View of Beysehir from the lake, the Eşrefoğlu Mosque is on the right with the minaret.
|Architectural style||Islamic, Seljuk architecture|
During the last years of Seljuks of Rum, various governors of Seljuks enjoyed a partial independency. They established their own semi independent principalities named Anatolian Beyliks. Eshrefids was a small beylik in center west Anatolia. After 1288, Süleyman Bey, the second bey of Eshrefids rebuilt the city of Beyşehir as a capital of his beylik. Although his beylik was relatively an unimportant political power, the city flourished as one of the cultural centers of Seljuk world. In 1296, he commissioned a mosque in Beyşehir, one of the greatest mosques during the Anatolian beylik period. In 1302 he died and buried in a sepulcher next to the mosque.
The plan of the mosque is rectangular; 31.8 by 46.55 metres (104.3 by 152.7 feet). But the corner at the north east side is enlarged to make room for the main portal. The dimensions of the portal are 7.1 by 10.1 metres (23 by 33 feet). There are two smaller gates and 35 windows. The roof is supported by 42 wooden columns. The length of each column is 7.5 metres (24.6 feet). Their diameter is 40 cm (16 in).
After seven centuries, unlike most other Seljuk wooden buildings, this mosque survives and it is used for regular services. The wooden columns are made of cedar and according to oral tradition they were soaked in the Beyşehir lake for six months before being used in the building. At the center of the mosque there is a snow pit. Up to relatively recent times (1940s), the pit was used to be filled with snow from the nearby mountains. This snow both cooled the mosque during the summers and supplied the necessary humidity to the wooden infrastructure.
Unesco World Heritage Tentative list
On 15 April 2011 the mosque was included in the list of World Heritage tentative list. The justification statements is "Esrefoglu Mosque includes all the main elements of early Anatolian Turkish architecture. The building is the biggest, best preserved wooden columned and roofed mosque in Islamic World."