stone/
marble Wood Code
& type Stone/
Marble Wood Code
& type Stone/
marble Wood Code
& type Stone/
marble Wood
B1/1-1 B16/4a K6/1 K21/1a
B2/1-1a B17/4c K7/1-1 K22/1a
B3/1-1b B18/1-1b K8/1a K23/1-1a
B4/2a B19/2b K9/1a K24/1d
B5/2b B20/4a K10/1b K25/1d
B6/2b B21/1-1a K11/1b K26/2b
B7/2b B22/3b K12/1d M1/1a
B8/2b B23/3b K13/2b M2/3a
B9/2b B24/3c K14/3a M3/1a
B10/2b B25/4b K15/1d M4/1c
B11/2b K1/1d K16/2a M5/1-1c
B12/2b K2/1d K17/1a M6/1-1d
B13/2b K3/1d K18/1b M7/3a
B14/2b K4/1d K19/1 M8/1
B15/2b K5/1 K20/1 M9/1b
204 PROSTOR 2[50] 23[2015] 196-207 G. DIşLI Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi
41 Karpat, 2004: 525
42 Inalcık, 2009: 49-52
screen, back rows of the main prayer space,
or the second floor of the late comers portico
with projecting balconies (Tetovo, Serena/
Alaca Mosque) are used for women during
the prayer times (Fig. 6). Even in some cases,
such as Ishak Celebi (M4/1c) and Hamza Beg
Mosques (M9/1b) in Bitola, which have
maksuras, reserved spaces partitioned with
curtains at latecomer’s portico instead of in-
terior maksuras are used for women.
Balkan Peninsula, located on southeast Eu-
rope, had an important geopolitical location
and was under considerable power of Byzan-
tine and Latin feudal lords at the time of Otto-
man arrival.41 The Peninsula has a long histo-
ry with its rich historic monuments and cul-
tural landscape including Islamic religious
architecture, yet, they are disappearing grad-
ually. Ottoman penetration began in the Bal-
kans in mid-fourteenth century, and so did
the effect of Islamic art and architecture in
the area, among them mosques being at the
first place.42 During its approximately 550-year
rule of Balkans, Ottoman Empire built mos-
ques, hans (buildings for housing a caravan),
hammams (public baths), and madrasas
(theological schools) in the entire peninsula
as can still be seen in many surviving works,
despite the destruction of several hundred.
Among them, literature on historic mosques
of Balkan countries helps us understand sev-
eral dimensions of those monuments ranging
from their history, founder, and architectural
features to wall paintings. Yet, very few re-
searches specialized exclusively in the archi-
tecture and quality of women’s space and the
study of its typology in historic mosques, let
alone in the mosques of a specific region as
Balkans.43 Accordingly, the lack of research
on these specific prayer spaces lead to their
inappropriate restoration and/or reconstruc-
tion, examples of which can be seen in case
study mosques.
This study, therefore, aimed to provide a
broader perspective in Islamic religious ar-
chitecture of the peninsula in the historic pro-
cess of time by forming its relation with wom-
en’s prayer space, whose primary function in
the mosque was religious activities, as well
existed as the result of especially education
and social activities of women. First, the
study briefly outlined the history of women’s
access to the mosque, focusing particularly
on its effect in architecture either as con-
structed, reserved, or separated spaces. The
research, then, analyzed architectural reflec-
tion of women’s attendance to mosques and
formal aspects of women’s prayer spaces,
namely, maksuras by identifying both com-
mon elements and variations in styles. For
instance, maksuras, mezzanines, boundaries
such as partition screens, curtains, ropes,
and wooden balustrades/grilles/lattices in
the mosques, balconies, or totally separate
praying spaces reserved for women, were ex-
amples of architectural reflections of women
segregation in historic mosques.44 Different
functions of maksuras in the history and their
emergence were also explained.
