Karaferye is a city located 60 km. southwest of Thessaloniki in the foothills of the Vermiyo Mountains. It was conquered during the 2nd Çirmen or Meriç Battles, in 1372, by Ghazi Evrenos Bey and Hayrettin Pasha (Uzunçarşılı I, 1998, p.171-172). Yıldırım Bayezid gave great importance to Karaferye making it an outpost for an advance guard of mounted Ottoman troops in the Teselya district. The Ottomans lost control of Karaferye in 1402, a short while after the Ankara War but it was reconquered by Musa Çelebi and its castle was demolished in 1430. Karaferye became a Judicial Administrative District at the cost of 3000 coins at the time when Selânik was organised as a district. Evliya Çelebi gave the following information about Karaferye: “In 774 (1372-1373), in the period of Sultan Murad I; Ghazi Evrenos was appointed as the commander to take the castle. He chose Karaca, Karakoca, Kara Foça, Kara Mürsel and Kara Ferye as his advance guards. When these men arrived at the castle, they immediately scaled the ramparts. It was the ghazi named Kara Ferye who, with his men, first conquered it and therefore this castle is called Kara Ferye. After this conquest, the castle was further developed. Although it did not house castle guards and soldiers, it held a lot of notables and dignitaries. In the past the castle was on quite steep ground. The building that is still referred to as the water entrance is a tower as high as two minarets. On both sides of this castle are cliffs like the entrances to Hell. The city was founded within a wide canyon that has hills and creeks. It consists of 4000 one or two-storied tiled houses that have vineyards and orchards and refreshing waters. The Bekir Effendi Mansion and the Mustafa Agha Mansion are the most outstanding. There are sixteen Muslim quarters in the city and fifteen non- Muslim quarters, those being: Rumelian, Serbian, Bulgarian and Latin and three Jewish quarters. There are sixteen mosques that were built by the sultan or someone from his family” (VIII, 1966, p.32). “Other than the mosques there are nine neighborhood Masjids and three madrasahs. It has one Primary school. There are five ceremonial Dervish lodges. Of the five double baths that are open to the public for washing and socializing, the most beautiful is the Tuzcu Sinan Bath. Other than these, there are 70 palace baths, three public soup-kitchens for the poor and six hundred shops. It has fifteen big and small, sumptuous khans which supply all kinds of goods. There are many watermills that can be found throughout the city such as can not be found in any other place” (VIII, 1966, p.33). “The white lace linens, handkerchiefs, bathing cloths and shirts and a variety of silk bed sheets produced there can not be found in any other place and such goods are sent as gifts to every country and especially to Ottoman notables and viziers” (VIII, 1966, p.34). “The most prosperous period of Karaferye is the period of Yavuz Sultan Selim. Ahi Çelebi, one of the most important writers and literature historians lived there. Sinan Bey, Yavuz Sultan Selim’s Director of the Mint moved there and had an important role in the cultural and public improvements of the city. Ahi Çelebi’s tomb is also located there” (Tuğlacı, 1985, p.361). “There are rice fields and fruit orchards surrounding the shops and mosques of Karaferye which is located northwest of Selânik. Beside it being the Judicial Administrative District, tufted seat covers were being produced in the city, called “vellençe” or “kebe” (İnciciyan- Andreasyan, 2-3, 1973-1974, p.50). “The city became famous for its cotton textiles and silk industry during the Ottoman Period with the towels produced here being sent to Istanbul to be marketed there. The city suffered a huge conflagration in 1864. Karaferye was rebuilt with more fire-resistant materials being used, the main streets were widened and some other adjustments were made” (Yerolimpos, 1999, p.45). “Karaferye, a district governership that was connected to Selânik, consisted of 71 villages and farms and a district called Ağustos (Naussa). According to the Selânik District Salname (Yearbook) of 1324 (1906); there were 2131 residences and a population of 14000. There were 19 mosques and a masjid, 4 Dervish lodges, 3 madrasahs, 2 Junior High schools and 7 Primary schools. In 1910-1911, the Karaferye borough contained 66 villages. There were 22, 241 Greek, 8672 Turkish and 1719 Jewish people living in these villages” (Valsamidis, 1998, pp.355-356). On October 16, 1912, during the Balkan Wars, the Greek army took control of the city. Some of the Muslim population left the city during the troubles and the rest left after the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne. Karaferye refugees were sent to Amasya, Tokat and Sivas in Turkey according to the bylaw of the Cabinet Council dated July 17, 1923 (İpek, 2000, p.42). The first Turkish scholar specializing in Hittitology, Prof. Dr. Sedat Alp (1913) and composer Hafiz Hüseyin Tolan (1910) were born in Karaferye. During the exchange, the requisitions of the charitable foundations of Atik Mosque, Ghazi Mehmed Bey Mosque, Çukur Dervish Lodge Mosque, Eminzâde Mosque, Tuzcu Sinan Masjid, Abdullah Çelebi Masjid, Baba Dervish Lodge, Çelebi Sinan Bey Charities, Çarşamba Dervish Lodge, Cuma Dervish Lodge, Sarıcızâde Masjid and the Madrasahs were established.


