ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472


The so-called ‘Dediği Dede tekkesi’ is located in the close vicinity of the villages of Mahmudhisar and Tekke near Ilgın. It is built on a hill-top overlooking the road passing through the settlements, a small pine wood covering the hills to the North and East. A badly built entrance gate of fairly recent date leads into a rectangular courtyard giving access to the building from the North, and surrounded by a wall about 2.5 m. in height.

Within the building itself, three sections can be distinguished. From the courtyard the visitor passes into a rectangular chamber 17.40 m. long and 2.60 m. wide, the axis pointing in an east-west direction. As apparent from the construction joint in the south wall, this section İs a later addition to the original building.

In the south wall of the entrance chamber, there is an arched opening leading into the second section, a slightly irregular rectangle measuring 5.60 m. at the north and 5.75 m. at the south end, while the east and west walls are respectively 1.95 and 2.12 m. long. This room can be characterized as a vestibule or hall, whose central section is covered by a dome, while the two flanking parts arc barrel - vaulted and open into the domed section as ivans. While the lower structure is built of ashlar masonry, the dome and vaults arc constructed of bricks measuring 22 X 22 X 4 cm. At present there arc two tombs in each vaulted space, however, it is impossible to say whether these are contemporary to the building.

In the south wall of the second section, a door gives access to the main area of worship. Compared to the simplicity of the building as a whole, this door is rather elaborate: profiled jambs and lintel arc carved of marble, while an inscription panel measuring 88 X 183 cm. and and referring to the year 576/1180 is inserted immediately above the lintel. Two steps lead down into the area of worship, an almost square chamber measuring 5.20 x 5.40 m. Two small slit windows in the east and west walls admit a measure of light, while four large squinches of ashlar masonry carry a dome constructed of bricks. A square niche covered by a half dome at the opposite end of the room constitutes the mihrap, whose lower parts arc faced with carved spolien marbles which most probably formed part of an earlier Byzantine building. Even though this building is mentioned as a tekke or zaviye in archival documents, it does not provide the necessary accomodations for living and cooking usually found in such establishments. Rather, the building can be defined as a single unit mescit with a closed hall or vestibule. In Konya and Akşehir various examples of this type were built during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In case the inscription dated 576/1180 in fact belongs to the present building, it should be regarded as the earliest example of a single unit mescit with closed vestibule. Other evidence also points to an early date, particularly the plan type and the ample use of spolien stones. Most probably the outer entrance hall was added considerably later, when more meeting space was required for an increasing number of participants in the functions of the tekke.

Archival documents on this building, which was most probably known as the tekke of Dediği Dede begin in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, after the conquest of the principality of Karaman by the Ottomans under Mehmed Fatih. Another tekke known by this name was located in the village of Tekke near Doğanhisar, district of Akşehir. From a series of tax registers and lists of pious foundations it is possible to follow the development of Mahmudhisar from a tiny settlement of approximately sixty taxpayers, about half of whom were owners of full peasant holdings, to a village of 317 adult males in which the majority worked half-holdings or less. At the same time, the number of people associated with the tekke rose from seven at the end of the fifteenth century to 107 at the end of the sixteenth, although by this time the majority were probably peasants whose functions in the dervish community have not been clearly defined. The tekke near Doğanhisar was smaller in terms of income and at least at certain times in terms of members as well. In the eighteenth century both tekkes, about whose previous affiliations nothing is known, associated with the Bektashis. However, since the two institutions seem to have survived Sultan Mahmud II’s campaign of repression without too much damage, it is very likely that they abandoned the order when affiliation became dangerous.

Apparently the family of the founder owned a considerable amount of land in the areas of Saideli, Ilgın, and Akşehir. At least one member, in the fifteenth century, bore the title of pasha. While the exact period in which Dediği Dede lived is not known, he was possibly alive by 1407. Most probably the two tekkes were in fact founded by the same person, since there is some evidence for a blood relationship between the two şeyh families. Little is known of the functions of the şeyhs in their village environment. While official documents generally stress the obligation to take care of wayfarers, both tekkes were really too remote from the main highway to have acted as hostels on a significant scale. Both were probably places of pilgrimage, but it is unknown how often they were visited and by whom.

Aside from the information they convey about the tekke, the dervish lists contained in the three tahrirs from Kanunî Süleyman’s time (TT 455, 399 and 415 in the Archives of the Prime Minister in Istanbul) also allow us to establish at least a relative chronology of these undated registers. Among the remaining sources Mâliyeden müdewer 241 is of special interest: while mainly a tımar register probably compiled shortly after the conquest of Karaman (a note in the text is dated 1466) it also contains information on pious foundations and a full enumeration of the tax-paying inhabitants of Akşehir, Ilgın, Doğanhisar and various smaller settlements, thus making it most probably the earliest extant example of an, even though fragmentary, tahrir of Karaman.


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