Larissa / Yenisehir is located in the Teselya region in the middle of the Larissa valley along the Pinios (Kösdem) River. It is mentioned in several works that the city joined the Ottoman Government in the 1430s. Evliya Çelebi states that the city was conquered in 848 (1444), during the period of Murad II and that after his death, the city was lost again.

During the reign of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror (Fatih), it again came under Ottoman rule due to the efforts of Ghazi Turhan Bey, the Turkish governor. The first such rule of the city was organised during this period (Neşri II, 1949, p.731). Fatih himself visited Larissa during the Peloponnese expiditions in 862 (1457) and founded the local government. The area became a central district of Rumelia.

The Land Registration of 912 (1506) records the Muslim neighborhoods of the city as; Hüssam Hodja or Emirî Neighborhood, Sofîler Neighborhood, Kazancıoghlu or Hodja İbrahim Neighborhood, Ramazan Neighborhood, Tabağlı Neighborhood, Tekelü Neighborhood, Mehmed Bey Timur Neighborhood, Hatib Hoca Neighborhood (Halaçoğlu, 1974, p.91).

Evliya Çelebi, who visited Larissa, wrote the following:

“As it was founded by the pazarcıbaşı (The head purchasing agent) of King Luka, the Greek historians referred to the city as “dâr-ı tüccar” (the county of  merchants). In time it developed and became known as Yenişehir (Larissa), after being conquered by Sultan Murad II’s son Çelebi Mehmed Khan in 848 (1444)"

 (VIII, 1966, p.40).

"After Murâd Khan (Sultan Murad II) passed away, the infidels (non- Muslims) occupied Larissa. Turhan Bey reconquered the city in the reign of Fâtih Sultan Mehmed. According to the records of the period, Turhan Bey became the District Governer of Trikala in Rumelia and governed the region with an army of four hundred. This region has two hundred properous villages."

"The Bezestan (a covered market for cloth goods) is set on a high place in the middle of the city. The other charitable institutions were built on a flat area along the lowlands. It is such a big city that it reaches to the Kösdem River in the east. This big river flows from the Papanya Mountains and passes through the villages of Mecova to the west. It is a 12 hour journey north to the place called Bababurnu where the river empties into the Mediterranean Sea. This place is wide enough for a ship to pass. This mighty river provides a living for those that live along its banks."

"The mosques contain seventy-one mihrabs. Twenty-two of them have minarets made of stone and at which the Friday prayers are read. They are big places of worship, as much as Selâtin Mosque. The most sumptuous of them is the lead domed Hasan Bey Mosque which is located at the foot of the bridge.

The structure is a beautiful work of art of the old style"

(VIII, 1966, p.41).  

"There are neighborhood masjids, Dâr-üt-tedris (the place where lectures are given), Dâr-ül-kur’ân, Dâr-ül-hâdis (the place where Prophet Muhammad’s sayings/deeds were taught), and Primary Schools at twenty-two places. There were Dervish lodges in ten places. There are five special Turkish Baths for the public to use for relaxation in the city. They said that there are four hundred more private baths within the city. The water for all of these pleasure providing Baths comes from the Kösdem River."

There are eight hundred and eight artisan shops and workplaces in the city. One can find any kind of merchandise here. There are also an additional twenty-one merchant khans in the city whose roofs are all tiled. According to the Land Registrations of the city, there are four thousand very well made stone houses. The walls of all of the houses are coated with lime"

(VIII, 1966, p.42).  

 "It has lots of palaces (villas) that have wide gates. The palaces and the wide avenues and streets are all surrounded by gates that can be closed with large wooden poles. The Nightmen and aghas close these gates at the sounding of the drum each night so as to provide safety within the city. The shops are located around the Bezestan. The downtown area and the bazaar are much safer than the castle, so much so that thousands of goods as valuable as the Egyptian treasures can be found there."

"The city has ten bridges that cross the Kösdem River. There are three hundred places (sebilhane) throughout the city where the people can get water for free. Charitable people pass by the River with their horses and mules in summer and winter carrying and distributing water for the souls of the martyrs of Hüseyin and Kerbelâ. As there are no fountains in the city, there is no greater charity than this distribution of water. However, there are many wells in the houses, three thousand sixty of which provide water that can be used. As this city is founded on a very high place, it is very hard to carry water to it" (VIII, 1966, p.43).

