HAMZA BABA BAKTASHI LODGE AND ITS GRAVESTONES
Hamza Baba; one of 360 students of Hodji Baktashi Vali educated & trained in central lodge in, was tasked by sect founder training the people in Aegean region. He was emigrated from Khorasan and he joined to Baktashi main lodge as the volunteer and was educated in between 1240 and 1270. He became very famous after he had been appointed by sect founder as the trainer of Aegean so his lovers made him immortal as soon as he passed away and was buried in his village. According to Alevi-Baktashi sect principles , the masters of Baktashi sect called “ dede “ never die therefore it is believed that Hamza baba lived more than 200 years which is impossible. Another legend says that Hamza Baba came to Asia Minor-Anatolia-in 1530 AD with 90.000 darwishes from Khorasan and he conquered the village and settled down there. Then he began training the local Turcoman tribes in order to teach how they cut trees in the forest, cultivate the crops, grow vegetables & fruits physically as well as to train them be honest and be good citizens. Hamza baba village is located in İzmir province in which 30 kms far away from İzmir city. The village has 250 population noted for as a small forested settlement. The Hamza baba tomb was built and enlarged during the reign of Ottoman sultan Murat II and later it became one of the most visited by Alevi-Baktashi sect members & lovers. The legend & the written documents-Menakıpname- in Hamza Baba lodge indicate that the crown prince Murat II and Hamza baba became very close friends while Murat II was the governor of Saruhan-today Manisa province-before he became Ottoman sultan in 15th century. Hamza baba was given the area as a gift by crown prince Murat II and his sect member never pay taxes to the Ottoman state at that time. Hamza baba passed away during one of his visits in Saruhan and the crown prince wanted him buried there but his lovers from Hamza baba village inhabitants opposed to this and his corpse was brought to the village and was buried. Then Murat II became the sultan of Ottomans and he had built Hamza baba shrine and sultan appointed Dede to rule the area of Manisa, İzmir, Balıkesir , Akhisar, and Aydın districts with 100 villages so the Alevi-Baktashi sect members were depended on Hamza baba lodge. Setting out Semah ceremonies, tasting the bite of Ashura, turning down as the crane birds in Three Sycamore Square in Hamza Baba village , cutting the sacrificial animals and delivering its meat to the poor have been arranged for about 700 years in this village by his lovers to be close with his spirit. Hamza baba shrine is one of the most visited places in Aegean region by his lovers and everybody living all over Turkey. The shrines was built on an octagonal basement with cut stone. Before visiting the shrine, the travelers turn around it seven times according to the sect rules and the tie the piece of cloth on the wish tree in order their wish come true. Then the visitors go inside and they stand up in front of his sarcophagus praying to his soul. Anyone who has a trouble such as unmarried young girls, women without children, the poor, unemployed youngsters, etc. tell his trouble to him in silence and want Hamza baba solve out in a short time. Anyone whose wish came true goes back to the village and cuts an animal depending on his/her wealth and deliver the meat in village. Inside the mausoleum , there is a green starboard, a sword and a helmet are signs of the conquest of Hamza baba village and its environment. There were a lot of early Ottoman era gravestones before the shrine was built but they were destroyed during the riot of Sheikh Bedreddin in 1400. The sect members and Alvei-Baktashi lovers wanted to be buried here as to be closer to Hamza baba after the shrine was built and enlarged so the gravestones you can see today belong to later centuries. The oldest ones dated in 16th century and most of them belong to 18th and 19th centuries. The visitors also can realize the new ones in 20th century as well. Most of the gravestones in the courtyard are in Baktashi sect style having with either 12 sliced called “ Fahir “ headgears or 4 sliced headgears called “ Husseini “. The main one are ; The tombstone with Husseini headgear dated 1850, the Janissary tombstone with dolama destar dated 1867, the female tombstone dated 1857 with an amulet & floral patterns on, Salih Akdemir baba’s tombstone dated in 1981 with literary text, Ibrahim Yamak baba’s tombstone dated 1981 with 12 sliced Fahir headgear & Baktashi surrender stone on its neck and Ibrahim Taşkıran Baba’s tombstone with a poem as written inscription.