Tomb of Ahi Evran
The property located in the city centre of Kırşehir is about 400 meters away from Cacabey Madrasa and 200 meters away from Kale Höyük (Kale Mound) which is the historical centre of the city for 5000 years.
Ahi Evran, regarded as the sage of tanners and leader of 32 craft and trade types, is a Turkish philosopher who founded “Ahi-order”. He was born in the district of Hoy in Azerbaijan, which is left within the boundaries of Iran today. Exact date of his birth is not known, but it can be deduced from the fact that he lived for 93 years and died in 1261 that he was born in 1171. After he was educated in Azerbaijan, Khorasan and Bagdat, he moved to Kayseri in Anatolia in 1205 and established Ahi-order there and provided its organization through many cities in Anatolia. He lived in Konya and Denizli for a while and settled in Kırşehir until his death in 1261.
Ahi means “brother” in Arabic language while Ahi-order is the name of the organization that gathers craft and merchant masters in the territory from Anatolia to Central Asia under a single roof and supports them in any kind. It is closely related to “brotherhood” and a combination of “artisanship, trade and profession” with “maturity, morality and truth”. The person called “Ahi” is definitely an artisan man, a merchant or a profession owner, besides he is mature, well-behaved, charitable as well as honest and confidential in his works and behaves. The first step in the way for being “Ahi” is the assistantship followed by apprenticeship, semiskilled rating and finally mastership. Shift from one step to another takes generally 1000 days (nearly three years). Main elements of Islam faith can be seen in the organizational structure of Ahi-order, yet the system was kneaded with beliefs and thoughts of Muslims. It was soon accepted and easily spread in Islam world. Disorganization of the order started from the end of the 16th century due to the problem of finding raw material and consumer of their products as a result of invasion of industrial products of Western countries to Anatolian markets. The order went through in these circumstances until 1861 and then a regulation came into force annihilating monopoly in trade and artisanship. The guilds were totally left off by an act in 1912 and the works and activities of the Ahi hermitages totally came to an end following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. However, in order to keep its meaning and values alive, “Ahilik and Craftsmen and Merchants Festival” is celebrated in the third week of September every year centrally in Kırşehir but throughout the country, under the organizational and institutional cover of the Ministry of Customs and Trade and with the participation of President, Prime Minister and Ministers.
Following the death of a social or a religious leader, at the exact point or near the burial area are built graveyards, mescits, mosques and hermitages in time. It is understood that subsequent to the burial of Ahi Evran, the graveyard where his followers were buried were established around. In his researches in Kırşehir during 1960s, Semavi Eyice, an art historian researcher, detected and published the human shaped grave stone of Halil, son of Osman, dated 1310. Researcher Mehmet Onder mentions about a lion shaped gravestone in the tomb. In another research, it is noted that a grave stone with composition from early period were found within the tomb and now stands in Museum of Kırşehir. Unfortunately, graveyard of Ahi Evran is completely disappeared in present day.
It is true to say that the tomb of Ahi Evran and the thirteen graves date back to 13th century, however the hermitage were built in 1482 on the memory of Ahi Evran. The nominated property is among the T planned hermitages. It is directly moved to sofa section when entered from the west gate. It is situated mescit on the right and the tomb on the left. The grave was transferred to current place afterwards. Following the low arched door, one can pass to another sofa section in the middle. Grave on the left of this sofa section, a cabin on its right and the graves of the followers of Ahi Evran in the opposite are placed.