Koca Mi’mâr Sinân Âğâ (Turkish: Mimar Sinan) (c. 1489/1490 – July 17, 1588 was the chief Ottoman architect (Turkish: “Mimar”) and civil engineer for sultans Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, and Murad III. He was responsible for the construction of more than three hundred major structures and other more modest projects, such as his Islamic primary schools (sibyan mektebs). His apprentices would later design the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Stari Most in Mostar and help design the Taj Mahal in the Mughal Empire.
According to contemporary biographer, Mustafa Sâi Çelebi, Sinan was born in 1489 (c. 1490 according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, 1491 according to the Dictionary of Islamic Architecture and sometime between 1494 and 1499, according to the Turkish professor and architect Reha Günay) with the name Joseph. He was born either an Armenian, Albanian or a Greek in a small town called Ağırnas near the city of Kayseri in Anatolia (as stated in an order by Sultan Selim II). One argument that lends credence to his Armenian background is a decree by Selim II dated Ramadan 7 981 (ca. Dec. 30, 1573), which grants Sinan’s request to forgive and spare his relatives from the general exile of Kayseri’s Armenian community to the island of Cyprus.