USKUDAR AYRILIK CESMESI-FAREWELL FOUNTAIN CEMETERY AND ITS GRAVESTONES
One of the old historical cemeteries of Asian side in Istanbul is “ Ayrılık Çeşmesi “ that means farewell fountain in English which is located in Kadıköy district just a few hundred yards far away from underground. The history of the cemetery goes back to the reign of Mehmet II and it used to be called as “ Ibrahim Aga çayırı –Abraham Aga Grassland “ where the Ottoman army had made the war preparations to the East. The Ottoman army used to set up tents, examine all war preparations, Janissaries check their weapons, etc and used to wait Ottoman sultan’s arrival before they set out to war campain. On the other hand; the Muslim pilgrims who made their minds for visiting Mecca & Medina holy cities in Saudi Arabia in order to fulfill one of the principals of Islam called " haj " had stopped here to say goodbye to their families & friends so Turks called here “ Farewell fountain-Ayrılık Çeşmesi “. A big faountain, only the small model is the remain today, was located here and the family members used to spread a bucket of water as a safe journey after pilgirims left. Therefore it has been noted for “ Farewell Fountain Stop “ among the İstanbul inhabitants. The Ayrılık Çeşmesi –The Farewell Fountain- was built by Sultan Murat IV in 1600 AD before he set out Baghdat war campain so the other name is Baghdat Avaenue. The Surre Alayı-Surra Regiment”-The delegation with precious gifts from Istanbul Topkapı Palace to Mecca holy city each year-used to gather here before they travelled and check out all prepataions for days. The tradition was to send some precious gifts to Kaaba from Ottoman treasure to respect prophet Mohammed ( pecae be upon him ) . Both Ottoman high officials and Ottoman sultan used to donate some precious gifts & money depending on their wealth to be spend in Mecca & Medina which is called Surre Alayı so the big holy feast was heşd under supervisor of Ottoman Sultan and when everthing was ready, the Surre Regiment began at once. The journey used to take at least two months and reached before the festival of sacrifice. The Ayrılık Çeşmesi –The Farewell Fountain- used to be a huge place in old times but unfortunately it has been destroyed, shortened and ruined as the centuries passed by. Most of the Janissary soldiers, high officials, court judges and strict Muslims have been buried here as to take advantage of holy atmosphere here from pilgrims and the visitors. As the Mecca & Medina passangers came here, they began praying first and sending Fatiha to the deads in graves therefore thousands of tombstones & graves have been located here for centuries. Besides, Karacaahmet- the biggest cemetery of Istanbul- is a few miles to the Farewell Fountain and it used to take just a few minutes on foot. The cemetery was restored by Turkish Turing Automobile Foundation and it was surrounded by high walls to preserve the graves & gravestones in 1970. The Farewell Faountain Cemetery still is an open-air gravestone museum but the conditions are terrible so it needs to be restored again and all the unique gravestones must be kept in better conditions. The visitors can find unique Janisarry troops tombstones showing with their coat of armes curved on stones. We can understand which military unit he used to belong by looking the coat of arm on the stone at once. When we read the inscriptions on we also know interesting knowledge about the age he lived with the unique literacy. The main tomstones are ; Benli Mustafa Aga-the Topkapı Palace doorman with dardağan headgear dated 1766 the visitor can realize his squad written as 71st on the stone, Osman aga-the chief barber of Sultan Mahmut I dated 1737, Fatma Hanım-the daughter of chief mariner Omar Effendi dated 1778, Kethüdazede Mustafa Sabık Efendi-the former court judge of Mecca with Orfi headgear dated 1783, Abdullah Effendi with Kafesi-destar hedagear-the chronicle of prime minister Halil Hamid pasha dated 1786 and Nefise Hanım-the daughter of Rakka mayor with floral patterns dated 1798.