Seljuk Architecture and Urbanism in Anatolia
By Ali Uzay Peker
European Architectural History Network Newsletter, No. 1 (2008)
Introduction: This essay provides a guide to the most important Seljuk sites in the city of Konya and offers an overview of Seljuk history and of Seljuk cities in Anatolia. Seljuk is a general name given to the Turcoman groups settled in Anatolia at the end of the eleventh century. The house of Seljuk originated north of the Caspian and Aral Seas in the Oghuz confederacy. In the tenth century the Seljuks migrated from their ancestral homelands into mainland Persia, where they founded the Iran Seljuk Sultanate or Great Seljuk Empire. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, Seljuks gradually migrated to western Asia and took control of the cities of eastern and central Anatolia where Seljuk chieftains and army commanders established city-states. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the early Seljuks were not illiterate nomads, but pursued a sedentary life before their migration to Iran and Anatolia. As Richard N. Frye points out, “Turks were town and village dwellers, except in regions where natural conditions imposed a nomadic life on them.” The members of the Seljuk family accepted Islam in the last decades of the tenth century near the city of Jand. Their subsequent progress towards the west attested to their will and ambition to make their mark among the Middle Eastern nations.