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MUSEUMS OF NEVSEHIR

 

Nevsehir is in the Central Anatolian region of Cappadocia and the site of the Rock Churches. The first steps to establish a museum in Nevsehir were taken when archaeological and ethnographic works were stored in the Damad Ibrahim Pasha Library. Later on in 1965 the Imaret (soup kitchen) building of the Damad Ibrahim Pasha Kulliye was repaired and turned into a museum. It was opened to the public in 1967.

 

Views from Cappadocia Nevsehir Museum :

The Nevsehir Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum is housed in the Imaret building. Sadrazam Damad Ibrahim Pasha built it at the beginning of the XVIII century. It has three rooms, which are arranged as follows:

Room I: This room contains photographs of architectural works and clothing from the XVIII century, miniatures depicting scenes from palace life, manuscript books and writing sets.

Room II: This room contains archaeological works. These include prehistoric axes and earthenware dishes, Hittite pottery, Phrygian fibulas and ornaments, Byzantine bracelets and mother of pearl pictures of Jesus, and various objects from the Roman period.

Room III : This room contains ethnographic works and examples of hand craftsmanship. Among them are porcelain and tiles, dishes, console gas lamps, clothing from the Ottoman period, bows and arrows, weapons, kitchen utensils, and jewelry.

Exhibited in the garden of the Museum are large water jars from the Byzantine period, millstones and inscriptions, grave steles, sacrificial altars and building stones from various periods.

 

Hacibektas Museum :

Hacibektas Museum was opened in 1964 in the Haci Bektas Dergah kulliye in the Nevsehir sub-province of Hacibektas. The museum consists of three rows of courtyards from west to east. The museum is entered through the Main Gate (Cross Gate). It opens onto the First Courtyard at the west side.

View of the Hacibektas Museum First Courtyard : On the right hand side of the First Courtyard is a fountain in the style of the Ottoman period called the 'Three Fountains'. To the left is the old Guest House of the Dergah. An arched gate called the 'Triple Gate' leads into the Second Courtyard.

Second Courtyard : At the entrance to the Second Courtyard is an inscribed rectangular pool. To the right is a niche decorated with rows of arches inside one another. It contains a marble statue of a lion, from whose mouth issues a fountain.

To the right of this courtyard is a two-story row of rooms. These are the Bread House and Kitchen of the Dergah. The room nearest to the gate was originally that of the chef. The second door leads to the pantries and the third to the Kitchen. The stoves, kitchen utensils and Karakazan (a black cauldron considered sacred by the Bektasi order of dervishes) are exhibited in the Kitchen. The rooms on the upper floor are now used as offices and depots.

The rooms to the left of the courtyard are called the Hall House. This section was the place where the dervishes performed their ceremonies (called Ayni Cem). At the entrance is a Hall Stone where they used to place torches. The roof of the Hall Room is domed and raised high on thick joists to symbolize the seven layers of sky above the earth. The room contains a stove, animal skins on which the sheiks sat and a throne of light, a raised platform on which the dervishes would place candles. The side rooms are now used to exhibit carpets, embroidered prayer mats and clothes.

The upper floors of the Square House are now used to house the museum library.

View of Hacibektas MuseumMescid: At the far end of the Second Courtyard near the Kitchen is a mescid with a single dome and minaret. The Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II built it. The mescid is open for worship. The Sixes Gate leads from the Second to the Third Courtyard, called the Saints Courtyard.

Third Courtyard: On the right side of the Third Courtyard is the grave of Dedebaba and the Balim Sultan tomb. On the opposite side is the Haci Bektas-i Veli Tomb.

A three arched exedra leads to the Tomb. To the right and left of the exedra are the sarcophagi of the Bektasi Fathers who rendered service to the Dergah. From the exedra a marble portal called the White Gate leads into a dark corridor. On the right side of the corridor is a small vaulted domed room called the Red Cell. This room is considered to be the heart of the Dergah. It is said to be the cell of Haci Bektas.

A second door leads from the corridor to the Hall. It has a domed roof. It was built during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Law Giver. The cases in the hall contain objects used in the Dergah by the Bektasi dervishes such as tablets, candlesticks and lamps.

