KOÇARLI CIHANOGLU MOSQUE GRAVEYARD AND GRAVESTONES
Koçarlı was a small town as part of the Guzelhisar Ottoman province until 1522 AD and it was ruled by Guzelhisar governor. When Suleiman I, the 9th Ottoman sultan noted for as Kanuni-the lawmaker, wanted to capture Rhode Island in Aegean Sea due to knights of Rhodes caused a lot of problems to muslim pilgrims and Ottoman state, one of the Turcoman tribes living in Koçarlı area joined in the Ottoman army with 20.000 soldiers under the commander of Cihanoglu Mehmet Bey and they provided agreat logistic support & showed great heroism. During the Rhode İsland campaing Mehmet Bey’s pregnant wife gave a birth and his son was born. The name of the son was given sultan Suleiman I as called “ Cihan “ and Sultan gifted gifted the koçarlı and Guzelhisar region to Mehmet Bey to rule in the name of Ottomans as governor so Cihanoglu family became the ruler of Guzelhisar state. The territory of Cihanoglu family was from big meander river to Latmos mountain ranges including Koçarlı and Bafa lake. Cihanoglu family members have been the governors for a long time for making a great contributionto the region as using new methods in agriculture, planting so many different crops and building a lot of structures for inhabitants both in Koçarlı and in Aydın province. Cihanoglu family were the piooners of enlightment age especailly in 18th and 19th centuries AD as building new mosques in baroque style as the mixture of western and Ottoman styles. They made a great effort to adorn Koçarlı town and its villages with madarasahs, charity kitchens, castles and towers to show their power as the headquarter of thier governership. Cihanoglu kulliyes both in Kocarlı and Guzelhisar were built between 17th and 19th centuries AD with beautiful mosques in baraque style having with splendid wall paintings describing Mecca & Medina panaroma pictures in. Koçarlı Cihanoğlu Mosque was built in between 1753-1756 years as part of the great Kulliye-complex by governor Mustafa Aga in central part of the town and it has been restored several times. The mosque has a square plan with 11 stepped stairs in fornt and raised about 2m from ground level with a great fountain for ablution. The mosque has also beautiful panaroma pictures describing Kaaba in Mecca and Istanbul with Bosphorus & Topkapı palace where the Ottoman sultans lived. Cihanoglu family members were buried in graveyards at the back of the mosques which they built so some graveyards with endengared Ottoman gravestones were placed in the small cemeteries reflceting their terms with ephitaphs and symbols. The Koçarlı Cihanoglu Mosque Graveyard has endengared gravestones with some stone made sarcopgaus at present.Most of the sarcophagus were made for children of the Cihanoğlu family died in early ages such as six or seven years old. The sarcophagus have some old ephitaphs such as wheelfortune-bad luck &short life- Solomon’s seal-the best name of Allah-, cypress-the consent and life tree-ancestors. The gravestones have also the symbols and ephitaphs with similar signs on describing different beliefs. The female gravestones are really rich in symbols showing the ladies spirutal beliefs. The mosque figured female gravestones were made in 18th and 19th centuries with nice mosque scenes as well as crescent & moon figures showing the patrotism. The graveyard is recommended to visit those who travel to Koçarlı region.