Friday, 24 May 2024
From Hittites to Ottomans: Exploring the Civilizations of Karadağ

From Hittites to Ottomans: Exploring the Civilizations of Karadağ

Karadağ, a dormant volcanic mountain located 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the city center on the Konya-Karaman border, draws attention to its surrounding historical buildings.


The area known as "Thousand and One Churches" is significant for Anatolian culture with its mostly surviving churches, monasteries and tombs.


Religious structures were identified in the "Thousand and One Churches" area in southern Turkey's Karadağ.


On the slopes of Karadağ, which has been home to many civilizations for thousands of years, traces of dozens of civilizations from the Hittites to the Ottomans can be seen.


Last year, with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Archaeological Surface Survey of the Eastern Roman Period Religious Architecture of Karadağ's "Thousand and One Churches" was initiated in the region.


Led by associate professor Ilker Mete Mimiroğlu, chair of the Early Christian and Byzantine Arts Department of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Necmettin Erbakan University, the study added new findings to the inventory.



Ilker Mete Mimiroğlu, "The mountain was considered sacred not only during the Byzantine period but also during the Hittite period. There are Hittite hieroglyphs and reliefs in many places on the mountain. This sacredness continued along with Christianity. The mountain itself was seen as sacred, leading to the construction of numerous churches."


He continued: "The word 'thousand and one,' used by the public in phrases like 'Thousand and One Nights,' 'Thousand and One Cisterns,' has been used for this area since the Ottoman period as well. Travelogues mention that the terms 'Thousand and One Columns' or 'Thousand and One Churches' were used for this place."


Mimiroğlu highlighted the better condition of the region's buildings in the early 20th century and pointed out that they are not just simple churches but also the tombs of saints and burial structures with distinct architectural features. These structures have been studied by many Western scholars in the 20th century.