In the east wall of this hall is the Supplication Window, and to the south and north are the crowned sarcophagi of sheiks and other high ranking members of the order.

Huzur-u Pir and Tomb : On the right side of the hall is the Tomb of Haci Bektas-i Veli. The carved marble door, which leads into the Tomb, is called the Huzur-u Pir. The tomb is of typical classic Seljuk period style. It contains the sarcophagus of Haci Bektas. It is covered with an embroidered cloth.

Balim Sultan Tomb : Hizir Bal who died in 1516 was the second great leader of the Bektasi order. He made great contributions towards its organization. The tomb has a classic pyramid shaped dome. It is situated on the south side of the Third Courtyard. In front of it is a three-arched exedra from which a small door leads to the room where the sarcophagus of Balim Sultan is situated. A second sarcophagus belongs to the brother of Hizir Bal, Kalender Mursel Bali who died in 1544. Candlesticks are exhibited in the tomb.

Objects from Karacahoyuk : Findings from excavations at Suluca Karahoyuk near Hacibektas are also exhibited and stored in the Hacibektas Museum.

 

Urgup Museum :
Archaeological and ethnographic works from the region of Urgup were at first exhibited in the Peoples Library from 1965 until 1971. When the new museum building constructed in Urgup, the works are exhibited there. The works in the museum can be divided into two groups :

Archaeological: Contains prehistoric ceramics, and dishes, figurines, lamps, steles, statues, metal and glass objects and ornaments from the Hittite, Phrygian, Roman and Byzantine periods

Ethnographical: Contains clothes, embroidery, tapestries, jewelry, manuscripts and weapons.

Stone works and clay water jars are exhibited in the Museum garden.

 

Goreme Open Air Museum :

Rock formations and frescoes in the Elmali Church at Goreme Open Air MuseumThe ashes from the Erciyas volcano affected this 30-km2 area between Nevsehir, Urgup and Avanos. Rock layers are of differing degrees of hardness. This led in time to erosion by wind and rain. It results in the strange Goreme landscape. It is composed of pillars of soft rock usually topped with a cap of hard rock. The people of the region call these formations 'fairy chimneys'. The majority of them have been hollowed out and used as houses, churches and monasteries. The region of Cappadocia was famous as the center of Christianity in Anatolia in the Byzantine period. During the VII and IX centuries AD the Christians of the region carved many churches and monasteries out of the rocks and decorated them with frescoes. After the iconoclastic prohibition was lifted in Christianity, illustration of events described in the Bible with representative wall frescoes in the churches and 'monasteries began once more. This tradition continued until the XII century. The frescoes in the rock churches of Goreme have a unique and significant place in the history of Christian art.

Rock formations and frescoes in the Elmali Church at Goreme Open Air Museum
Among the churches in the Goreme valley is the 'Barbara Church with a picture of St. Barbara, the Carikli Church decorated with scenes from the life of Jesus from his birth to the Ascension, the Elmali (Apple) Church which again is illustrated with scenes from the life of Jesus, the Karanlik (Darkness) Church decorated with bible scenes, the Tokali Church depicting various religious events, and the Yilanli (Snake) Church which contains a picture of two horsed figures battling with a dragon, Jesus and other figures.

There are other groups of churches at the Open Palace, Avanos, Avcilar, Ortahisar, Uchisar and other places within 30 km. from Nevsehir. Interesting churches among those at these places are Zelve, Cavusin, Tavsanli, Pancarli, Kizilcukur, Gulludere and Halasdere.

 

Underground Cities:
The Christians living in Cappadocia were from time to time obliged to hide themselves in underground dwellings. The most important of these underground cities were opened up after 1965. They were cleaned out, lit up and opened as museums. The most important of these are those at Kaymakli 20 km. south of Nevsehir, and at Derinkuyu 48 km. from Nevsehir. Both of them have rooms on five levels linked by labyrinthine paths. There are also underground cities at Avanos, Ozkonak, Cardak, Karacaoren, and Mucur.

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