Selçuk (and Ottoman) monuments in Erzurum (again) and Sivas

I have written about Erzurum a number of times before on this blog so I’ll try to keep it short. Sivas, however, we visited for the first time!

Over the years I’ve watched Erzurum lose its edgy soul in the name of urban renewal/clean up/gentrification. The process seems fairly complete at this point. This area to the south of the fortress (kale):

IMG_20230722_194820 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230723_112854 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230723_113539 by bryandkeith on flickr

was full of twisty streets and old houses when I first visited over ten years ago.

Çifte Minareli Medrese, Erzurum’s most famous landmark, no longer has scaffolding, and it’s been turned into a decent museum.

IMG_20230722_195348 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230723_120614 by bryandkeith on flickr

The museum’s highlight is this carved wooden column from the Ottoman period.

IMG_20230723_120048 by bryandkeith on flickr

I’ve always enjoyed Erzurum’s many kümbet. It was only this time after seeing the Armenian churches in Kars and the Georgian churches in Artvin just before coming to Erzurum that I realized how similar these conical tops are.

Erzurum’s kümbet:

IMG_20230723_103911 by bryandkeith on flickr
Yakutiye Medresei
IMG_20230723_123913 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230723_124057 by bryandkeith on flickr
Üç Kümbetler

Holy Apostles Armenian Church in Kars:

IMG_20230712_182650 by bryandkeith on flickr

Dolishane Georgian Church in Hamamlı (Artvin):

IMG_20230717_143547 by bryandkeith on flickr

Kvetera Georgian Church in Kakheti (10th century, way before the Ottomans):

DSCN0360 by bryandkeith on flickr

Makes you wonder — did the Ottomans copy the Georgians and/or Armenians? And Armenian stonemasons did the work?

I also always enjoy Erzurum’s 14th century Selçuk (?) Yakutiye Medresesi.

IMG_20230723_105530 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230723_104136 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230723_104517 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230723_103636 by bryandkeith on flickr

Sitting all by itself now that everything nearby has been torn down is Hakem abi’s childhood home.

IMG_20230723_132710 by bryandkeith on flickr

He is trying to preserve the house as a museum, an example of a house style that rarely still exists in Erzurum.

IMG_20230723_124322 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230723_125049 by bryandkeith on flickr

The highlight is this ceiling:

IMG_20230723_125616 by bryandkeith on flickr

On the traditional theme Ferda found Hünerli Eller, a restaurant serving traditional dishes. We tried gıliko, a pasta-like bulgur, wheat, and egg dish. I liked it.

Gıliko.  It's kind of a pasta made from bulgur, wheat, and egg.  I thought it was quite tasty. by bryandkeith on flickr

Oops, I was trying to not write much about Erzurum. Sorry about that. Let’s go to Sivas, a 6.5 hour bus ride west from Erzurum.

If you want Selçuk treasures, well, Sivas is the place to be. Buruciye Medresesi, Çifte Minareli Medrese, Şifaiye Medresesi, Gök Medrese are all here and worth seeing. Some people would say that Gök Medrese is way over-restored.

nice view of Gök Medrese from Sivas Kalesi by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230726_143216 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230725_104129 by bryandkeith on flickr

But, dang, that’s an impressive door.

IMG_20230726_143339 by bryandkeith on flickr

There’s a bit to see inside as well.

IMG_20230725_101854 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230725_093438 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20230725_100904 by bryandkeith on flickr

The medrese is now used as a museum. The highlight is this 16th tiled globe from İznik, commissioned for the Ulu Camii in Divriği.

iznik 16th century tiled globe (çini küre), made for the Ulu Camii in Divriği by bryandkeith on flickr

The portal to the Buruciye Medresesi is also impressive. There was, apparently, a fair bit of restoration work in the 1960s.

IMG_20230725_143858 by bryandkeith on flickr

Çifte Minareli Medrese is also Selçuk. The only thing remaining is the façade, seen from the inside:

IMG_20230725_143518 by bryandkeith on flickr

and the outside:

IMG_20230725_111111 by bryandkeith on flickr

Just across the narrow street is the Şifaiye Medresesi, also Selçuk. It’s now used as a shopping center. Someone told me to visit the tomb inside, but it was locked up.

IMG_20230725_111932 by bryandkeith on flickr

Instead we bought a carpet from this shop:

IMG_20230725_150934 by bryandkeith on flickr

Sadly I cannot talk about Sivas without talking about massacres for this is where 37 Alevis were massacred in 1993 (only 30 years ago!). On our first evening in the city Ferda and I tried to visit the old Madımak Otel, where the massacre took place.

This is the old Madımak Hotel where the 1993 Sivas massacre took place. by bryandkeith on flickr

However, there’s no plaque outside — nothing. The following day we went inside and saw the small memorial. Sadly there is no information about what happened that day.

the memorial for the victims of the 1993 Sivas massacre; there is no information about the incident by bryandkeith on flickr

Ferda found us some interesting food in Sivas including pöç tandır which I had never heard of before and rather liked.

pöç tandır, I'm pretty sure this was by bryandkeith on flickr

On our last day in the city before getting an overnight bus to Antalya, Ferda took me to a Çerkes (Circassian) restaurant where I tried gılnış for the first time.

gılnış at a çerkes restaurant by bryandkeith on flickr

We enjoyed talking with the Circassian couple who run the restaurant and the three Circassians who were eating at the table next to us. But why are there so many Circassians here? Well, they fled to Turkey to escape the 19th century Circassian massacre/genocide by the Russians.

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One Response to Selçuk (and Ottoman) monuments in Erzurum (again) and Sivas

  1. Mike Painter says:

    Always interesting things to share. Thanks!

    And Happy Thanksgiving!

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