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Medieval City of Beçin

Date of Submission: 13/04/2012
Criteria: (ii)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of Turkey to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
District of Milas, Province of Muğla
Coordinates: N37 16 29.10 E27 47 21.69
Ref.: 5730
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

Beçin is located 5 km South of the Milas District, in the Muğla Province, southwest of Turkey.

The city hosted many civilizations during the Geometric, Archaic, Classical periods, and also hosted the Romans, Byzantines, Menteşeoğulları Sultanate and Ottomans. However, it was not a prominent city in ancient times or during the Byzantine period. It has become prominent in the second half of the 13th century, especially while it was the capital city of the Menteşeoğulları Sultanate which existed more than 200 years.  Menteşeoğulları dominated an area in western-Anatolia including Muğla, Balat, Milas, Beçin, Çine, Tavas and Köycegiz.

A fortress and the main settlement area in the south of this fortress constituted the Beçin City. Within the fortress can be found Kızıl Han, Kara Paşa Han and Emir Courtyard, the Orman Lodge, the New Church and the Byzantine Chapel as well as other archaeological remains. The most prominent structures in the city are the Inner Citadel, the Anonym Tombs numbered 1, 2 and 3, the Big Hamam, Zaviye, the Mültezim House, the Orhan Mosque, Hankah, Ahmet Gazi Madrasa, the Bey Mansion and the Bath, the Domed Fountain, Kızılhan, Seymenlik Zaviye, Menteşe Cemetery, Yelli Külliye and the Kara Paşa Madrasa. Most of these structures date back to the 14th and 15th centuries except the citadel which was built from the ruins dating back to antique ages.

The archaeological site of Beçin has been excavated systemically since 1972. In 2000, a hoard of coins, 60.000 of which are Islamic and 850 are European was found in Beçin. It is not only the largest hoard that has ever been found in Turkey in archaeological excavations, but also the largest cache of Ottoman coins that has ever been found.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Menteşeoğulları is one of the most important sultanates in terms of the cultural properties that they left in the west of Anatolia which could be accepted as the first examples representing the characteristics of the Ottoman Art. As an important centre representing the socio-cultural life of the Menteşeoğulları Sultanate, Beçin has an outstanding value in terms of having a lot of hans, hamams, madrasas, mosques, fountains, tombs and zaviyes which are still intact and which represent the architectural characteristics of the Anatolian settlements in the 13th and 14th centuries. The architectural remains of the Beçin city not only enlighten the Western Anatolian architecture of that period but also the form of the first Turkish settlements in that region.

Criterion (ii): Beçin which was the capital city of Menteşeoğulları Sultanate is very important in Turkish cultural history in terms of its history and geography. The architectural remains of the city not only enlighten the Western Anatolian architecture of that period but also the form of the first Turkish settlements in that region.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Beçin City is under protection by the Turkish Legislation for Preservation of Cultural and Natural Property, Law No. 2863. It was registered as an archaeological site by the 16.02.1997 dated and 3640 numbered decision of the related Regional Conservation Council.

Comparison with other similar properties

The sultanates, who declared their independence in different parts of Anatolia after the Seljuks, started to build their cities. When compared to the other cities of Anatolia in the 13th and the 14th centuries, Beçin reveals an outstanding value in terms of having a lot of hans, hamams, madrasas, mosques, fountains, türbes and zaviyes which are still intact and which represent the architectural characteristics of that period. Most of the settlements of the Ottoman Empire have been continuously used until today as a result of which the settlements have lost most of their properties peculiar to that period. However, Beçin City has preserved its historical city landscape until today since it was abandoned at the beginning of the 17th century. This characteristic differentiates the city from similar cities of the period.