The Sultan Murad Mosque is an Ottoman-era mosque in Skopje. It was built in 1436 with money donated by Sultan Murad himself. It was burnt down and heavily damaged a number of times during its existence, events and changes to which the three inscriptions above the entrance refer. The first time was the fire of 1537, after which it was reconstructed by Sultan Suleyman in 1539. The second time, it was burnt down by the Austrian armies led by their military leader Piccolomini, who set the whole city on fire. It was renewed after twenty three years in 1711 by decree of Ahmed III. The mosque underwent repair work for the last time in 1912, decreed by Mehmed V.
In terms of its architectural features, as one of the largest mosques in Skopje, it belongs among the most significant specimens of Ottoman building in the Balkans. It has a basilica architectural form and is covered with a four-ridged roof. This is similar to the Early Constantinople style in Ottoman architecture. The interior is partitioned into three naves with rows of three columns, while the ceiling is made of a flat wooden coffered ceiling. The mihrab, minber and mahvil date from the 1910s.
The Türbe of Ali Pasha of Dagestan stands next to the east facade of the Sultan Murad Mosque. It houses two stone sarcophagi, the burial site of Ali Pasha’s wife and daughter. The Türbe of Bikiy Han stands on the south side of the mosque. In the interior, there are five tombs without inscriptions. With its grand monument, the Türbe of Bikiy Han is the largest among this type of edifices which survive in North Macedonia. There is a necropolis in the area surrounding the two türbe, with several grave markers.
Sultan Murad Mosque stands on a plateau next to the clock tower. The main architect of the mosque was Husein from Debar. The mosque has remained mostly undamaged through the fires and earthquakes Skopje has sustained.
The Sultan Murad Mosque is rectangular in shape, with a porch including four columns with decorated caplets, connected by arcades.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).