Haci Bayram Mosque and its Surrounding Area (the Haci Bayram District)
Permanent Delegation of Turkey to UNESCO
District of Ulus, Province of Ankara
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The Haci Bayram district is located at the north-western part of the Citadel within the boundaries of the district of Ulus, Ankara.
The area, taking Hacı Bayram Mosque and Augustus Temple as the focal point, has a traditional historic fabric which also contains Ottoman and Early Republican Period buildings, as well as later-period ones. The district is located on a hill which is a tumulus, where the mosque and the temple are located on the top while the traditional fabric is scattered along the sloped hillsides.
The most significant characteristic of Haci Bayram district is the main religious function taking place at the top-centre.
From the earliest periods, Haci Bayram area had been the Acropolis of Ankara. Starting from 8th century BC., the place has been an acropolis, the sacred places of Christian and Muslim people were built on top or near to each other. The most important piece that is apparent, is the Temple of Augustus from the Roman Period dated to 2nd century BC, which was constructed after Galatia was conquered by Emperor Augustus. Today, some other archaeological remains are over ground. Besides, there must be many more buried underground.
The most important and the largest mosque is Haci Bayram Mosque which is still one of the leading mosques in Ankara, dated to 15th century. Then, it is renewed in 18th century and converted its characteristics to a later period mosque. It has qualified architectural elements and ornamentations. It touches the Temple of Augustus at the east corner and has a tomb at the south.
Other smaller mosques are:
- Ahi Turan Mosque (14th or 15th century)
- Ahi Yakup Mosque (1392)
- Şeyh İzzettin Mosque (14th – 15th century, renewed in 17th – 18th century)
- Balaban Mosque (14th – 15th century, renewed later)
- Haci Bayram Tomb (15th century, renewed in 1947)
- Osman Fazıl Paşa Tomb (18th century)
- Gülbaba Tomb
- Şeyh İzzettin Tomb
- Ahi Yakup Tomb
Detailed Description of the Monuments in Haci Bayram District:
Hacı Bayram Mosque
Haci Bayram Mosque is located within the district of Ulus, Ankara next to the Augustus Temple.
Originally built in 831 H (1427/28), however, the mosque as it stands today with its present lay-out shows the characteristics of a late-17th or 18th century mosques. It has a rectangular plan and the sections in the north and west are later additions.
At the south-east wall of the tomb, there is a two – “şerefe” (eng. minaret balcony) minaret with a square plan, a stone base and cylindrical brick walls.
The main interior space is covered with a wooden ceiling. The hexagonal large rosette in the centre of the ceiling is framed with six rows of flowered borders. The same rosette in a smaller scale can be seen on the central rectangular panel of the ceiling of the section which is a later-period addition west to the women's section. The edges of the ceiling of the interior space of the mosque are decorated with flower patterned cornices. The same type of cornices are also used in the women's section.
The lower windows of the mosque are rectangular. On the exterior they are bordered with niches with pointed arches. Upper windows are pointed arched, have plaster gratings and stained glass and are bordered with chiselled plant motives.
On the interior, Kütahya tiles are placed up to the top of the windows. After the tiles, transition to a plain wall is made with a border of a chiselled palmette. The Mihrab is built with a moulding technique and is in the form of stalacti niched. Pieces from the Koran are inscribed in five rows on the pediment of the Mihrab.
The word of God can be seen on Mihrab borders as decoration. Coloured Mimbar is made with the false "kündekari" technique and displays a fine workmanship.
The painted engravings on wood are made by the engraver Nakkaş Mustafa.
Two inscriptions on the south wall indicate that the mosque was restored in 1714. Further restoration work had been carried out by the General Directorate of Foundations in 1940 and 1947.
Haci Bayram Tomb
Haci Bayram Tomb which is dated to 1429, is adjacent to the mihrab wall of the mosque. It has a square plan with an octagonal drum covered by a dome. The transition to the dome is through squinches.
The asymmetrically located portal is particularly defined on the façade. It has a lobed arch decorated with black and white marbles in a rectangular frame and on the inside there is an entrance door arch decorated with interlocking coloured stones in a zig zag pattern.
The interior section of the tomb is plain in terms of ornamentation and include several other “sanduka” (eng.- ‘sarcophagus’ pl. ‘sarcophagi’ or ‘sarcophaguses’) other than Haci Bayram Veli who died in 1429-30.
There is also another tomb, the Osman Fazıl Paşa Tomb, which is dated to the 18th century north to the mosque next to the peristyle foundations of the Agustus Temple. The tomb has an octoganal plan which is covered by a dome that directly sits on the walls of the structure.
The Temple of Augustus
The Temple of Augustus (also referred to as the Monumentum Ancyranum) is located within the district of Ulus, Ankara next to the Haci Bayram Mosque. It was constructed between 25-20 BC, on the ruins of an earlier site of a sanctuary to the Phrygian god Men.
The monument was erected following the official formation of Galatia as a Roman province, by the first emperor of Rome, Augustus Caesar; and was meant to facilitate as a display of fidelity of Pylamenes, the King of Galatia, to the Emperor.
Upon death of Augustus in 17 AD, his funerary inscription, written down by himself shortly prior to his death, called Res Gestae Divi Augusti, the Deeds of Divine Augustus, was read aloud in the Senate and carved out unto two bronz pillars in Rome. The text was also sent to be carved upon temples and monuments all across the Empire. Today, the bronze pillars are lost, but some copies survive; the most important being the copy on the Temple of Augustus in Ankara, which was preserved almost as a full copy, in original Latin and as a translation to Greek, carved upon the walls of the monument.
