meaning ‘tombs covered by domes’ in Arabic and ‘a building with a dome
shaped roof’ in Persian, are mausoleums built for important people such
as sultans and emirs. These type of buildings were inspired by the art
of tents of the Turks in the land of Turkomans and then applied in architecture.
Prior to Islam, the dead would first be washed and then would be wrapped
up in a shroud despite the different burial traditions they had. The corpse
would be mummified and put into a coffin and kept in the tents until the
following spring or autumn. The tradition of burial resulted in the emergence
of monumental Turbe, mausoleums.
turbe's, the first examples of which were built using bricks or stone,
were later built only with cut stone. However, there is also a great number
of turbe's built with using both stones and bricks. Turbe's could be built
as individual buildings or in the mosque and medrese complexes. Turbes
usually have two stores. The lower floor, access to which is gained by
a flight of stairs, forms the base of the Turbe. This is the cell like
tomb room where the mummified corpse is put into a sarcophagus or buried.
In this room, used for visiting or worshipping, can be a mihrab niche as
well as a symbolic sarcophagus. Its impressive door, in the direction of
east, west or north, is reached by one or two flights of stairs.
with polygonal and cylindered turbe's, which sometimes have different internal
and external plans, there are also examples of square planned ones.
the square planned examples emerged after the 13th century. Their ceilings
are domed whereas they have conical or pyramidal roofs. Somewhat embellished
geometrical and floral decorations can be observed on this type of building's
outer surface, door, windows, fringes and roof.
important turbe's in the Cappadocia region are the Doner Kumbet , the Hunad
Hatun Turbesi, The Cifte Turbe in Kayseri, the Hudavent Hatun Turbe in
Nigde, the Taskinpasa Turbe and the Alti Kapili Turbe in Urgup.
THE DONER KUMBET
The Doner Kumbet (Kumbet:
conical roofed tomb) in Kayseri is believed to date from 1276 or
later. The marble inscription, consisting of two lines, over the entrance
states that it was erected for ?Sah Cihan Hatun. The Turbe, built only
with cut stone, has a square planned base, an exterior with 12 blank arches
and a cylindered interior. The Doner Kumbet, which resembles a monumental
tent, has a conical roof decorated with reliefs. On the facade of the portal
is the relief of a two-headed eagle figure between the figures of two winged
leopards with human heads. To the left of the portal, above the date palm
is a doubleheader eagle and on either side lion figures and to the right
is a date palm in relief.
THE HUNAD HATUN
The Turbe, built in 1238
between the medrese and the mosque as an addition to the Hunad Hatun
Kulliye, houses the remains of Alaaddin Keykubat I’s wife, i.e. Keyhusrev
II’s mother. Access to the Turbe is a flight of stairs from a room in the
medrese. The octagonal Turbe, crowned by a pyramidal roof, was built
using cut stone and has as its base a marble pedestal with six lines of
mukarnas. On each corner of the body is a column, completely decorated,
with conical capitals. This type of column on the corners was also used
in Ottoman turbe's. The inscription in relief with Sulus writing, below
the fringe with mukarnas decoration on the top border, surrounds the Turbe.
The fronts of the six doublearched windows between the marble columns are
flat with no decorations. However, these surfaces are framed with arched
borders with two lines of geometrical motifs, and the voids on the corners
are filled in with swastika motifs and in this way the outer surface is
embellished. The decorations on the corner columns and on the fronts consist
of different types of motifs. The interior of the Turbe has a semi dome
and niches with five lines of mukarnas. Each surface of the mihrab, which
has five corners, is decorated with geometrical motifs composed of octagonal
stars. The biggest of the three sandukas, the one with a cover of a sarcophagus
of the antique period, belongs to Hunad Mahperi Hatun.
THE HUDAVENT HATUN
The Turbe, being one of
the most beautiful examples of Seljuk architecture in Nigde, was erected
for Hudavent Hatun, the daughter of Seljuk Sultan Rukneddin Kilicarslan
IV in 1312 -during the Ilkhanid reign in Anatolia. The Turbe rests on an
octagonal base, 80 cm in height. Between the base and the main part is
one line of mukarnas. The main part is octagonal, crowned by a sixteen
sided roof. Its portal, which can be reached with two flights of stairs,
each with three steps, is on the eastern facade of the Turbe. On both sides
of the door are the columns and capitals in high relief, decorated with
geometrical motifs. Same type of columns are found on each corner of the
main part. At the upper part, the octagonal main part is divided into two
bending outward and in this way, the octagonal body is turned into an 16
The human figures hidden
among the lion figures, a two headed eagle, some fabulous creatures and
floral motifs in bas relief and high relief are interesting. Two of the
four lion figures are on the southwestern facade, in high relief, symmetrical
and sitting on their rear legs whereas the other two on the western facade
are in bas relief, walking into opposite directions. The doubleheader
eagle figure is in the arched niche on the western side. The tips
of the wings, in the shape of dragons, are characteristic of typical Seljuk
style. Two of the four fabulous creatures are symmetrically placed above
the window arch on the southwest side of the Turbe and the other two, again
symmetrically, above the window on the north side. Each of them is
with the head of a human and the body of a bird.
According to beliefs of
Shaman of Central Asia, these motifs are creatures in the shape of birds
accompanying and protecting people traveling in the underworld and