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kirsehir1_s.jpg (10608 bytes)The research and excavations of the recent years have shown that human settlements in Kırşehir started in 3000 B.C. Ceramic pieces from that period are found in the tumuluses of Kırşehir. The archaeological excavations undertaken at Hashöyük, a village of the central district of Kırşehir, in 1930 by Turkish and Italian archaeologists has revealed pieces of pottery from 3000 B.C.

In 2000 B.C we see the start of Assyrian Trade Colonies period and the Hittite period. Two altars with cow heads from Old Hittite Period brought to the Hirfanlı Dam Operations from the shores of the Kızılırmak River, Malkayası with hieroglyph inscriptions and known as Hittite road inscription located between the villages of Sevdiğin and Kale, also the seals, ceramic kitchen utensils, public buildings with walls etc found at Kaman Kale Tumulus are important traces of the Hittite period.

Current archaeological excavations and surface investigations also reveal that, after the Old and Late Hittite Periods, the Old and Late Phrygian Periods were also lived in a most dense fashion. In 550 B.C, Anatolia was completely under Persian dominance. Within this period, Kırşehir was part of the Central Anatolia history, a region which became well known as Cappadocia (Beautiful Horses). As Persians sufficed with only military invasion of Anatolia , significant ruins or remains cannot be found in Kırşehir, but Persian seals were found at excavations of the Kaman Kale tumulus. Persian dominance came to end in 334 BC when the armies of Alexander the Great came to Anatolia and defeated the Persians. Kırşehir and environs experienced severe pressures due to lack of authority during the period of the Cappadocia Kingdom which was established in 333 BC. In the year 18, Roman Emperor Tiberius officially annexed Cappadocia to the Roman Empire and converted it into a provincial status.

Roman period was a period of strong paganism as well as a period where Christianity was fast expanding. About 15 underground cities of varying size are known to exist from that period in Kırşehir, which were built as places of worship and sanctuary for the Christians.

Historical research shows that Kırşehir was for a while an important political center during the Roman period and even functioned as the provincial capital.

kirsehir3_s.jpg (8891 bytes)There is not much information about the Byzantine period of this area, but ruins and remains indicate that a Byzantine period did exist. Üç Ayak church from the 10th century at Taburoğlu village of the provincial center, which is one of the first big village churches in Anatolia, was a church where Protestants and Catholics worshipped together, and the church ruins at Fakıl village and Temirli are interesting.

Seljuk period is significant for Kırşehir as it is for Anatolian Turkish history as a whole, and worth investigating.

Urbanization of Kırşehir during the Seljuk period started in the early years of 13th century. Kırşehir was given to one of the Emirs of the Mengücük dynasty, Melik Muzaffererüddin Muhammed as a fief, who was defeated in battle by Seljuks at Erzincan, for his outstanding performance. During his stay in Kırşehir, Melik Muzaffererüddin Muhammed built the Melik Gazi Medrese (old theological school) in 1230.

Mongolians which invaded whole of Anatolia in 1240 after the Kösedağ defeat converted Kırşehir into a rest stop for winter (kışlak) and a summer place in the plateau (yaylak). The long lasting military presence of Mongolians in Kırşehir turned it into an important political and military center.

kirsehir2.jpg (7951 bytes)Nureddin Cibril Bin Cacabey, who was appointed as Emir to Kırşehir in 1260's, started the first significant construction activities of the Turkish period, thanks to the good relations he established with the Mongolians. Cacabey Medrese which was one of the first schools of astronomy and Cacabey Inn near Kızılırmak as well as numerous big and small buildings were all realized during his times.

In the 13th century, Ahi Evran which organized the Anatolian Turkish union in general and the organization and unification of the trade and craftsmen in particular, came to Kırşehir after Denizli, Konya and Kayseri and carried out his mission there, turning Kırşehir into the center of the Ahi movement. After the leader Ahi Evran, Kırşehir sustained its position as the center of the Ahi. The decisions taken at the lodge in Kırşehir were influential from Azerbaijan to Bosnia-Herzagovina.

