Ottoman Empire architecture is among the most beautiful in the world. The roots of this architectural movement were established in the sixteenth century and were basically derived from two sources. The first was the complex architectural movement that had developed over Anatolia in the preceding centuries - fourteenth and fifteenth- and the other was inspiration from Christian Art. This mix of Islamic and Christian architectural influences is what makes Ottoman Empire architecture so breathtaking - because it has the best of both worlds.
In fact, for about four hundred years, the Church at Hagia Sophia served as the primary model for most of the Ottoman mosques. But traces of Byzantinian influence were seen in other places also. For example, in many cases, stone and brick have been used together. In other places it can be seen in pendentive dome construction. Both exclusively Byzantine traits.
Another source of inspiration for the Ottoman architects was Italy. The early contacts that the people of this Empire had with Italians served to mould Ottoman Empire architecture in a way. Traces of this can be clearly seen in the stylistic parallels in the outer fašade, gates, windows and even roofs. They have several features in common with Italian architecture.
Ottoman Empire architecture flourished in the vast number of "kulliyas" and mosques which were built in and around what is modern Istanbul today and the grandeur of these structures can still be seen there. Some of the notable ones are the Sehzade kulliye, Suleyman kulliye, Fatih kulliye, Selim mosque, Bayezid Mosque etc.
The great Ottoman Empire architect - Sinan, built the Selim Mosque which is situated in Edime. This was his crowning glory. Among his other achievements were the Suleyman kulliye and the Sehzade kulliye. What is unique about these buildings is that they are extremely well planned. There are no extra frills - only what is needed is there.
Ottoman Empire architecture was simple in design but at the same time, quite breathtaking to behold. This probably has to do with the fact that the notable architects of this Empire were first trained to be military engineers. The focal point of each of these buildings is an extremely large, central dome. A series of descending half domes, buttresses, vaults dot the exterior of the building.
Apart from mosques and kulliyas, Ottoman Empire architecture prominently features many secular buildings like the large palace complex at Topkapi Saray; it really is worth a trip to Istanbul to see them.