Mosque restoration destroy acoustics

Mosque restoration destroy acoustics

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Mosque restoration destroy acoustics

It is claimed that the use of inappropriate materials in the restoration has destroyed the acoustics at the Süleymaniye Mosque, which was buit by Architect Sinan.

Istanbul’s world-famous Süleymaniye Mosque, one of the best-known works of the Ottoman-era architect Sinan, has lost one of its unique features due to recent restoration work. The use of inappropriate materials in the restoration has destroyed the mosque’s acoustics, daily Radikal reported yesterday. Prior to the restoration process, sound could be heard throughout the mosque without the help of a microphone, but now many loudspeakers are necessary in order to carry sound.

The mosque plans to assemble a committee of experts to prepare a report about the problem, Istanbul Deputy Provincial Mufti Abdurrahman Binbir, who is handling the Sülemaniye Mosque’s sound issues, said. The number of loudspeakers in the mosque has been increased as a temporary solution.

The mosque’s imams and muezzins tried to continue chanting the Quran without microphones, but since the restoration they could not be heard. “Sermons and prayers during Friday prayers cannot be understood. The sound is not carrying well within the mosque,” they said.

The mosque was built in 1557, at the time of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It was restored between 2007 and 2010.

“The building’s acoustics, which were a particular achievement of Sinan’s, were destroyed, because the wrong materials, including synthetic ones, were used during the restoration. Sermons and prayers cannot be heard properly in the mosque,” a report received by Radikal some time ago said.

“This problem appeared before I took the office. The problem is now almost solved. There are still problems in some parts of the mosque, I was there yesterday. Sound cannot be heard properly around the mihrab [the niche in a mosque indicating the direction of Mecca],” Fatih Mufti Emrullah Üzüm said, speaking to Radikal.

According to the mosque’s community and officials, there is a different resonance in the mosque. Mosque officials delivered a complaint about the problem to the Provincial Mufti Department, in which they emphasized problems during Friday prayers as well as during the terawih prayer in the month of Ramadan.

The report to be prepared by the committee of experts will reveal the facts, Binbir said, but the problem has been temporarily solved by increasing the number of loudspeakers.
“I believe we will be able to solve this problem quickly by working with a scientific committee,” Binbir said, speaking to Radikal.

‘The problem is with the sound system’

Officials from the construction company that completed the restoration at the Süleymaniye, Güryapı, however, deny claims that there is a problem with the buildings acoustics. “The problem is not with the acoustics but with the sound system used in the mosque,” they said.

Reports prepared by universities on behalf of Güryapı show that there is no acoustic problem, company officials said.

“[Mosque officials] did not want the sound system we had set up. Now they are use the sound system they wanted. They also wanted extra loudspeakers for every corner [of the mosque], and there are many loudspeakers. Academics have told us that this system has destroyed the mosque’s acoustics. Previously, cement bricks had been damaging the acoustics, so we removed them during the restoration,” Güryapı officials said.