The current study, which summarizes four
major maksura types (Table I), also indicates
practical and detailed indicators such as di-
mensions, local construction materials, pro-
portions, current condition of women’s pra-
yer spaces and mosques, as well as the ratio
between the size of the maksura and the size
of the mosque. There are primarily three dif-
ferent plan types observable in case study
sixty historic mosques of three Balkan coun-
tries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and
Ma cedonia, which are square type, rectangu-
lar type, and T type. Among them, square
type is the most common mosque plan type
obser ved in different periods. Of the sixty
mosques, six are from the 15th century and
the rest are built in 16th to 19th centuries. The
architectural styles of women prayer spaces
in these case study mosques are classified
into four main groups with eighteen sub-
groups based on their spatial scheme, loca-
Fig. 6. Women’s prayer spaces in Macedonia, Bitola,
Hatuniye Mosque, Ishak Celebi Mosque, Hasan Baba
Mosque, and in Tetovo, Serena/Alaca Mosque
(from left to right)
Sl. 6. Ženski molitveni prostori u Makedoniji u Bitoli,
Hatuniye džamiji, Isak džamiji, Hasan-babinoj džamiji
i u Tetovu, Serena/Alaca džamiji (s lijeva na desno)
Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… G. DIşLI 196-207 23[2015] 2[50] PROSTOR 205
tions inside the mosque, and existence and
number of balcony projections, determined
by means of in situ analysis, literature sur-
vey, and comparative studies (Table I). Of the
sixty case study mosques in three Balkan
countries, most of them are used in their orig-
inal function, three are not existent and three
are under restoration (Table II) and construc-
tion materials of maksuras in those mosques
are stone, marble or wood, which is the most
common material (Table III).
Thanks to the case studies, it became possi-
ble to better understand the different typolo-
gies of maksuras, either damaged or totally
destructed, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Koso-
vo, and Macedonia, experienced violent war
da mages, during which most of the mosques,
as well as the archives were wiped out. The
study on Balkan mosques and their maksuras
not only illustrates undiscovered information
about their typologies with regard to formal
and proportional changes that can be used to
explore the others in the South-eastern Eu-
rope, they also display historic phases in the
region, which can inform conservation ef-
forts. Thus, all allows the preservationist and
designers to make comparison during deci-
sion making for the correct intervention and/
or reconstruction of those and other maksu-
ras of historic mosques in Balkans, as well as
to draw a guideline to application of choices
as different models for the new projects in-
spired by the historic ones. This study also
leads to another important conclusion in
case study mosques; pointing to the smaller
and separated spaces allocated for women
as the continuation of tradition in many other
Muslim communities.
Table V Table showing the ratio of WS-area
of women’s prayer space and M-area of mosque
Tabl. V. Tablica pokazuje omjer WS - površine
ženskog molitvenog prostora i M - površine džamije
Ratio %
WS/M area #
Most common
types of women
prayer spaces
in this range
Most common
period of the
in this range
Below 10% 12 2a, 2b 16th century
10-20% 7 2b 16th century
20-30% 25 1, 1a, 1d 15th and 19th century
30-40% 11 1-1, 1-1b 16th century
Above 40% 5 3b 19th century
Table IV Table showing the approximate interior dimensions and the dimensions of women’s prayer spaces of the mosques being studied - WS - area of women’s
prayer space; M - area of mosque (dimensions: a /width/, b /length/, c,d,e and the codes&types represent the ones shown in Tables I and II).
Tabl. IV. Tablica pokazuje prosjeène dimenzije interijera kao i dimenzije molitvenih prostora za žene u džamijama - WS - površina ženskog prostora za molitvu;
M - površina džamije (dimenzije: a /širina/, b /dužina/, c,d,e i oznake codes&types predstavljaju one iz tablica I. i II.)
