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SEYİTGAZİ

Burialplace of Battal Gazi                                 Population: 3,500

SeyitgaziOld name: Nacolea (Roman)

Southeast of Eskişehir, Seyitgazi is completely dominated by the hilltop shrine of Battal Gazi, an early medieval hero who fought for the Arabs against the Byzantines and died c.740.

Legend tells how Elenora, a Byzantine princess from nearby Akroneos (Afyon), fell in love with him; predictably, on hearing of his death she killed herself whereupon they were buried together which might explain why his tomb is so unnaturally long (eight metres).

In the 13th century the Selçuk sultan Alaadin Keykubad I's mother, Ümmühan Hatun, rediscovered their tomb in what was then a Greek monastery which was converted into an Islamic shrine.

Later in the 14th century Hacı Bektaş Veli established a dervish tekke (lodge) here which was soon attracting worshippers.

Between 1512 and 1517 Sultan Selim II renovated the complex into more or less the form it takes today. The tekke was still flourishing in the 17th century but 19th-century travellers reported the complex in disarray and the dervishes down to a mere handful although pilgrims continued to come here. 

Today the entire walled complex has been completely restored. It still retains many of the ancillary buildings of a mosque complex including a many-chimneyed aşevi (cookhouse), a semahane (dancefloor for dervishes) and a medrese (seminary) even though the colourful atmosphere of the days of the dervishes and pilgrims is no more. 

The shrine aside, Seyitgazi is the best hopping off point for visits to Midas Şehri and the northern parts of the Frig Vadisi.

Transport info

There are regular buses to Seyitgazi from Eskişehir (43km).

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