Historic Guild Town of Mudurnu

摘要: Description  The settlement of Mudurnu was founded along a deep, narrow valley formed by the Mudurnu (Gallos) River, in a region rich with pine forests and thermal springs. The ancient geographer Stra


  The settlement of Mudurnu was founded along a deep, narrow valley formed by the Mudurnu (Gallos) River, in a region rich with pine forests and thermal springs. The ancient geographer Strabon informs that the town of Modrene (Mudurnu) was located on the major trade routes of Anatolia. The Silk Road, which connected inner Asia with Tabriz in the 13th-14th  centuries, continued to Bursa via Erzurum-Sivas, and passing through Mudurnu-Göynük-Taraklı-Geyve,  finally reached Constantinople.  Another major trade route of the time, the Crimean Road, connected Damascus and Mediterranean port cities with Bursa, proceeding to Constantinople and the Black Sea through Mudurnu-Bolu-Kastamonu-Cide.  Situated at the junction of these roads, Mudurnu served as an important military base and mid-size trading town in the Byzantine, Seljukid and Ottoman periods. 

  Mudurnu has played a distinct role in three ‘periods of establishment’ that were milestones in the development of the Turkish states in Anatolia. The ‘First Period of Establishment’ is the beginning of the Turkification of Anatolia. Following in  the footsteps of the Seljuks, the first Ottoman incursions to Mudurnu were made by Osman I. The town fully became Ottoman territory under Osman’s son Orhan in 1307, hence becoming a city of the Ottoman heartland. During Orhan’s reign, the foundations of the first regular Ottoman army and treasury systems were laid by Halil Hayrettin Paşa (Çandarlı), who was raised in the Ahi lodges of Mudurnu and taken by Orhan to the Court from the Madrassah of Sheikh Fahreddin-i Rumi. Halil later became the first Ottoman Grand Vizier, his Çandarlı lineage (1330-1450) helping to establish the Ottoman administrative and political system. Mudurnu and Göynük served as Early Ottoman centers for the education of crown princes. The ‘Second Period of Establishment’ was the Ottoman Interregnum (1402-1413), when the region of Mudurnu was a refuge for crown princes who fled Timur’s armies. Of these, Çelebi Mehmed set up his camp on the highlands of Mudurnu-Seben  and oversaw the establishment of the second Ottoman Reign. The ‘Third Period of Establishment’ was the Turkish War of Independence (1919-22), leading to the establishment of the Turkish Republic. During the conflicts between the Sultan and the Atatürk’s new Ankara government, the most turbulent rebellions against the National Resistance were suppressed around Mudurnu. Since  then, the community of Mudurnu has been among foremost supporters of Turkey’s Republican ideals.

  A fundamental element from the outset of Mudurnu’s development as a Turkish settlement has been the Ahi Order (Akhism), a merchants’ solidarity organization and a guild system based on a philosopy of tolerance and fair distribution of wealth. The Ahi Order was established in the early 13th  century by Ahi Evran in order to integrate Turkish manners and customs with the Muslim faith, to create employment opportunities for merchants and craftsmen that migrated from Asia to Anatolia and to make them capable of  competing  with  their  Byzantine  counterparts;  to  maintain  quality  standards  for  their  goods  and products; to regulate the production according to needs; to infuse craftsmen with morality; to provide economic independence to Turkish people and to support those in need. The ethical values and organizational structure of the Ahi Order lie at the heart of contemporary tradesmen and craftsmen organizations.  A derivative  of the Arabic for ‘brother’, ‘Ahi’ means generous  and hospitable.  The Ahi Order combines material qualities like ‘skillfulness, productivity and professionalism’ with moral qualities like ‘maturity, selflessness and truthfulness’, educating people along these principles through a master- apprentice relationship. Beside commercial and social life, the Ahi Order has reflections in folklore, as Ahi practices like ‘throwing one’s shoe over the roof’ are idiomatic expressions today.