Dimensions (m) Area(m2)Code
Dimensions (m) Area (m2)
abcdeWSM abcdeWSM
B1/1-1 2,53 7,80 --
8,00 20 62 K6/1 1,67 7,66 --
7,53 13 58
B2/1-1a 2,70 8,25 1,66 0,51 8,25 23 68 K7/1-1 3,36 10,25 --
10,25 34 105
B3/1-1b 2,60 7,67 1,08 0,61 7,51 21 58 K8/1a 2,55 12,40 2,25 0,87 12,30 34 153
B4/2a 2,12 8,44 3,39 -8,44 7 71 K9/1a 2,57 10,14 2,45 0,41 9,48 27 96
B5/2b 3,00 10,85 4,30 -10,80 13 117 K10/1b 1,49 7,96 2,07 0,67 7,97 13 63
B6/2b 2,56 11,39 4,35 -11,39 11 130 K11/1b 2,51 7,03 1,06 0,50 7,17 18 50
B7/2b 1,97 10,55 4,27 -9,75 8 103 K12/1d 2,03 9,50 2,10 1,00 9,35 21 89
B8/2b 2,60 12,40 4,29 -12,60 11 156 K13/2b 2,97 13,35 4,95 -13,20 15 176
B9/2b 2,35 10,80 4,00 -10,80 9 117 K14/3a 2,23 8,60 1,51 0,86 8,60 23 74
B10/2b 2,33 9,73 3,50 -9,73 8 95 K15/1d 2,90 11,85 --
11,50 34 136
B11/2b 2,60 9,80 4,20 -9,60 11 94 K16/2a 3,86 13,95 5,87 -14,25 23 199
B12/2b 2,63 10,90 4,50 -11,20 12 122 K17/1a 2,77 8,97 2,03 0,60 9,02 26 81
B13/2b 2,55 13,16 5,00 -13,20 13 174 K18/1b 3,35 8,60 1,80 0,90 8,63 30 74
B14/2b 2,63 10,97 4,25 -10,97 11 120 K19/1 1,70 8,60 --
8,60 15 74
B15/2b 2,30 8,47 3,40 -8,53 8 72 K20/1 1,56 6,79 --
7,81 11 53
B16/4a 2,94 9,25 3,72 1,75 10,12 34 94 K21/1a 2,35 7,80 1,42 0,55 9,60 19 75
B17/4c 2,95 10,60 2,23 2,98 10,70 38 113 K22/1a 1,90 8,15 1,77 0,80 9,10 17 74
B18/1-1b 2,87 9,55 1,29 0,60 8,60 28 82 K23/1-1a 2,54 8,80 2,35 0,83 9,20 24 81
B19/2b 2,33 10,10 3,55 -10,10 8 102 K24/1d 2,48 6,93 --
9,48 17 66
B20/4a 2,73 6,05 1,90 0,48 6,85 17 41 K25/1d 1,63 9,68 3,15 0,97 9,68 19 94
B21/1-1a 3,31 11,57 2,19 0,73 11,98 40 139 K26/2b 2,31 9,23 3,34 -9,20 8 85
B22/3b 4,56 13,73 2,63 1,20 16,65 127 220 M1/1a 2,90 7,57 --
10,86 22 82
B23/3b 3,20 14,20 2,65 1,00 16,50 117 234 M2/3a 2,73 12,45 1,74 1,53 12,50 42 156
B24/3c 2,25 9,50 2,00 -10,70 55 102 M3/1a 3,03 16,40 3,41 0,80 16,52 52 271
B25/4b 2,40 11,20 2,23 2,56 11,23 33 126 M4/1c 2,40 14,60 2,98 1,16 14,54 39 212
K1/1d 2,47 10,23 --
9,40 25 96 M5/1-1c 5,28 24,05 2,50 0,85 24,28 130 584
K2/1d 2,23 7,29 --
9,59 16 70 M6/1-1d 4,06 17,95 2,91 0,97 18,00 74 323
K3/1d 2,54 14,00 --
13,98 36 196 M7/3a 4,27 12,96 3,30 4,88 19,90 83 258
K4/1d 2,79 10,30 --
10,45 29 108 M8/1 1,94 7,90 --
7,95 15 63
K5/1 1,90 9,15 --
9,17 17 84 M9/1b 1,48 8,90 2,00 0,48 8,90 14 79
43 Kahera, et al., 2009; Avcı-Erdemli 2013: 113-128
44 Samb, 1991: 654-655
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Illustration Sources
Izvori ilustracija
Fıg. 1, 6 Photo: author, 2011, 2015
Fıg. 2 Photo: author, 2011
Fig. 3, 5 Photo: author, 2009, 2015
Fig. 4 Photo: author, 2011, 2013, 2015
Scientific Papers | Znanstveni prilozi Women’s Prayer Space in the Case Studies… G. DIşLI 196-207 23[2015] 2[50] PROSTOR 207
GÜLS¸EN DIS¸LI is a preservationist architect holding
an M.S. from University of Minnesota and Middle
East Technical University and a PhD from Gazi Uni-
versity. She has conducted restoration studies at
the chief governmental institution in Turkey re-
sponsible for preservation of historic monuments
in both Turkey and abroad including historic
mosques in Balkans since 2005. She has also par-
ticipated in the inventory projects of Turkish traces
in Yemen and Crimea. Her research interests in-
clude Islamic architecture, historic preservation,
cross-cultural analysis, and functional systems in
historic monuments.