In 1293, Mevlana's son Sultan Veled sent ambassadors to certain centers in Anatolia, with the aim of spreading the Mevlevi belief. The person assigned to Kırşehir was Şeyh Süleyman Türkmani. Süleyman Türkmani established a lodge in Kırşehir and spread Mevlevi belief from this base. His close relationship to Mevlana and Mevlana's appreciation of him are apparent from his letters.

It is also known that Mevlana's son Alaaddin fled to Kırşehir after his name got involved in the case of Şemsi Tebrizi murder in Konya. All this show that Kırşehir was one of the important centers of the Mevlevis in Anatolia.

Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, who came to Suluca Karahöyük, received a great number of people there, who had a leaning towards his ideas.

Kırşehir continued to be one of the most important political, social and cultural centers of Anatolia from 13th to the middle of the 15th century.

In the beginning of the 14th century, Famous Sufi Aşık Paşa who was one of the prominent people which brought progress to Anatolia wrote his Garibnâme of 12 thousand couplets. After Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey who wanted to establish Turkish as the official language, Aşık Paşa became the most important advocate of the Turkish culture and brought it into the language of literature in the most successful way.

Great Sufi scholar Ahmet Gülşehri who translated Mantık-ut Tayr by Ferideddin Attar who lived in Kırşehir into Turkish, is known as the greatest poet after Yunus Emre.

In addition to all these, it is also speculated that Yunus Emre had lived in Kırşehir, died there and his grave is on the ziyaret (Visit) Hill in the Ulupınar District of Kırşehir.

Kırşehir Museum

The initial studies for the establishment of the Kırşehir Museum started in 1936. This was the period of Post - Republic Turkey when initiatives for new museums were strong. In Kırşehir a museum storage was formed by collecting certain stone works and ethnographic pieces at Alaaddin Mosque situated on what people a mound at the city center called the "castle" by the people. This initiative was soon forgotten until the establishment of a Commission for Historical Heritage by the Governor in 1975 and the Kırşehir Museum Directorate was established in 1980. The first listing of the coins was undertaken in 1981 and field work was started for the listing of in situ items of the future collection.

In 1985, the material collected so far was put on display in a 100 m² space at the premises of the Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate and a storage of 20 m² was arranged. With the start of the Kaman Kale tumulus archaeological excavations, the growth of the museum accelerated and in the same year first listing of the archaeological items was started.

In 1993 the material of the museum were put into storage at the Kırşehir Cultural center.

The work aimed at opening the museum to public accelerated in 1996. Kırşehir Museum which is now open to visits has more than 3300 items consisting of coins and ethnographic and archaeological materials.

Furthermore, the field work carried out by Kırşehir Museum Directorate has revealed 136 items of immobile cultural heritage and these were registered and taken under protection

Museum Display

The lower floor of what formerly was Fine Arts Gallery within the Cultural Center was opened to visits in 1997 as Archaeological Museum and a large section of the upper floor as the Ethnography Museum.

The major part of the archaeological material are from the excavations and surface investigations carried out in the region and from Kaman - Kale Tumulus and Malkaya in particular. In the archeology section the findings of the Kaman Kale Tumulus excavations are exhibited, which cover a period range in chronological order from the period of Assyrian Trade Colonies to the Ottomans period.

In one corner of the hall, marble works from Roman period are grouped. Islam period which starts with sarcophagus of children and grave stones, goes up to the Ottoman period with coin window displays.

The major part of the second floor is arranged as an ethnography museum. There are three display windows devoted to the Ahi institution which emerged from Kırşehir and various items related to Ahis or about them, including a head gear which is claimed to belong to Ahi Evran, the Ahi flag and various official documents and registers are displayed in them.

There is a rug loom in a corner, representing the rug making tradition in Kırşehir and a mannequin with local costumes weaving in front of the loom. In another corner there is an exhibition of daily life at a typical Kırşehir house.

Turkish Ministry of Culture
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