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The culture of the Ottoman Empire evolved over several centuries as the ruling administration of the Turks absorbed, adapted and modified the cultures of conquered lands and their peoples. There was a strong influence from the customs and languages of Islamic societies, notably Arabic, while Persian culture had a significant contribution through the heavily Persianized regime of the Seljuq Turks, the Ottomans' predecessors. Throughout its history, the Ottoman Empire had substantial subject populations of Byzantine Greeks, Armenians, Jews and Assyrians, who were allowed a certain amount of autonomy under the confessional millet system of Ottoman government, and whose distinctive cultures enriched that of the Ottoman state.
Calligraphy had a prestigious status under the Ottomans, its traditions having been shaped by the work of Abbasid calligrapher Yaqut al-Mustasimi of Baghdad, whose influence had spread across the Islamic world, al-Mustasimi himself possibly being of Anatolian origin.
The Diwani script is a cursive and distinctively Ottoman style of Arabic calligraphy developed in the 16th and early 17th centuries. It was invented by Housam Roumi, reaching its greatest development under Süleyman I the Magnificent (1520–66). The highly-decorative script was distinguished by its complexity of line and by the close juxtaposition of the letters within words. Other forms included the flowing, rounded Nashki script, invented by the 10th-century Abbasid calligrapher Ali Muhammad ibn Muqlah, and Ta'liq, based on the Persian Nastalīq style.
Ottoman art flourished from the early 15th Century through the 18th Century. During this period artisans specializing in jewelry, rug making, textile production, weapons, armor and callligraphy competed to have their creations adorn the halls of Ottoman sultans.
The Ottoman's greatest contribution of art however, continues to influence and stands as a symbol of their culture even to this day. Ottoman architecture, particularly its mosques and prayer halls became an integral part of Ottoman worship, beautified by the construction of large domes, enormous windows, marinets, and the special placement of large open areas for prayer.
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