BAYINDIR-YAKAPINAR TURCOMAN VILLAGE TAHTACI GRAVESTONES
Yakapınar, one of the small Tahtacı Turcoman villages in Aegean region whose people still try to keep in their traditions & customs in their daily practices, is located in the boundary of Ödemiş town in İzmir province. It is about 80kms far away which takes about an hour drive and the village is situated at the footstep of Bozdağ mountain. Its history is not known when it has been established but some marks show that it used to be on the edge of Royal road which goes through Efes & Sardis Roman cities. We know that Tahtacı Turks called as “ Ağaç eri “ began living in this region after the Mongol troops invaded Anatolia after 1243 AD. Most of the Tahtacı Turks have been settled down in Aegean & Mediterranean regions along the coastline and their villages are located in forested areas & less populated places. Before Constantinople was conquered, Ottoman sultan Mehmet II brought the Tahtacı Turks to build ships for Ottoman fleet from Ida mountains Tahtacı villages called Balıkesir amd İzmir provinces today. Tahtacı Turks used to live in tents as Nomads but they were settled down in villages later around the forests & woods spreading over in a large geographial regions so one of them Yakapınar Tahtacı tribe settled down near Bayındır settlement and in this village around 14th century AD. Bayındır is one of the 24 famous Oghuz-Turkish tribes came from central Asia that means “ the people who always live in fertile lands. “ As a matter of fact that Aegaen region where Bayındır Tahtacı Turks live is the most fertile part of Turkey in which three different crops can be harvested throughtout the year. Yakapınar was a small village which was ruled by Aydınoğulları Turkish emirate first then Ottomans for a long time. Bayındır & Yakapınar settlements were invaded by the Greek troops after the world War I in 1919 and it was saved by the Turkish forces in September 1922. It was added to İzmir province with Bayındır in 1923 and still belongs to Bayındır town as a small village today. The Yakapınar Village Cemetery which has endangered Tahtacı Turcoman gravestones which are considered the best preserved & the most beautiful tombstones so far. The cemetery contains about 300 hundred old gravestones and about 200 have been investigated and identified by Akdeniz Univesity Art History department. Most of the gravestones belong to 19th & 20th centuries of which are 118 are male and 82 are female ones. Yakapınar Tahtacı Turks gravestones are the masterpieces and all of them really reflect Turkic consciousness. Both ladies and genlement gravestones have symbols, ephitaphs, written inscriptions based on Baktashi sect. Floral, geometric and figurative decorations were used for decoration of tombstones after 18th century late Ottoman era. Acanthus, branches and leaves, tulip, rose motifs were used for floral decoration, moon and stars in different cornered were used for geometric decoration, the caps decorated with coins at the brow region, duluçkalık-hanging from the cheeks and amulets worn by the women, belt, gun belt, gun, yataghan, watch on chain were used for figurative decoration. Yakapınar Tahtacı tombstones have the same features with the other Turcoman-Alevi tribes gravestones and the male ones 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 and the female ones have gold chains, gold coins, amulets and flowers around their necks with floral borders in order to show thier elegance & grace. It is really hard to say which tombstones are the best because all of them are great. Cennet the daughter of Hussein with gold coins and gold necklace on dated 1811, Döne with nice gold coins on the borders dated 1882, Döne the daughter of Mohammed Aga with floral patterns on dated 1910, Gülsüm the wife of sergent Hasan dated 1886, Menevşe kadın the wife of Ali with moon, crescent, gold coins and floral patterns on richly decorated dated 1900 and Sabir Hatun the wife of sergant Bali with floral patterns on dated 1916 are the main female tombstones in the cemetery. And the male ones are ; Hadjı Mehmet the son of Hussein Beg with his richly decorated bolero as patriot dated 1921, Cemal the son of Black Ahmet without a headgear but full heroic epitaphs & symbols on his gravestone dated 1903, Ahmet, the son of sergant Vali with fes headgear & weapons on dated 1903 and Dobrucalı Veli with a big amulet on can be examined carefully and worth taking pictures.