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Faith And Stone In Adana
THE LANDS OF ADANA AND CILICIA OFFER CULTURAL TREASURES AS RICH AS THEIR CUISINE AND NATURAL BEAUTY.
There is no doubt that religions are a major contributor to any cultural legacy. As one of the leading centers of the Middle East, where has been cradle for many faiths, the Adana area is also home to some of its most monumental temples. Fed by the Seyhan and Ceyhan Rivers of the Taurus Mountains, Çukurova is one of mother earth’s most fertile children, and Adana, with its coast on the Eastern Mediterranean, a center of civilizations. With its religious venues, Adana also offers a strong potential for faith tourism.
This building, which dates to the Byzantine period, is a typical example of rural churches in the Middle Ages. Worn down by the depredations of time, only its ruins remain today.
Officially known as the Church of St. Paul, this church is called the Bebekli or ‘Baby’ Church owing to a bronze sculpture of the Virgin Mary on its roof, which has been likened to a baby. Built in the 19th century, it keeps alive the memory of Saint Paul of Tarsus who lived in Cilicia. An Italian Catholic church by denomination, it is at the same time a symbol of the vast richness of religious belief in Adana.
An example of old Turkish architecture in Adana, this small mosque (mesjid) is named for its builder, Ağca Bey. Little is known about Ağca Bey, who is thought to have been one of the area’s leading Turkmen beys. The mesjid, in the quarter known as Ulu Cami Mahallesi for the Great Mosque located there, was built on a rectangular plan using large cut stones and is a small but elegant example of Seljuk stone workmanship.
One of Adana’s oldest mosques, the Yağ Camii, or Oil Mosque, was built in the period of the Ramazanoğulları Beylicate, which had a major impact on the city’s history. Originally the Church of St. Jacques, the building was converted into a mosque by Ramazanoğlu Halil Bey in the early 16th century. The madrasa complex was added by Piri Paşa during the Ottoman period when the mosque underwent a series of repairs. Distinguished by the ‘muqarnas’ plaster work on its courtyard gate, the Yağ Camii exhibits four row of columns on the interior. Its architecture and importance captured the interest of the famous traveler Evliya Çelebi, in whose ‘Travel Book’ it is remembered as the Eski Cami, or Old Mosque.
Dating to the 16th century, this mosque, literally the ‘Little Mosque’, was completely destroyed during Turkey’s War of Liberation. Rebuilt thanks to the efforts of the local people, it was opened for worship and is among Kozan’s oldest mosques.
Known in the historical sources as Sis, Kozan was one of the leading towns of the Middle Ages. It is possible to see the vestiges of scores of churches and early period Turkish Islamic mosques in this town, which prospered thanks to its proximity to the trade routes.
THE GREAT MOSQUE OF ADANA
The largest of Adana’s historic places of worship, the Great Mosque of Adana dates to the period of the Ramazanid beylicate. The serpent reliefs on the dome over the Seljuk-style gate on the western side are quite striking. Exhibiting Mamluk and Ottoman influence beyond that of the Seljuks, the tiles and stone workmanship of this mosque are very beautiful.
Aka Sis Monastery, this building at Kozan was one of the region’s leading centers of Christianity between the 13th and the early 20th century. Believed to be the source of a number of legends and rituals in the area and rumored to boast over three hundred chambers, the monastery today consists only of its outer walls.
Hoşkadem Mosque is a fine example of Mamluk architecture, few examples of which are found in Anatolia but which enhanced the region’s architectural richness. It was built in the 15th century by the Emir Abdullah Hoşkadem, one of the administrators in Anatolia of the Egypt-centered Mamluk State. Thanks to a series of repairs over time, it has managed to survive to our day. Like most of the early period Anatolian mosques, Hoşkadem is also built on a rectangular plan.
SABANCI CENTRAL MOSQUE
Adana is among the places in Anatolia first reached by Islam. One of the main points of passage for the Syria-based Arab armies, Adana and its mosques have a past going back very far. And Sabancı Central Mosque, completed and opened for worship in 1998, is of a splendor befitting the city today. Capable of accommodating some 28,000 worshipers in its interior and exterior spaces, it is an outstanding example of classical Ottoman architecture built in our day, illustrating the fine points of the Islamic religion in the number of its minarets, windows, domes and semi-domes.
This building is one of a relative few among the scores of church ruins large and small that have managed to resist time at Kozan, also known down the ages as Sis. Twenty minutes by car from Kozan center, it is also known among the locals as the ‘Kırkkapı’ or ‘Forty-Door’. Church.
SABANCI CENTRAL MOSQUE BY NUMBERS
4 semi-domes: 4 schools of Islam.
5 full domes: 5 pillars of Islam.
6 minarets: 6 conditions of the Islamic faith.
32-meter diameter central dome: 32 religious duties required of all Muslims.
28-courtyard dome: names of the 22 prophets mentioned in the Quran.
40 windows in the central dome: age when Muhammad became the Prophet of Islam.
99-meter-high four minarets: 99 names of Allah.