DENIZLI ILBADE CEMETERY AND ITS GRAVES & GRAVETONES
Ilbade cemetery is located in the centre of Denizli city today which is noted for the oldest and the main cemetery of the city. It covers a large area in downtown surrounded with high walls to protect both historical and cultural endangered tombstones. The tombstones are classified into different categories such as Seljuk, Crusader, Turkish Emirates and Ottoman as well as the modern graves , sarcophagus ,shrines and thousands of gravestones. The cemetery also has some shrines where the famous Turkish heroes are buried in which they are visited by local people. Ibni Batuta, one of the famous Arabic travel writer & historian, mentions about his historical memories saying that Crusaders and Moslems were buried here after some battlefields & fights in Denizli. According to the medieval age historian Ibn-i Batuta, İlbade cemetery used to have four main gates which opened through that three out four main gates are still in use. The cemetery is still in use for burying the deads and is located at the indsutrial district of Denizli greater city. Denizli, as we mentioned in Denizli page in details, is one of the most important cities in Aegean region which is noted for as the city of tourism and textile. Laodecia, Colossea and Hierapolis were three holy cities both in Roman and early Christian times so tourism grabs millions ıf travelers both foreigners and Turkish people to visit the city. It also grabs the shoppers as to buy textile products such as cotton towels, bath costumes and etc. The history is rich and after Roman and Byzantines era, it was captured by Seljuk Turks then Crusaders wanted to take over the city several times during the crusades. It was ruled by Seljuks, Turkish İnançoğulları Emirate and finally added to Ottoman empire known as Tengizli. During the Ottoman times, it also used to be the textile center containing Buldan workshops and the center of making famous swords & knives fabrics in Yatağan town. İlbade cemetery has some mausoleums which belong to famous Turkish & Islamic heros. They were built in different times from 13th century to 19th centuries. The oldest one is Mehmet Gazi mausoleum who was the king of Turkish Inançoğulları Emirate and he fought with crusaders to defend the Tengizli located on the west part of the cemetery. It is visited by millions of Turkish visitors each year. Yediler Türbesi-The Seven Saints Mausoleum- is located at the south part of the cemetery and they used to be seven important official of Turkish İnançoğulları Emirate. Darwish Ali kahya Shrine , who used to be chamberlain of Tengizli in medieval age, is another important stop in İlbade cemetery. Şeyh Mehmet Şirvani, who was one of the famous sheiks in 19th century, built in 1851 and his fellow students wanted to be buried around his tomb later. The Ilbade cemetery also has thousands of graves & gracestones due to be used as the main burial place in Denizli for centuries so it contains graves of famous female & male heros such as Fatma Yıldız hanım, who was the leader of Turkish troops to fight with Crusaders, Demirci Mehmet Efe's victims, who was the head of Denizli national forces known as “ Kuva-i Milliye “ during the war of independence and Mufti Hulusi Effendi,who was the the Moslem clergymen in 1920. The Ilbade cemetery has been excavating under the directorate of Denizli museum on behalf of Turkish ministry of Culture with the help of Pamukkale University Art History department and Denizli Greater Municipality since 2006 . The supervisor of the team is art historian & gravestone expert Prof. Dr. Kadir Pektaş and more than ten thousand gravestones have been identified & investigated so far. The books about the excavation is going to be published by the municipality in five volumes soon. The gravestones are classified in four main categories ; Seljuk, Crusades, Turkish Emirates and Ottomans. The Seljuk graves, just a few dozens, look like sarcopgahi which have some Arabic inscriptons written on and most of them have Koranic verses called “ Ayet “ or Hadits-the words of prophet Mohammed ( peace be upon him ) dated 12th and 13th centuries. The Crusaders’ tombstones are the endangered ones with crosses on and unfortunately just a few are the remins in the cemetery. Turkish Emirate Gravestones are transition period stones which have both Seljuk and early Ottoman effects. A few dozens of these stones can be found either in shrines or mausoleums. The large numbers of tombstones mainly belong to Ottoman period from the beginning and to the end. Ottoman gravestones are divided into main groups ; Female, with floral patterns and traditional symbols expressing the beauty & grace and the Male Ones, having with unique headgears in various types showing their identities & careers. The visitors are recommended to spend at least three-four hours to have a look at nice graves& gravestones as well as pay a visit some mausoleums in İlbade Cemetery. The main shrines are ; Mehmet Gazi , Yediler Türbesi-The Seven Saints, Darwish Ali kahya and Mehmet Şirvani türbeleri-shrines. The main graves are ; Fatma Yıldız hanım, Demirci Mehmet Efe's victims , Müftü Ahmet Hulusi Effendi. The sect gravestones such as Baktashi & Mawlavi can be seen in this cemetery having with special headgears as well. İlbade Cemetery with some shrines, a few hundred graves and thosuands of tombstones is one of the oldest national heritage place of “ Written Stones Library “ of Turkey as well as an interesting stop to see old overtime Turkish gravestones.