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Hunat Hatun TurbesiTurbes, 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.


The 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. Along with polygonal and cylindered turbe's, which sometimes have different internal and external plans, there are also examples of square planned ones. 

However, 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. 

The 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 (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 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 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 sided one.

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  the sky.


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