Some parts of the text are also found at Antiochia (modern Yalvaç) and Appolonia (today Uluborlu), both located within the province of Isparta, Turkey.
The marble temple has a pseudodipteral plan, located on a area of 36mx54,82m, elevated on a platform by 2 meters. It sits on the south-west – north-east direction. It was adorned with 8 ionic columns on the short sides and 15 ionic columns on the long sides forming the peristyle. The internal complex (naos) consisted of three sections, ‘pronaos’ (inner area of the portico), ‘cella’ (the central chamber) and ‘opithodomos’ (rear porch). There used to stand four Corinthian columns in the pronaos and two more in the opisthodomos, located between the extensions of lateral walls. Access to the cella was provided through the main gate with ornate lintel, located at the rear end of pronaos. Cella was the sacred chamber of the temple where only the priests were allowed to enter. It also had an elevated floor which was approx. 1 meter above the surrounding platform, and housed the divine statue of the temple.
The monument went through various changes to its architecture in later periods. In the 6th cent, during the Byzantine Period, it has converted to a Christian church. Cella, originally an enclosed space designed not to receive any sunlight, was illuminated by the introduction of three large windows on the south-western wall. Its elevated floor was leveled down to the platform height. Most significantly, the wall between cella and opistodomos was removed, instead of which an apsis wall and a crypt was built.
In the years 1427-1428, the Haci Bayram Mosque was build which adjoined the north wall of the naos at an angle. Basing their ideas on the writings on the various parts of the walls, some scholars consider that the temple building might have been used as a madrasa, a Muslim theological school, for some time.
Middle portion of the north-west cella was substantially damaged in 1834. Today, the temple is missing all of its columns, along with its roof. On the other hand, most parts of the core; the northern portion of the north-western wall, along with the south-eastern wall and the gate section were preserved, with Res Gestae inscription almost intact.
In addition to the Res Gestae, on the northern anta of the north-western wall, a list of emperor cult priests and their achievements; and on the southern anta of the same wall, a short inscription about other priests from a later period, were also preserved.
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
The Haci Bayram Mosque and its Tomb is a monumental example of a 15th century mosque, thus forming an invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the Bayrami sect (“Bayrami”, “Bayramiye”, “Bayramiyya”, “Bayramiyye”, or “Bayramilik” refer to a Turkish Sufi order (tariqah) founded by Hacı Bayram-ı Veli in Ankara around the year 1400 as a combination of Khalwatī, Naqshbandī, and Akbarī Sufi Orders. The order spread to the then Ottoman capital Istanbul where there were several tekkes and into the Balkans especially Rumelia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Greece), from the 15th century onwards.
In this sense, it represents architectural evidence of the belief of a religion and its stage in history of mankind.
Furthermore, the Haci Bayram Mosque and its surrounding area (the Haci Bayram District), with its different layers of meaning from different cultures and periods: the Temple of Augustus, leaning to an Ottoman Mosque, the Haci Bayram Mosque and the nearby tomb tangibly evidences that the area is an outstanding example of a multi-cultural environment and stratas of the time.
It is the symbol of co-existence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.
Criterion (iv): The Haci Bayram Mosque and its Tomb retains remarkable elements of the stages of construction and thus offer an outstanding example of tradition of mosque building in Central Anatolia from the 15th cent.
Criterion (vi): The Haci Bayram Mosque and its nearby Tomb bear an exceptional testimony to a strong and continuing spiritual and cultural traditional that has endured for many centuries. Haci Bayram-ı Veli (whose the mosque is named after) is one of the most influencial figures in the diffusion of the Bayrami sect of Islam and its belief system in Anatolia during the 15th century. It is considered a symbol for Bayrami sect of Islam and its belief systems.
The co-existence of the Temple of Augustus, the Haci Bayram Mosque and the nearby tomb tangibly evidences that the area is a significant example of a multi-cultural and multi-religious site and continuity of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
Haci Bayram Mosque and nearby tomb has been registered to the national inventory as a ‘monument’ with the Superior Council for Immovable Antiquities and Monuments Decision no.6691 in 1972 and thus protected under the Protection of Cultural and Natural Properties Act No.2863 and its relevant Supplementary Regulations (i.e. no.660 Grouping, Maintenance and Restoration of Immovable Cultural Properties). The mosque and its immediate surrounding (which also includes approx.700 traditional buildings dating from the ca. 19th century) has been registered as an ‘urban’ conservation area in 2008.
The remains of the Temple of Augustus (which incl. most parts of the core: the northern portion of the north-western wall, along with the south-eastern wall and gate section, with Res Gestae inscription almost intact) has been registered as a ‘monument’ in 1972.
Comparison with other similar properties
The Haci Bayram Mosque and its nearby Tomb is outstanding not only because it was exceptional in its own time, but that it has survived with all its essential parts which has been functional since 15th century and is still in use for its original purpose today.
No similar Property has already been inscribed on the World Heritage List, and no comparable Property, on current Tentative Lists or otherwise, exists to be put forward for World Heritage Nomination.
There are a number of mosques (i.e. Eskicioğlu Mosque, Hacı İlyas Mosque, Zincirli Mosque, and Telli Hacı Mosque) which are similar in terms of scale or plan layout within Anatolia, but the Haci Bayram Mosque and its nearby Tomb is significant as it forms an invaluable link in the history of the diffusion of the Bayrami sect from the 15th century onwards. It represents architectural evidence of the belief of a religion and its stage in history of mankind.
Inscription of the Haci Bayram Mosque and its surrounding area (the Haci Bayram District) would therefore fill a gap on the current World Heritage List by uniquely representing this belief and the co-existence of other belief sytems within this area displaying layers of meaning from different cultures and periods in Anatolia.