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“In Romania and Bulgaria, the Figures of the Cross Were Engraved on About 40 Ottoman-era Fountains”

Master architect Mehmet Emin Yılmaz, who has been doing research in the lands where the Ottoman Empire ruled for a period, said that in Romania and Bulgaria , about 40 Ottoman-era fountains were carved with cross figures.

Master architect Mehmet Emin Yılmaz, who has researched over 500 architectures in 20 countries in the lands dominated by the Ottoman Empire, shared his findings with AA.

Documenting Turkish architectural works, which are usually converted into churches, with photographs, Yılmaz took an inventory of 329 works in 18 countries in 2020. Having compiled the information and documents in his possession into a book, Yılmaz had the opportunity to examine more works thanks to the architects who reached him from different countries after the publication of the book.

Yılmaz, who received many messages from historians in Georgia, Greece and Romania, increased the number of works he examined from 329 to 448.

Mosques were turned into churches, bell towers were built on the Ottoman fortifications.

Yılmaz, who has been preparing an inventory of Turkish works that have been converted into churches for thirteen years, said, “While 343 of the 448 works in the 18 countries I have identified are mosques, they were converted into churches. In addition to the conversion of mosques, dervish lodges and tombs into churches, there are examples of bell towers built on Ottoman walls and castle walls. For example, there is Karababa Castle in Greece. A completely Turkish fortress built by the Ottomans to prevent Venetian attacks. After the Ottomans, a church was built inside the castle. The bell tower of the church is also built on the Ottoman fortification wall. A similar one is Dimetoka Castle. There is also a church next to the castle, the church was built during the Ottoman period. After the independence of Greece, a bell tower was built on the fortification wall.” used the phrases.

Stating that there are some archives opened for digital access in 2020 and that the French Ministry of Culture also allows access to the photographs in its archive, Yılmaz stated that he has identified some works from these as well.

Yılmaz said that during his research he found a photograph of the Kadiri Lodge on Lesbos Island and that it was written under it that the refugees who came to the island used the lodge as a church.

Stating that he also examined the photographic archives of Bulgaria, Yılmaz said that he learned that the buildings that were used as churches after their architecture was changed were actually mosques.

“There are clock towers and fountains with crosses”

Emphasizing that he examined the villages related to the exchange area in Greece separately, Yılmaz said:

“With the Treaty of Lausanne, 500 thousand Turks came to Anatolia from Greece. About one and a half million Orthodox also went to Greece. This led to sociologically different results for both countries. Architecturally, the mosques in the villages evacuated by the Turks were mostly used directly as churches. The Exchange region covers most of Greece. After the mosques, we see the mausoleums at the beginning of the works that were converted into churches. In addition to mosques that have been converted into churches, there are clock towers with crosses. Among the works I have studied in Greece, there are 116 mosques, 22 lodges and tombs that have been converted into churches. For example, a cross was placed on the top of the clock tower in Xanthi, and the mosque next to it was converted into a church. Then it is destroyed in the mosque. The architecture of the clock tower was completely changed.”

Yılmaz said that he researched fountains under a separate title among Turkish architectural works, and stated that he found that cross figures were engraved on the fountains.

Stating that there is a Dobruca region in Bulgaria and Romania, and there are many rural fountains with long troughs, called shepherd’s fountains, especially in that region, Yılmaz said:

“A region where animal husbandry was very intense during the Ottoman period. It is known that Istanbul’s meat needs are met from that region. Most of the village fountains there are still in use. I researched a few of them. On the fountains, the stone of this same fountain was processed with the same architectural details and a cross was added. Among the 448 works I examined, I saw that there were 38 Turkish architectural works in total, 29 in Romania and 9 in Bulgaria, and a cross figure was engraved on the fountain. It is understood that this is not like bringing a cross and hanging it, but that the cross was built to deliberately change the architecture, as if it were the main architectural element of the fountain.”

Source : Balkan News