During the Ottoman Empire, Naussa was a district centre connected to the Selânik province; today it is a town in the district of Imathia, connected to Veria (Karaferye). In the Ottoman Period it was the site of a quarry where valuable red marble was quarried (Inciciyan-Andreasyan, 2-3, 1973-1974, p. 52). Evliya Çelebi, who visited Ağustos, gave the following description: “It was connected to the Karaferye district in the Selânik province. It is a developed town in the Ağustos foothills where one can see markets and bazaars, and well developed vineyards and orchards. It is a place with a good climate, good water and quite beautiful buildings. As Ghazi Evrenos drew up the charter of the vakif, he judged that the town’s inhabitants and all people living there were quite rich” (VIII, 1966, p.32). It was destroyed as a result of the rebellion by the Greek residents in the town on 29 Z, 1255 (March 4, 1840). After this it was decided that a small castle and a mosque with the capacity to accommodate one hundred people would be built. Muslims would be brought in from the surrounding areas and they would be resettled in the new houses in the neighborhood. The houses would be the property of the Sultan and would be administrated by the Royal Mint (BOA, C.DH, 140/6991). The first modern factories within the boundaries of today’s Greece and a spinning mill were founded in Ağustos in 1874 and the town soon became an important industrial centre of the Macedonia region. Its population, which was 5000 in 1880, increased to 10,000 by 1905 (Yerolimpos, 1999, p.32-34). Tahsin (Uzer) Bey, who was the governor of the Ağustos region from March 22, 1316 (April 4, 1900) to October 16, 1316 (October 29, 1900), gives the following information about the region: “I came to the Ağustos region in the month of April, 1900. This is a prosperous town, with 2000 houses, it is not a village. It is within easy distance of Selânik. The population is 10,000, One thousand of which are Muslim. So as not to burden the municipality financially I personally financed the rebuilding of all the footpaths of the city. The city was suitable for development but it had not been mapped. A Geometry teacher at the Selânik Senior High School, Nazif Bey, was commissioned to create the map in exchange for 500 liras”(Uzer, 1999, pp.62-63). The artifacts that are standing in Ağustos today are; the clock tower, the railroad station, a few houses and a building that we believe was once the government office.

The Last Azan In Karaferye

“Muezzin İsmail Effendi had climbed the stairs of the minaret five times a day for many years but this time he climbed them slowly. He stared out into the darkness of the lowlands at the dim lights of the houses below in the silence and the chill of darkness. He put his hands to his ears thinking that this would be the last of the hundreds of ezans(the calling of the faithful to prayer), that he had recited in this little town, the town where his ancestors had lived for hundreds of years. He sighed, closed his eyes, and with tears running down his face into his grey beard, he started to recite the final azan slowly and touchingly. For the last time, the Imam and the congregation listened to the azan as it was being recited by İsmail Effendi at the mosque lit only by oil-lamps. They all bowed their heads and cried. As far away as the furthest houses of the town, all waited in utter silence for the azan to finish with their heads bowed, sharing the same sense of sadness. The Imam, Şefik Effendi, led his congregation in performing the ritual prayers (namaz) and finishing, turned his head to the right and the left signaling the end of the namaz. At that time, the weeping of the crowd echoed in the silence, they bowed their heads and as if they would not all be moving to different places the next day, as if they weren’t thinking that they might never see each other again they made for home with a great many thoughts in their heads. After the congregation dispersed, Şefik Effendi saw that there was nobody left but muezzin İsmail Effendi who was standing at the door. He said “İsmail Effendi, you can leave too. I’ll close the door.” And without a word İsmail Effendi stepped out through the doors. The Imam, Şefik Effendi, wrapped himself in his robe, crouched where he had been standing and removed his turban. He thought of the visits he had made to the mosque as a child with his grandfather, the times that he had led the namaz during the sacred Feasts at the mosque, the celebrations that had taken place in the courtyard and the lessons that he had been taught by the hodja of the mosque. If anyone had told him that on this date would be the last time when he would lead the namaz at the mosque, he would probably have said that it was a bad dream. But, the day that they had first heard of as a rumor and then were officially notified of by the Gendarmerie commander and the leaders of the congregation, had indeed arrived. The next day these people would be leaving the land where they had lived for hundreds of years, where they had buried their ancestors. The duty to lead the last namaz in this historical mosque had fallen on his shoulders. He stood up slowly from the place where he had crouched down and blew out the oillamps one by one. He went up the minbar accompanied only by the flickering light of the last oil-lamp. He kissed then touched the Kur’an to his forehead before wrapping it and placing it against his bosom. He walked slowly to the door, took the huge key from under the carpet, and as he had always done, he turned it twice in the lock. In the cool darkness of the night he said; “May God help us and may the souls of our ancestors protect our mosque.”, and then he disappeared into the darkness with tears once again running down his cheeks.





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