MENDERES TURCOMAN CEMETERIES & GRAVEYARDS AND ITS TOMBSTONES
Menderes, the name comes from Meandros that means river Meander, is one of the towns of Izmir province where only 20 kms far away from greater İzmir city in the south. Its neighbours are Torbalı on the on the east, Seferhisar on the west and is sorrounded by Selçuk & Aegean Sea on the South. It covers an area of 775 square kms with the population of 85.000 and the town is noted for Tahtalı dam which is one of the main water resorvoirs of Izmir area and green houses in which vegetables & fruits are grown as an storage of agricultural products. The history goes back to Arcaic age so Notion and Claros are very close to the down town. The town was captured by Aydınoğlu Cuneyd Beg in ealy 14th century and the former name was Cuneydabad. Then it was ruled by another Turkish emirate Karesi oğulları later it was added to Ottoman empire during the reign of Bayezit I in the middle of 14th century. It was ruled by Aydınoğulları again after Tamerlenk destroyed Anatolia and finally it became of the Ottoman town during the reign of sultan Murat II. It was called as Cumaovası in the early years of Turkish Republic proclaimed and then Menderes name was given to the town in 1988. Menderes is noted for both natural beaties such as Gumuldur & Ozdere shores and Tahtacı villages. Tahtacı people, the Turkish tribes emigrated from central Asia and work in forests keep with their original life styles, have been settled down in & around Menderes area for centuries. During the reigns of Turkish emirates and Ottomans they used to work in forests cutting the trees and making timber for shipyards so they were kept in safe until sultan Selim I but they were isolated from the soceity because of their faith called Alevis. They had live as a closed soceity till 1923 then they became free and equal again as Turkish citizens. Tahtacı people have been maintaing thier traditions and customs since they were settled down in Asia minor as tribes and you can realize their specialities clealy even if in their daily practices. Menderes Turcoman or Tahtacı Alevi’s cemeteries and graveyards are full of endangered and beautiful gravestones with nice epitapsh, symbols and written incsriptions. The min features are ; the female gravestones have gold chains, gold coins, amulets and flowers around their necks with floral borders in order to show thier elegance & grace and the male gravestones have daggers, pistols, amulets, watches with long chains, fes headgears with a rose on and emroided boleros called “ cepken “ in order to show their heroic and rebellious mood. The visitors can identify Tahtacı Alevi gravestones in Tahtacı cemeteries and graveyards of the mosques. The main gravestones can be found in Kasımpasha Mosque backyards, Cuneydbey Mosque graveyard, Samancıoğlu mosque and Tahtacı Cemetery which began disappeared unfortunately.