GÜLS¸EN DIS¸LI je arhitektica i konzervatorica. Magi-
strirala je na Sveuèilištu Minnesota i Tehnièkom
sveuèilištu Srednjeg istoka, a doktorirala na Sveu-
èilištu Gazi. Od 2005. godine bila je voditeljica pro-
jekata restauracije u glavnoj državnoj instituciji u
Turskoj koja se bavi zaštitom povijesnih spome-
nika u Turskoj, ali i u drugim zemljama ukljuèujuæi i
povijesne džamije u balkanskim državama. Tako-
ðer je sudjelovala u projektima inventarizacije
turskih tragova u Jemenu i na Krimu. Njezin istra-
živaèki interes usmjeren je na islamsku arhitek-
turu, povijesnu zaštitu, interkulturalnu analizu te
funkcionalne sustave povijesnih spomenika.
Molitveni prostor za žene u primjerima povijesnih džamija
u tri balkanske države
Balkanski je poluotok, kao specifièna tranzicijska
regija, oduvijek bio sjecište utjecaja brojnih civili-
zacija koje su na ovim prostorima slijedile jedna iza
druge, npr. civilizacije antièke Grèke i Rima, bizan-
tinska i turska. Njihov je utjecaj na društvene, kul-
turne i religijske institucije na Balkanu bio zna-
èajan, što je posljedièno utjecalo i na povijest arhi-
tekture u toj regiji. Tijekom svoje duge povijesti
Balkanski je poluotok svojim položajem u jugo-
istoènoj Europi bio jedinstveno podruèje civiliza-
cijskih dodira, buduæi da se preko njega širio
ranokršæanski i islamski utjecaj, o èemu svjedoèi
bogato naslijeðe povijesnih spomenika. Moæ Tur-
skoga Carstva snažno se osjeæala u svim sferama
života na poluotoku izmeðu sredine 14. i poèetka
20. stoljeæa, a osobito u politièkoj, društvenoj, kul-
turnoj i religijskoj. Turska osvajanja ostavila su
znaèajan trag u umjetnosti i arhitekturi, pri èemu
valja izdvojiti arhitekturu džamija kao najtipièniju
formu islamskoga graditeljstva.
Brojni znanstvenici istraživali su povijesne spome-
nike Balkana na samome terenu te došli do važnih
arhivskih, arhitektonskih i povijesnih podataka o
njima, ukljuèujuæi i povijesne džamije. Ipak, ti su
podaci veæinom temeljeni na inventarizaciji dža-
mija, pri èemu se molitveni prostori za žene ug-
lavnom ne spominju, dok su neki podaci prilièno
zastarjeli. Nije, naime, bilo dovoljno interesa za
istraživanje pristupa žena u džamije, a posljedièno
i na ureðenje njihovih interijera. S obzirom na ne-
dostatak publikacija o toj temi, ovo je istraživanje
usmjereno na analizu razvoja ženskih molitvenih
prostora kao arhitektonske forme. Analiza obu-
hvaæa šezdeset povijesnih džamija u trima bal-
kanskim državama: Bosni i Hercegovini, Kosovu i
Makedoniji. Ove džamije više ne postoje ili su raz-
rušene, ošteæene ili u postupku restauracije i
rekonstrukcije, dok one koje su u dobrom stanju ili
tek manje ošteæene i dalje služe svojoj prvobitnoj GÜLEN DILI
namjeni. Arhitektonski stilovi tih džamija klasifici-
rani su u tri glavna tipa na osnovi forme: kva-
dratiène, pravokutne ili džamije T-forme, ovisno o
prostornoj shemi utvrðenoj terenskom analizom te
arhivskim i povijesnim istraživanjem.
