Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Theme / Islamic Culture

Ahlat Tombstones

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Ahlat Tombstones

About the site

Corridor: Diagonal Road
Country: Turkey, Bitlis
Type: Cultural Landscape
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Islamic Culture
World Heritage:
Middle AgesIslamic CultureCultural Landscape

The Tombstones of Ahlat the Urartian and Ottoman citadel are located within the provincial boundaries of Bitlis in the East Anatolia.
Though the history of the city dates back to 900 BC, its famous for her tombstones dating to 12th-15th centuries AD. It has an important place in the Islamic world in their variation within Anatolian tomb architecture in dimension and design.
Apart from some small cemeteries here and there in Ahlat there are six main cemeteries of historical importance named; Harabe sehir cemetery, Tahti Suleyman cemetery, Kirklar cemetery, Kale cemetery, Merkez cemetery, Meydanlik cemetery.
These works are not only important sources of information on the technical and decorative repertoire of the period, but also act as historical sources for important masons and craftman, whose names appear in inscriptions there.
Calligraph one of the major elements of Seljuk decoration is distinctly an Islamic component of their art. In the Islamic world calligraphy is considered the most important of all the arts because of its role in recording the word of God as revealed in the Koran.
There are some other Seljukian tombs and cemeteries in the east of Turkey but it is incomparable in numbers and size of the site.

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