Karacaahmet Cemetery

Karacaahmet Cemetery is located in the province of Istanbul within the district of Uskudar and occupies an area of 750,000 square meters. Because of the lack of records going back into history, no definite information as to the total number of burials in the cemetery is available. This number can probably be expressed in the millions, however. There are seven entrances to Karacaahmet Cemetery. These are; Seyyid Ahmed (Irani) Gate, Namazgah (Place of Prayer) Gate, Harmanlik (Harvest) Gate, Sehitler (Martyrs) Gate, Kor (Blind) Gate, Yanik Omer Gate and Fistikli Gate.

Karacaahmet Cemetery is one of the world’s largest and oldest Muslim cemeteries. It holds rare examples of art of carving which reflects Ottoman social character and the architectural evolution since 1500 AD. Many persons of distinction have been interred in Karacaahmet Cemetery.

Karacaahmet Cemetery takes its name from Karacaahmet Sultan who is referred to in a foundation charter drawn up in 1371 AD as “Karaca Ahmet son of Suleyman of Khorasan”. Karaca Ahmet was the son of a Turkmen Bey and is accepted as one of the “Mystics of Khorasan”. Karacaahmet Sultan lived in the thirteenth century and worked together with Haji Bektash Wali (Turkish spelling: Haci Bektas-i Veli) and the Alperens in Manisa, Akhisar, Aydin and Afyon to successfully dissipate the propaganda of Christian missionaries in the Aegean Region during the decline of the Anatolian Seljuk State. He was later sent to Istanbul by Haji Bektash Wali to spread the word of Islam and gather together the Turks of Western Anatolia. Karacaahmet established a lodge for his followers first in Merdivenkoy in the era when lands from Bursa to Uskudar were being captured (1329), later moving to Uskudar, where the cemetery is located. Karacaahmet Sultan was one of the Mystics of Khorasan who enlightened his followers with his thoughts and beliefs.

Karacaahmet Sultan was a “reverend physician” who was educated in his youth in the treatment of mental illnesses. He later specialized in this field and practiced as a physician when he came to Anatolia while he worked with Haji Bektash Wali as an Alperen. It is known that in the period he lived and practiced, he was considerably successful in treating mental illnesses for which even today’s contemporary medicine has found no cure. His methods of treatment remain subjects of research.

As a physician treating mental illnesses, Karacaahmet Sultan worked to serve the community and was an intellectual of the period. He lived out his life striving to establish a well-founded system of morals with which people could live as responsible human beings, sharing with each‘Other, lighting the way for the next generations, embracing and strengthening the bonds of the sovereignty of peace, love and brotherhood.

Karacaahmet’s Sultan turbe or tomb, along the Baglarbasi Selimiye road in Istanbul, on a corner of the “Karacaahmet Cemetery” named after him is frequently visited by those who love him.

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