Nadalje, s obzirom na uništavanje islamske sakral-
ne arhitekture na Balkanu zbog ratnih razaranja ili
politièkih nestabilnosti tijekom 20. stoljeæa, a oso-
bito tijekom 90-ih godina 20. stoljeæa, ovim se
radom nastoji utvrditi tipologija ženskih molitvenih
prostora u šezdeset povijesnih džamija sagraðenih
izmeðu 15. i 19. stoljeæa. Iako one pokazuju neke
promjene tijekom vremena, osobito u pogledu
funkcije i osnovnih arhitektonskih obilježja, cilj je
ovoga rada omoguæiti širi uvid u sakralnu arhi-
tekturu poluotoka kroz povijest, te osobito u žen-
ske molitvene prostore i njihov utjecaj u arhitekturi.
Pristup žena u džamije utjecao je na formiranje mo-
litvenih prostora rezerviranih za žene u interijerima
džamija, poznatih pod nazivom maksura. Kako bi
se toèno objasnio pojam maksure, rad obraðuje i
povijest pristupa žena u džamije te posljedièan
utjecaj na formiranje i funkciju takvih prostora, bilo
da se radi o posebno izgraðenim prostorima ili re-
zerviranim prostorima, ili pak odvojenim prostori-
ma. Donosi se i pregled literature o razdvajanju
spolova u džamijama. Nedostatak istraživanja o
ovim specifiènim prostorima doveo je do njihove
neadekvatne restauracije i/ili rekonstrukcije. Kako
bi se ukazalo na probleme njihove konzervacije, u
ovome je istraživanju provedena klasifikacija i re-
valorizacija tih prostora na temelju analize šez-
deset odabranih primjera džamija u balkanskim
državama s obzirom na nekoliko bitnih kriterija:
njihovu formu, proporcije, graðevinski materijal,
dimenzije, broj balkona i lokaciju unutar džamija.
Analiza ukazuje na postojanje 4 razlièita tipa mak-
sura s 18 podtipova koji se mogu uoèiti u povi-
jesnim džamijama u trima balkanskim državama. Iz
analize proizlazi i zakljuèak da su ove tri susjedne
regije znaèajno utjecale jedna na drugu pa tako
sadrže sliène tipove maksura. Usto, u gradnji mak-
sura opaža se tendencija iskorištavanja onih gra-
ðevinskih materijala koji su bili najdostupniji u tim
regijama, kao što su kamen, mramor i drvo. Anali-
zirani tipovi ovih prostora karakteristièni su za od-
reðena podruèja i povijesna razdoblja pa je stoga
pitanje njihove konzervacije od izuzetne važnosti
jer oni omoguæavaju uvid ne samo u arhitekturu
ovih podruèja veæ i njihovu sociologiju i kulturu.
Primjerice, kvaliteta ovih molitvenih prostora, nji-
hove dimenzije, proporcije u odnosu na cjeloku-
pan molitveni prostor džamije te elementi razdva-
janja, kao što su drvene rešetke, zavjese i povišeni
balkoni, ukazuju na kolektivna znaèenja i sliènu
tradiciju u korištenju tih prostora.
Analiza tih prostora u primjerima povijesnih dža mija
otkriva nepoznate podatke o njihovoj tipolo giji s
obzirom na formalne promjene, koji mogu poslužiti
kao predložak pri projektiranju novih maksura po
uzoru na one povijesne. Ona takoðer daje pregled
povijesne dokumentacije o maksurama unutar jed-
noga ogranièenog podruèja bal kanskih država, a
koja može poslužiti kao osnova njihove buduæe kon-
zervacije. Tako se u ovoj analizi princip „konzer-
vacije na temelju dokumenata” smatra temeljnim
konceptom koji može poslužiti u identifikaciji kultur-
nog potencijala regije i u oèu vanju njezina kulturnog
naslijeða. Nadalje, analizirane maksure omoguæa-
vaju uvid u prirodu rane islamske arhitekture na po-
luotoku sve do poèetka 20. stoljeæa i mogu korisno
poslužiti u buduæim istraživanjima takvih prostora
diljem jugoistoène Europe. Za buduæe analize po-
trebno je definirati metode zaštite i održavanja u
cilju njihova konzerviranja, dok tipološka analiza i
tablice iz ovoga istraživanja mogu korisno poslužiti
za istraživanje takvih prostora u povijesnim džami-
jama drugih balkanskih država.
