Fouilltes de Sagalassos

Beyşehir and its wooden mosque, lake and many treasures

on 05/03/2013


      In the heart of Central Anatolia, between the city of Konya which attracts millions of followers of Mevlana, and the Isparta known for its rosewater,there is a less renowned city in tourist guides, Beyşehir.

Why it is a poor cousin of the region? While the town houses without doubt the most beautiful wooden mosque in Turkey that has been erected near the mesmerizing lake of the same name of the town, we do not know why.

Following various studies on the vessels of the lake, it was possible to identify traces of human occupation dating back to the Late Bronze Age and the history of the city dates back to 6000 BC.

The city hosted different civilizations, whether Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians and Persians or the Romans that followed. The city that was earlier called Karalia.

It was Alaeddin Keykubad the First prevailing on the Sultanate of Rum in the Seljuk period that created the current Beyşehir before it was found in 1285 and 1326, managed by Eşref, a Turkish Emir and his family.

It was during this period that the great mosque Esrefoglu was built and is still visible today, and it is one of the jewels of the town. Its particularity, but not least, is to be all wood inside. Some beams that lie in the heart of the prayer hall are enriched with motifs that painted a snow reservation.

Not so far away is the old Koranic school Ismail Agha, the name of the Emir who was making its first renovation, which also dates from the Seljuk period. Used until 1912, it is also known under the name “Taş Medrese” (Early Ottoman stone) because of stones of different sizes that constitute it.

Facing the mosque Esrefoglu the former covered market also called “Bezzazlar Hani”, dates from 1299. Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent restored it once during the sixteenth century.

Behind the market, a Turkish bath from the late thirteenth century, which has the same name as the mosque, was restored just a few years ago.

In this same area, thirty houses were acknowleged by the “Commission for the Conservation of Natural and Cultural Remnants” of Turkey.

The Beyşehir Stone Bridge is another iconic image of the city. It was built in the early twentieth century on the occasion of the establishment of the railway line between Baghdad and Anatolia, it was also the first dam of the Ottoman Empire.

On the other side of the road, the magnificent view is emerging on the beautiful lake, and continues to the peaks of the Taurus Mountains. It is truly a magnificent sight to behold.

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