  The earliest trace of the Ahi Order in Mudurnu is the mention, both in the Book of Aşık Paşazade and the Book of Neşri, of Sultan Orhan looking for the ‘Beştaş Ahi Lodge’, a ‘border zawiya’ left from Seljukid times.  The famed  14c. traveller  Ibn-i Battuta,  who travelled  around Anatolia  in Sultan Orhan’s  time, describes Mudurnu as a “town inhabited entirely by Muslim-Turkish people and full of Ahi zawiyas and lodges” and praises the hospitality of the locals. In the Early and Mid- Ottoman eras, Mudurnu emerges as an important centre of merchant-artisanship  and trade based on the Ahi system, and its location on major trade routes. The wealth accumulated by the commercial production of the Ahi guilds was channelled into urban development, producing sophisticated commercial, religious and residential architecture. Many mansions, waqfs, khans and caravanserais were built to meet the needs of campaigning Ottoman armies, trading caravans, postal organizations and diplomatic couriers who used Mudurnu as a staging post and place of accommodation until the mid-19th century. One of the ‘poultry-providing counties’, Mudurnu had local products including butter, cheese, barley and pears directly sent for consumption in the Royal kitchen. Due to these close ties to the Ottoman Court, Mudurnu was nicknamed ‘Little  İstanbul’. Particularly mentioned in written sources are the sought-after mirrors produced in the Mudurnu Mirror-makers Market, the ‘maiden needles’ produced by the needle workshops, the products of the Mudurnu Textile-Silk Factory, the hand embroideries, ironware, copperware, saddles, knives and goat hair products of Mudurnu. The Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi, who visited Mudurnu in 1650, describes the town as having “3000 houses, 17 neighbourhoods, Yıldırım Mosque and Madrassah, 1 quranic madrassah, 13 children’s schools, 3 khans and hammams and 1100 needle workshops. Needles and wooden pitchers made in Mudurnu are sent to the “Lands of Rum and to India”. The mid-17c. Ottoman scholar Katip Çelebi describes  Mudurnu as “a kadiluk (judicial official’s jurisdiction) [with] 11 neighbourhoods, 2 hammams and 3 mosques. Beside Yıldırım Bayezıd, Sultan Suleiman and Asilbey Mosques, there is a Yıldırım Madrassah and Dibek Khan built by Rüstem Pasha. Most of its populace deals with needlemaking. There is a citadel on top of the eastern hill, surrounded by walls on three sides.”

  The historical urban landscape of Mudurnu today presents a quiet but striking ensemble of monumental and civic architecture  set  on a rocky river  valley.  The  distinct  characteristics  of traditional  Mudurnu houses, similar to other Western Black Sea towns, include wood as predominant  building material, a serene rhythm of windows, protruding upper level windows, angled corbelling adjusted to the streets and topography, hipped roofs, triangular pediments and wood-carved decorations on building facades. Some prominent examples are the Armutçular, Haytalar and Keyvanlar Mansions. As for prominent monuments, three ‘Sultan mosques’ were built in the 14th-16th  centuries. in Mudurnu. Only foundations remain from the Imaret Mosque built by Sultan Orhan, but Yıldırım Bayezıd Mosque, significant in terms of Early Ottoman architecture, and Sultan Suleiman (the Magnificent) Mosque, built in the Classical Ottoman period, are still in use today. Bayezıd I, who had his crown prince education in Mudurnu, had his namesake mosque, hammam (1382) and madrassah built to become impressive buildings of their time. Other monuments include the Byzantine Citadel; approximately 30 saint tombs and graves which include those of Fahreddin-i Rumi and Şeyh-ül İmran; and the Clock Tower (1890). The historical Bazaar (Arasta) located in the city centre is formed by four parallel main streets and smaller perpendicular streets in grid layout. The shops lined along the streets, built for the crafts of making needles, knives, copperware, ironware and the like, exhibit Late Ottoman technical and stylistic properties; the late-19th/early-20th-century steel-beamed, double-storeyed shops represent important examples of their period. The most important intact feature of the shops is the mobile shutters, which open up to form canopies and down to form exhibit counters. As a whole, Mudurnu has preserved its typical Ottoman town character to a great degree.

Mudurnu’s wide range of intangible heritage values include the Ahi legacy, social gatherings (‘birikme’ and henna nights), holidays organized by the bazaar merchants, celebrations in honor of the saints Şeyh-ül İmran and  Karaaslan, handmade embroideries, local  cuisine, legends, dialects, folksongs, dances  and village  games. Foremos among these is the centuries-old  Ahi culture  still kept alive in Mudurnu. One of the many traditional practices within the Ahi culture is the Merchants’ Prayer or Prayer of Abundance (Esnaf Duası), performed before the main Friday prayer. Estimated to be dating back 700 years, the Merchants’ Prayer entails all of the town’s merchants coming out of their shops and standing in long lines to pray. After the weekly prayer, bread prepared to honor the dead is offered. The Prayer is performed both in the Middle Market and the Ironsmiths’ Market (two of the Arasta’s main streets). In the Middle Market, merchants who practice their craft sitting stand up to pray, while those who practice their craft standing  up sit down  to pray, a gesture  of respect  the craftsmen  show for each other. Young craftsmen trained in the apprentice-master tradition go through the rite of passage through the ‘Belt Wrapping’  (‘Şed  Kuşanma’)  ceremony.  In the  2009  ‘Ahi  Baba’  contest  organized  by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 83-year-old ironsmith Mehmet Şankaya from Mudurnu  was selected the Ahi of Turkey. The Ahi culture has a deep-rooted  place within the social traditions of Mudurnu. The ‘Ahi Culture Week’ is celebrated across the country every year. For the first time in 1994, Mudurnu was included in the program of events as the first district (on a lower tier than a province) in Turkey. Although having lost its historical strength, the pre-industrial artisanal production and the specialized commercial street of the Classical Ottoman period still survive in Mudurnu. Among the three main commercial  streets, Ankara Avenue has shoemakers and Belediye Avenue (Ironsmiths’ Market) has ironsmiths and tinmakers in the majority of shops. The merchants of the Arasta, with their various occupations, are members of the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen, the present-day heir of the Ahi Order.

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