... The relationship between gender and space is a theme used in the field of architecture, as well as the histories of gender and women studies over many years. There is also scholarly interest in the topics of gender and sacred spaces and considerable professional concern is being put into identifying the place of women and issue of gender segregation in places of worship [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]. Yet, their relationship with regard to architectural point of view has not always explicitly stated, let alone comparative analysis of gendered sacred spaces in celestial religions. ...
... In sacred spaces of Islam, primary indicators of gendered space divisions were as follows; "maksuras, mezzanines, boundaries such as partition screens, curtains, ropes, and wooden balustrades/ grilles/ lattices in mosque interiors, galleries/balconies, or totally separate praying spaces reserved for women" [8][9]. Maksuras were enclosed chambers in the form of a box or compartment first built to protect the ruler/Sultan from hostile attacks, mostly located near the mihrab niche in the main prayer hall of the mosques [38]. ...
Cross-cultural comparison has been used in architecture mostly to discuss the components of culture, knowledge, and value systems, yet to date there is not a specific comparative study on gendered architecture in prayer places of celestial religions, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Hence, this study aims to reveal how attendance of women in prayer places with different national, historic, religious, and cultural characteristics shaped architectural space organization and to assess potential similarities and differences of women’s section in prayer spaces of celestial religions by examining literature survey, archival and historic research, including field observations. In addition to general observations in building scale, some exemplary historic synagogues, churches, and mosques in Istanbul still in use have been chosen as case studies, and their plan typologies, as well as types and locations of women’s galleries/sections have been discussed. Cross-cultural comparison parameters were; development of women’s section in prayer places as a structured architectural space and basic architectural terminologies used to define women’s section. The major conclusion of the study is that originally women had right to worship in prayer spaces without any physical separation in all three religions, yet in time the place of women had a more defined/divided/structured character especially in Islam and Judaism. The study also indicates that while at present day, gendered architecture is still the predominant approach in Islam and in Orthodox Judaism; mix congregation in a single-unsegregated space for both sexes is more common in contemporary society of Christianity.
Full-text available
This paper analyses the discourses of sexuality that can be gleaned from debates on Muslim women's religious leadership in Islam. In order to present a focused discussion on this topic, I pay particular attention to the public responses and commentaries that emerged in the wake of Amina Wadud's delivery of the Friday khutbah (sermon) in a Cape Town mosque in 1994. Although this event took place twenty years ago, the discourses on sexuality that unfolded in these public debates continue to inform contemporary public engagements on this topic. This paper is not concerned with the vexed question of prohibition or permission of women's religious leadership in Islamic legal traditions and/or Muslim history, but rather with the kinds of assumptions regarding women's sexuality that inform the politics of religious inclusion/exclusion. In conclusion, the paper offers a discussion on women's religious leadership through the lens of Islamic feminism in order to foreground some of the distinct voices that shift the focus of public debates-from an emphasis on women's sexuality to questions of women's spirituality and humanity.
Full-text available
This work handle the term of “hünkâr mahfil” which has a big part in art history’s terminology, and the construction that emerged under this term with its first samples and its development in Seljuk und Ottoman architecture. The mahfil has the meaning ‘meeting place’ and defines the special parts in harim of mosque. These architectural constructions were built as being surrounded with banister or higher than other places in mosque. As muezzin, hünkâr und women, there are three kinds of mahfil which were constructed for different functions. The places which are called as “Hünkâr-Sultan Mahfil”’ today, were named as “Maksura, beyt’ül Maksure”’ in Muslim- Arabic communities, where they came out for the first time. These had the names ‘Hünkâr Ma’bedhanesi, Hünkâr Mahfil, Mahfel-i Hazret-i Hüdavendigar or Mahfil-i Hümayun in Ottoman Empire, but in the terminology of today’s art history there are named as Sultan or Hünkâr. After Prophet Mohammed migrated to Medina, he was to have both his own home and a masjid built here which would named as “suffa” later. This masjid was formed by a kind of medresseh and worship place, whose walls made of adobe, and its roof was covered with date boughs. At first, a sign –a line or stone- was put here to show the direction of Mecca and a date log for pulpit orator. In place of these some new places were built in mosque functionally, but among these there wasn’t a mahfil. And it shows us that mahfil was not needed in