 According to a travel book from 1812- 1813, there were 24 mosques, 2 of which were quite large, in the city, which was a District centre. There were 4000 houses with 20 thousand people. Three fourths of them were Turks and the rest were Rumelian and Jews (Holland, 1815, pp. 254, 258, 266-267).

The city no longer belonged to Ottomans after the Treaty of İstanbul of 1881. A map dated 9 Ş, 1243 (February 25, 1828) by Halil Bey, an Engineer, was drawn in order to surround the city with bastions (Halaçoğlu, 1974, pp.89-100). This map holds great importance since it included the city plan and a list of the buildings with their names. Today, most of these examples of Ottoman period architecture have disappeared due to neglect. Two further reasons for the destruction of many of these places are the earthquake that took place in the region on March 1, 1941 and World War II.

Alasonya

A small town located in the north of the Teselya region in Larissa. It was a district center in the Province of Manastır during the Ottoman Empire.

Evliya Çelebi, who visited Alasonya, wrote the following: "The builder of this high castle is King Maşkılor, the son of King Romanya. After, Ayasonya, the daughter of King Romanya becomes the queen. She was more successful than her father in terms of developing the city. It was accidentally called Alasonya instead of Ayasonya. After the castle was occupied by Islam, the city was called Alasonya. In the Rumelian language, the word "aya" means saint. According to the non-Muslims, Ayasonya means queen, female saint. Therefore the Rumelians, Serbians and Latins show their respect to this city. It was ruled by many kings and it was conquered by Ghazi Hüdâvendigâr but then retaken by non-Muslims. Laslty, it was reconquered by Sultan Mehmed (the Conquerer) who is the master of all conquerers.

Immediately after this it was occupied by Rumelians and Bulgarians. Finally, Sultan Bayezid conquered Serfice and Alasonya, places that he moved through when he was on his way to conquer the Koron and Modon castles in the Peloponnese. He had parts of the castle demolished so that nun- Muslims could not occupy them again. He bestowed the castle on Ghazi Turhan Bey who struggled to conquer the centre of the city. Later, he conquered many other castles that were located around the city. Some remains can still seen"

(VIII, 1966, p. 37).

 "According to the registrations of Sultan Süleyman, the city of Alasonya is in the Rumelia state. However, the lands of the district of Tirhala are the property of the Valide Sultan. Its governor governs this city with his three hundred fifty-two men. It is a township worth three hundred coins. The five cornered, small citadel was a beautiful structure made of stone, located on a yellow stone on a high hill. Some parts of it had collapsed. There is a church and a few houses belonging to non-Muslims and other charitable instutions located beneath it.

Hundreds of houses of this city are gathered on a high foothill. In the direction of Mecca is a desert that takes two hours to traverse. There are low, rocky mountains at the other end of it. The city is located at a place that looks like the rim of a bowl. There are seven neighborhoods; half of them are Muslim and the other half of them are non-Muslim neighborhoods. The city consists of 655 large houses which are made of stone, covered with tile in little gardens. Some of the houses that are located at fifteen different places, are tall, foursquare villas with towers just like in Serfice. However, the area has many non-Muslim bandits and other brigands. There are eleven mihrabs in the seven neighborhoods of the city. Friday prayers are observed in four of them and the others are neighborhood Masjids.

Other than these Masjids, there is a madrasah and a Dervish lodge. It is such a lodge that it is called the Dervish Lodge Mosque. There is a public soup-kitchen in the courtyard of the Çarşı Mosque and it has plenty of foods for the poor, the rich and for everyone. The city has one primary school and there is a big khan near the Mosque. There are eighty shops and half of them are located beyond the Elembuz River and the other half are located before the river"

(VIII, 1966, p. 38).

"There are no footpaths in the city but there is never mud anywhere. There ground is sand as far as the eye can see. There are no fountains because it is located near the refreshing waters of the River.

