Symmetrica 2017, Istanbul

Updated information about the Autumn School of Geometric Patterns in Islamic Art can be accessed through this link: Symmetrica 2017, Istanbul.



Sketch 20: A mysterious pattern from the St. George Church in Istanbul

Mirosław Majewski


It was in 2010 when I first time visited the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul. The church located in the Phanar district, facing the Golden Horn, is full of beautiful Byzantine icons and valuable historical objects. Between them is the very famous patriarchal throne that is attributed to St. John Chrysostom (398-404). At this day I have spent there about half an hour admiring beautiful icons and the very ornate interior of the church. While leaving it I saw near the entrance a mysterious box covered with a very curious pattern. I made a photograph of it and I went out to visit other Greek churches in the Phanar. I did not pay any attention to this box, as at this time I was more interested in Byzantine icons.


Fig. 1 The Patriarchal church of St. George is the fifth church in Constantinople to house the Ecumenical Patriarchate since the 15th century. Formerly a convent for Orthodox nuns, it was converted to the patriarchal offices by Patriarch Matthew II (1598-1601). Patriarch Timothy II refurbished the church in 1614, and Patriarch Jeremiah III rebuilt it after a fire in 1720). It was repaired in 1836 by Patriarch Gregory VI and restored recently under Patriarch Bartholomew.

Continue reading “Sketch 20: A mysterious pattern from the St. George Church in Istanbul”

Year 2016


This beautiful Islamic pattern was found in the Mosque of al-Salih Tala’s on the side of the 13th century minbar. The pattern uses dodecagonal geometry and symmetry group *442 (p4m). More about this and other Islamic geometric patterns in my new book on gereh.

Sketch 19: Sultan Ahmed Mosque mosaic revisited

In one of the earlier sketches I was showing construction of the mosaic in the entrance of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul. The construction presented there was using triangular grid and it was a bit tedious. In this sketch I want to go back to this mosaic and show how it can be created using regular hexagons and what consequences of such approach can be?

First let me to remind you the view of the mosaic. It contains passages of zig-zags of double lines. Between them are formed regular hexagons and regular six-pointed stars. The picture below shows the pattern.

image014 Continue reading “Sketch 19: Sultan Ahmed Mosque mosaic revisited”

Workshop Symmetrica 2015


ENGLISH: Information about Symmetrica 2015 workshop is posted on the page  Information in Polish, information about the program of the workshop is posted on the page  Program, photos from the workshop are posted on the page Galeria, Symmetrica 2015.  This workshop was conducted in Polish (sorry Erol, Jack and others), but perhaps the next one will be in English? Just remember ‘perhaps’.

POLISH: Informacja o warsztatach Symmetrica 2015 znajduje się na stronie Information in Polish, informacja o programie warsztatów jest na stronie Program, informacja o zgłoszonych wykładach i zajęciach warsztatowych jest na stronie Zgłoszone wykłady i warsztaty. Zdjęcia z warsztatów znajdziecie na stronie Galeria Warsztatów Symmetrica 2015.

Sketch 18: Ornament from the Sultan Selim tomb in Istanbul

fig_18Construction of the ornament from the minbar in Rüstem Pasha Mosque was quite time consuming. Now we will look into something that is even more time consuming and looks incredibly complicated. However, with the knowledge gathered up to now we will be able to deal with this case also.

Now, let us go to the Sultan Selim Mosque (1552) that is far away from the center of the Istanbul. This mosque, although it is located on the high hill, it is hidden between the houses and is very difficult to find. Continue reading “Sketch 18: Ornament from the Sultan Selim tomb in Istanbul”

Sketch 17: Medallion fom Rüstem Pasha mosque

fig_17The ornament on the window from Konya was quite different than all ornaments we have seen before – the unusual shape of the star as well as the incredible accuracy of the construction make it very special. In the next example we will also deal with stars but the challenge will be different. This time we will go to the Rüstem Pasha Mosque. The Rüstem Pasha Mosque (Rüstem Paşa Camii, 1560) in the Eminönü district over the Golden Horn is among the city’s architectural gems. Continue reading “Sketch 17: Medallion fom Rüstem Pasha mosque”

Sketch 16: Pattern on a window shutter from Konya

fig_016In this web site we have seen a number of different stars already. However, we have never tried to look at them from a wider perspective. Therefore, our next example will be a contemplation of a star pattern. We will examine some ways of how various complex stars were created. Let us look at a very interesting example that I found in the Museum of Turkish and Is-lamic Arts in Istanbul. The star was carved on a wooden shutter of a window. The carving is very old and beautiful. Continue reading “Sketch 16: Pattern on a window shutter from Konya”

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