the time of Prophet. According to many investigators the first maqsuras – Hünkâr mahfils were built essentiality to save the caliphs against the assassinations. There are so many opinions about the building’s time of maksure-Hünkâr mahfil, but it must have been built at the beginnings of the times of Emevi (661-750). As İbni Haldun pointed out, this part of mosque must have had a big importance for ruler that it began to be built on every part of Islamic region. The Hünkâr mahfils, which pervaded on the Islamic region in 11th and 12th centuries, were built in different forms in Anatolian before Ottomans. After the first sample in Divriği Kale Mosque (1180-81), so many Hünkâr mahfils were built in other constructions. The importance of the mahfil in these constructions can be comprehended by being built as an apart flat, by the care to mahfil and pulpit orator and in some constructions by a special door just for it. It possible to say that the custom began with Divriği Kale Mosque (1180-81) and continued with Konya Aleaddin Mosque (1220), Divriği Ulu Mosque (1228-29), Niğde Aleaddin Mosque (1223), Beyşehir Eşrefoğlu Mosque (1297-99), Niğde Sungur Bey Mosque (1335-36), Hasankeyf Ulu Mosque (it was built in the middle of 11th century and took its last form in 1394) and Aksaray Ulu Mosque (1408-1409). The Sultans in Ottoman Empire were praying on Friday and festal days and on special religious nights in one of the mosques within the city. Because of this, the Hünkâr mahfils were built in the mosques of Ottomans’ capitals as Bursa, Edirne and İstanbul. But in some mosques of the cities such as Amasya, Konya and Manisa, which were at the near of the capitals and were named as prince sanjak, were built Hünkâr mahfils too. The oldest Hünkâr mahfil in Ottoman architecture is present in the quest house within the Bursa Yıldırım Complex, which was to have built by Yıldırım Beyazıd in 1985-99. Except for this Hünkâr mahfil, that is controversial in respect of its position and dimensions, there is another conspicuous sample with its style and ornament in Bursa Yeşil Mosque that was built by Hacı İvaz Paşa upon request of Çelebi Sultan Mehmed in 1419-20. The Hünkâr mahfil envelops a huge area with its other further function places on north side of the mosque and it has an intense ceramic execute. These verify the importance to be given to mahfil. A huge change occurred about the form of hünkâr mahfils after Bursa Muradiye Mosque, which has plainer characteristics than Bursa Yeşil Mosque (1426). The oldest hünkâr mahfil in Ottoman architecture, which was in the form of being carried by the columns, is present in the Edirne Mosque of 2. Bayezid(1488). At the times of Seljuk and Beylik, the Hünkâr mahfils was made of wood. And until the late of Ottoman architecture, the material marble was used as well as wood. The hünkâr mahfil was built traditionally in all mosques in İstanbul, which were built upon requests of Sultans, after the Mosque of İstanbul 2. Bayezid. For the first time, mihrab was built in the Şehzade Mosque. After this mosque, mihrab was placed in many contractures, in which hünkâr mahfil was present, as İstanbul Süleymaniye Mosque (1557), Edirne Selimiye Mosque (1574-75), Sultan Ahmet (1617), Eminönü Yeni (1663) and Üsküdar Yeni Valide Mosque. Before the hünkâr mahfil in Sultan Ahmet Mosque (1609-17), there was no unique lathwork in the hünkâr mahfils of Ottoman mosques. The marble screen wall, which enveloped only one side of east face of hünkâr mahfil in Sultan Ahmet Mosque, was enlarged to envelop two faces of hünkâr mahfil in Eminönü Yeni Mosque (1663). After the building of a lathwork in Sultan Ahmed Mosque (1609-17), lathwork was put in the hünkâr mahfils which had no present or unique one. For the first time, the hünkâr pavilion was jointed to mosque in Sultan Ahmed Mosque (1609-17) and this execution was followed later in some mosques as Eminönü Yeni (1663), Üsküdar Ayazma (1758-61) and Laleli (1759-63). It is seen that hünkâr pavilion began to enlarge after 18th century and ever enveloped the north faces of the mosque in connection with hünkâr mahfils. The first practice of the hünkâr mahfil was seen in Üsküdar Selimiye Mosque(1801-86), and hünkâr rounds, as well as hünkâr mahfils on the left side of harim turned to lodges with balcony to the entrance of harim in Nusretiye Mosque (1854), Ortaköy and Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque (1882-86). Since 17th century, another considerable work in Ottoman architecture was that hünkâr mahfil was put in the mosques or the constructions, which were a church before a mosque, which were built years ago and had no hünkâr mahfil. Into the constructers, that were already a mosque, were put hünkâr mahfils as Istanbul Haseki Sultan (1612-13), Vaniköy (1730-54), Hacı Beşir Ağa (1809-39), Üsküdar Atik Valide (1834-35), Mahmut Paşa (1828-35), Defterdâr İbrahim Paşa (1833), Bursa Ulu (1740), Kaymak Mustafa Paşa (1837) and Edirne Eski, and into the mosques which had been a church before the conquest of İstanbul as Galata Arap (1734-35), Zeyrek (in the second half of 18th century), Gül (1809-39) and Ayasofya (1847-51). The architectural constructers under the term of hünkâr mahfil symbolize a higher stage of the maqsura into a mosque. Particularly, in the mosques, which were to have built by Sultans and by being carried by the columns, have a great importance not only of their architectural characteristics, but also their symbolic specialties.
