Monumental domes formed a crucial element of mosque architecture long before Ottoman architects took up the incentive from Byzantine churches in Constantinople. This well-established knowledge refers to the dome halls of Saljuq Iran, which originated in the late 11th century. The monumental dome chambers of Isfahan, Gulpaygan, Ardistan etc. mark a significant innovation in the architecture of mosques that requires explanations. This paper looks at mosques in Iran under the Saljuqs and in Anatolia under contemporary and later dynasties, and discusses them in terms of a ‘building type’. From architectural features in conjunction with information on the patronage of these buildings, some conclusions can be drawn on the set of meanings that was attached to the dome chambers.
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