Once a year, during the month of July, in the most productive of seasons, approximately two or three hundred rich Greek, Arabian and Persian merchants and others from the seven different climates bring their valuable products from their regions and together, they set up markets, bazaars and shops for a week. For fifteen days the city of Alasonya looks like a sea of men and it becomes as crowded as Arafat Square. There is so much trading and shopping it is as if the treasures of Egypt are being collected. Thousands of packets of goods are untied and thousands more packets are bought and bundled. The soldiers of the Selanik Janissary Agha and the Pasha of Tırhala provide security during this huge street festival, along the river and for the merchants. There are more than a thousand shops that trade at this festival. Thousands of tents of all sizes are set up. These are only used once a year and at the other times they remain empty. These little shops operate under the charity of the Valide Sultan. All of the income belongs to the Valide Sultan and they are collected by the Voyvoda. On the twentieth day of the festival, everybody slowly disspates back to where they have come from, many in large gatherings. It is impossible to truly explain this huge collective" (VIII, 1966, p.39).

The remains of Hafiz Abdülezel Pasha, martyred during Turkish-Greek War of 1897 (1313) is buried in the courtyard of the İmaret (Marketplace) Mosque. Records concerning the expenses of the people from Teselya who were settled in Alasonya exists with a date of 21 N, 1317 (January 23, 1900), (BOA, A.MKT.MHM, 508/16).

Most of the Turkish people of Alasonya left the city in 1912 when it passed from under Ottoman rule, and rest left during the time of the population exchange. The refugees from Alasonya were settled in Amasya, Tokat and Sivas in Turkey according to a decision of the Cabinet Council dated July 17, 1923 (İpek, 2000, p.42). The Ottoman era Customs House, Bridge, Muharrem Pasha Mosque and a gravestone were inspected during our visit.

 Farsala 

Çatalca is located in the Teselya Region 40 km. southwest of Larissa. It was a district centre in the Ottoman period and was one of the places where Selânik (Thessaloniki) Juruks (nomadic shepherds) were settled (Acaroglu, 2006, p.300). More than half of the population had Turkish names in the villages and many Muslim people used to live in those villages. This can be observed with a careful reading of the Teselya Tahrir Defter Registration at the Prime Ministry’s Ottoman Archive in İstanbul. The archive covers the years 1466, 1506, 1521 and 1569-1570 (Kiel, 2009, p.54). Every year on August 20 a big festival took place in Çatalca (İnciciyan- Andreasyan, 2-3, 1973-1974, p.64).

Çatalca was under Ottoman rule from 1389 until 1882. The Ottoman subjects that lived in Larissa, Trikala, Galos and Çatalca requested permission to emigrate on 23 Z, 1315 (May 15, 1898), (BOA, Y.PRK.ASK, 138/16). Refugees from İzladi and Larissa (Yenişehir) were temporarily settled in Çatalca on 27 M, 1327 (February 14, 1909), (BOA, DH.MKT, 2743/5).

The only remaining artifacts that are still standing are the Ratip Ahmed Pasha Bridge and the Durbalı Sultan Bektashi Lodge.

Tyrnavos

It was an old Turkish town in the Teselya region. Evliya Çelebi visited the town and had this to say concerning Tırnovî:

“It was an old village at the old times. Its inhabitants are skilled cloth and fabric weavers so it is protected by the guild of the Jannisaries. As they are exempt and Muslims the place has developed and become a city. Located on the Elembuz Plains on the western side of Yenişehir (Larissa), Tırnovi is located on the foothills from south along west. There are 3500 Rumelian houses that are covered with tile. The houses are close to each other and do not have vineyards or orchards. There is only one Muslim neighborhood. There is a small mosque, a bath, a masjid, eleven khans and a thousand sixty shops. The houses are close to each other and are narrow. Hundreds of clerks were not able to take a census of the city depite the Royal decree of the Sultan. As there were lots of non-Muslim people the place was called non-Muslim’s place. This city is more develeped than Yenişehir” (VIII, 1966, p.40).

Yenişehir no longer belonged to Ottomans since 1881 with the Treaty of İstanbul so Tırnovî became a border. Yenişehir was retaken in 1313 (1897) which is why Tırnovi lost its position for a while. Tırnovi came under the dominion of Greece in 1912. There were Turks and Rumelians in the town they were living together. During the population exchange the areas Turkish inhabitants were obliged to immigrate to their motherland and Rumelians were settled in their place (Acaroğlu, 2006, p.542).

Currently, the Municipality of Tyrnavos is connected to Larissa and has a population of 15000. During ourvisit we saw that the Hadji Ali Effendi Bath and one of the walls of the Border Police Stations were still standing.

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