This study examines contemporary meanings and uses of the mosque in Turkey by arguing that productive architectural plans require understanding both the socio-historical development of the mosque and the socio-political transformations that have led to the mosque's current position in society. Mosque space is conceptualized as a physical environment that cultivates the formation and transformation of individual, social, and collective memories. The study questions whether the mosque still exhibits the qualities of a social space and whether new and innovative mosque designs reflect - programmatically, architecturally, and spatially - transformations related to their current uses and social meanings. These questions are explored through interviews, two questionnaires, and a worksheet, all of which involve a case study of Dogramacizade Mosque in Ankara. On one hand, the findings underscore the changing relationship between Muslim women and mosque space as a result of the transformation of congregations into citizens of a contemporary secular nation and suggest that spatial designs of mosques should take present-day behaviors and practices into consideration rather than ignoring this social aspect through which transformations occur. On the other hand, the collective memory of congregation members resists changing the allocation of prayer halls in the mosque. Members are in favor of continuing the traditional layout of separated spaces based on gender differences. The resistance implies that collective memory changes much slower than behaviors or lifestyles in terms of gender issues. Additionally, parallel to the findings, modernization of the mosque brings forth the idea of resurrecting the mosque s historical form as a social complex that fundamentally conflicts with secularity.
This paper deals with the issue of women's full or partial access to the mosque from 610-925. This period is divided into two timeframes. The first, 610-34, consists mainly of the time in which the Prophet was active in Makkah and Madinah. The second, 634-925, is the period beginning witUmar's reign to the time when the Hadith literature was written down and set into the well-known compilations. Two types of evidence are examined for both periods: material and textual records. Material records consist of the layout of the various mosques, where the existence or absence of dividing walls or separate entrances could be important clues. Textual records consist mainly of the Qur'an and Hadith literature. The Qur'an is used as a primary source for the first period, whereas the Hadith literature is used as a primary source for the second period. The Hadith is used to distinguish trends and directions in the Muslim community after the demise of the Prophet, rather than as a source of information on the Prophet himself. This avoids problems of authenticity, while not denying that much of the Hadith may well be authentic. From the primary sources available for the first period, there does not appear to be any evidence of segregation; rather the evidence indicates that women had full access to the mosque. In the second period, three trends appear: a pro-segregation trend, an anti-segregation trend, and a trend that sought to prohibit women from going to the mosque altogether. Nevin Reda is a student at the University of Toronto. She is working on her Ph.D. in Arabic studies and has an M.A. in Biblical Hebrew Language and Literature.
The 2005 woman-led Friday prayer in New York City generated broad media attention and significant levels of intra-Muslim debates about women’s inclusion in mosques, gender roles, and textual interpretation. This essay examines the prayer event within the larger context of American Muslim women’s contributions to reinterpretations of the Qur’an and their negotiations of religious authority, leadership roles, and mosque spaces in a North American context. The essay is based on the writings of American Muslim women on gender discourses and on media coverage, documentaries, and Internet sources produced by and about them. I argue that some of the initiatives toward gender inclusiveness in American mosques and communities should be read as an embodiment of gender-just interpretations of the Qur’an, and as products of particularly American and transnational constellations of Muslim discourses on gender. Another women’s ‘sit-in’ at the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., in February of 2010 serves as an epilogue to the essay.