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SEYDİŞEHİR

City of Seyyıd Harun                            Population: 40,000

seyredi1Market day: Thursday

First impressions of this small city to the south-east of Beyşehir in the Turkish Lake District are not particularly promising as you sweep into town past the giant aluminium smelter that provides much of the local employment.

Once you reach the town centre, however, you'll feel your spirits lifting as you stumble upon the ramshackle bazaar streets that lead down to the Seyyıd Harun Veli Cami and the tombs and hamam associated with it, all of them backed against soaring mountains in a delightfully quiet and secluded corner. 

Around town

Get out at the roundabout in front of the Kaymakamlık (government offices) where a second, less important mosque makes an attractive feature.

Head downhill in front of this mosque and turn right into the bazaar. Then keep walking straight ahead for the Seyyıd Harun Veli Cami. The loss of the kitabe (dedication stone) means that the precise date of this mosque is uncertain but a written source suggests that the work should be dated to between 1302 and 1320, making it only a little newer than the magnificent mosque at Beyşehir. 

The design of the mosque is unusual inasmuch as it resembles a basilican church with two lines of columns dividing a "nave" from the "aisles" and leading the eye straight to the decorative wooden mihrab. It's the most church-like mosque I've seen in Turkey that wasn't actually converted from a church. seyredi2

The entrance to the mosque is virtually obscured by a cluster of tombs, one of them that of Seyyid Harun Veli himself.

If you look at the stonework in the walls near the tombs you will see extensive pieces of reused Roman masonry embedded in it.

seyredi3As you walk down towards the mosque you will pass its hamam beside a small park. Even before that you may stumble upon the extraordinary shrine to Hacı Abdullah Efendi, stuffed full of tombs, calligraphic plaques and other folk-art bits and pieces.

If you wander around the back streets behind the mosque you will come across many fine, if batttered, old houses with the jutting cumbas (bay windows) that were such a feature of homes in this area.

Sleeping

Although there are a couple of small hotels in town you will probably want to visit on a day trip from Beyşehir.

Transport info

There are regular minibuses from Beyşehir to Seydişehir. They do a circuit of the town centre before leaving Beyşehir but it's easier to pick them up at the otogar. 

On the way back from Seydisehir you can pick them up again in the town centre, either near the big roundabout in front of the Kaymakamlık or further south near a batch of ticket offices. seyredi4

 

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