Turkey, the Seljuk and Ottoman heritage
113 images Created 9 Feb 2017
Turkey's new interest in its Ottoman roots stems from a change in national outlook. When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Turkish Republic in 1923, the country's identity rested on rejecting its Ottoman heritage, but when the Islam-inspired Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002, a new approach for all things Ottoman helped to reawaken the country to its past. Central Anatolia is the Turkish heartland, a landscape of highlands where risen dozen of civilisations, with old caravanserais that testify to a long history of legendary trade roads between Asia and Europe. During the Sultanate of Rum, Seljuk architects undertook extensive public buildings characterised by elaborate stone carvings, mosques, medreses, and türbes. To safeguard their trade in silks and spices and provide rest for merchants, the Seljuk built hundreds of caravansarays along Anatolian roads, each spaced a day's ride away from the next. These rest stops featured mosques, storage rooms, stables, coffeehouses, hamams, private rooms, and dormitories. The Seljuk's enhanced their mosques with glazed earthenware (faience) used to cover walls and minarets. Sivas, an important center of trade and site, periodically served as the capital of the Seljuk empire and still contains many examples of 13th-century Seljuk architecture. The booming town of Konya, preserving a beautiful Seljuk heritage of mosques and, madrasas, Islamic seminaries, reached the height of its wealth and influence as of the second half of the 12th century when Anatolian Seljuk sultans established their rule over eastern Anatolia. Today more than 1.5 million people come here every year to visit the Mevlana Museum and the tomb of the great mystic philosopher Mevlana. Around Ankara, a necklace of historical towns still has an Ottoman flavour, like Safranbolu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its preserved traditional Ottoman architecture. Situated between the Black Sea and inner Anatolia, Amasya produced kings, artists, scientists, poets, and thinkers, from the kings of Pontus, through Strabo, the famous geographer, to many generations of the Ottoman imperial dynasty. In 1075 Amasya was conquered by the Turkmen Danishmend emirs and became their capital. Schools, mosques, tombs, and other architecture of this period still survive. Amasya became a centre of learning after being incorporated into the Ottoman Empire because the Ottoman rulers' children often became Amasya's governors. Here, every nation of the Empire was represented, so they may learn to rule the different peoples. Still, today above the town are the tombs of the kings of Pontus, and Amasya has preserved many examples of traditional Turkish architecture.