Trikala is one of the most important centers of the Teselya district. It is located 130 km. to the west of Larrisa (Yenisehir). It, including Larissa and surrounding cities, came under the dominion to the Ottoman Empire without any opposition of Yıldırım Bayezid in 1395. Hence, this district which was lost in the interregnum was retaken during the conquest of Selânik (Thessaloniki) by Murad II (1431). On 21 L, 1276 (May 12, 1860) Trikala was within the limits of Selânik (Thessaloniki) (BOA, A.MKT.NZD, 312/25) and it was a part of the Ioannina (Yanya) province in the Ottoman province system which was formed in 1864 (Sâlnâme-i Vilâyet-i Yanya, 1288, p.115). Later, it became a borough which contained seven districts and seven sub-districts.

Evliya Çelebi informs us that there were 16 Muslim and 8 non-Muslim neighborhoods and no Jewish neighborhoods in the city. Nevertheless, he says that the Jews come and go for trading. Çelebi writes of the very fancy houses made of stone and all roofed with red tile, with stone and lime walls, many vineyards, orchards and spring waters. These were the houses of sophisticated people of hight stature. He mentions that there were some famous palaces within them such as Abdülfettah Pasha Palace, Bey Palace, Judge Palace, Hasan Agha Palace, Mîrâhur Kethuda’s Palace and Zâimzâde Palace.

Çelebi further states:

“They told me that there are thousands of wellsprings as if they flow with aqua vitae. Actually, the city of Trikala is a land which is consisted of water. Many benefactors constructed domes over the hundreds of fountains and built small pools so that people and animals could quench their thirst. All of the waters of these fountains and spring waters mix together and go through the city then flow into the Kösdem River where they come to a place called ‘Kiremitlik’, flowing in the direction of Mecca. There is such plentiful water in this place that it’s called “Sweet Water”. All of the notable people of the city order water carriers to bring water from these sources and in fact, they are right to call the place ‘Sweet Water’. There are 320 water-wheels in the city, similar wheels exist in Adana in Turkey and Hama in Arabia. Water-wheels of all sizes turn with their own unique sounds all along the river throughout the city. Water is distributed by these water-wheels to the Turkish Baths, mosques water-tanks with fountains, palaces, houses, fruit and vegetable gardens, and to all places where water is needed. The streets of the city are neat and clean. Most of the community is wealthy and the inhabitants have a unique dialect.” “The region has more than thirty recreational picnic areas and that named after Osman Shah is the most famous of them all. There are seven kinds of wheat, barley, cotton and other products the grow in the fields located to the south of the city. It has many handsome, brave, young men and beautiful women. The weather and water are very delightful. There are lots of Muslim and non-Muslim, Greek, Armenian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Latin merchants in the city” (VIII, 1966, p.50). “Additionally, there are seventy private palace baths. The Abdülfettah Paşazâde and Turhan Beyzâde Baths are the best. In the thousands of small shops and sultan markets one can find any kind of valuable object in this city. It contains five khans and three public soup-kitchens for the poor; the Osman Shah and Ghazi Turhan Bey public soup-kitchens are the most famous. There are also bridges located at five different places in the cityto help people move about with ease” VIII, 1966, p.49). “In 1881, before the area was ceded to Greece according to the Treaty of Berlin, Trikala’s population was 12,000, but many families migrated afted that after which only about one third of its population remained Muslim.” (Gökbilgin, 1974, p.450). On 27 Za, 1314 (April 29, 1897) Trikala was retaken from the Greeks in the Ottoman- Greek War (BOA, Y.PRK.PT, 11/113). This event heartened the Muslim inhabitants (BOA, Y.PRK.MYD, 19/13). Several poems about this conquest of Trikala were written in celebration by Ottoman poets. One of which was written by Hafız Tevfik is given below in translation:

“The people and angels demanded benevolence from God

 These beseeching to God reached the firmament

 The destiny winded up the hour wheel well in which the prosperity exist  Here is a proof; the invasion year of Trikala



Hafız Tevfik 1313-14
Ahmed’s son; Mavnahoyuzâde Kasım from Girid Resmo
Teselya Tarihi I, 1313, p.43” (Kodaman, 1993, p.33)
Again another poem was dated:
“The mighty army of Hazret-i Abdülhamid Khan
Made their glory eternal by conquering Trikala;
I said me when I was given the good news
Trikala was retrieved; this became its best print in history”

1314 Lütfi
“Ahmed’s son; Mavnahoyuzâde Kasım from Girid Resmo
Teselya Tarihi I, 1313, p.36”

(Kodaman, 1993, p.28)

 Although Trikala was later given to Greece according to the Istanbul Peace Treaty, on 27 Za, 1315 (April 19, 1898) many Greek bandits who had beenn terrorizing the city left as the Ottoman Army arrived and the Ottoman flag was hoisted above Trikala Castle. The city was then armed in order to stop them from returning and soon returned to prosperity (BOA, Y.PRK.ASK, 137/48). Despite this the Ottomans were soon to lose control of this city once again. Ghazi Turhan Bey (the son of one of the Rumelian conquerors, Pasha Yiğit of Üsküp/Skopje), and after him, his son Ömer Bey played important roles in Trikala’s, even the whole Teselya region’s conquest, management and public improvements (Gökbilgin, 1974, p. 250). The charitable foundations of Ghazi Turhan and Ghazi Ömer Bey Mosque, the charitable institution and the other charities in Larissa and Trikala, VGMA, are registered in the Atik Defter Nr: 725, p.153 on 16 M, 1099 (November 22, 1687). On 7 Ca, 1161 (May 5, 1748) the non- Muslim head tax (cizye) from the year 1160 (1747-1748) of the large madrasah, the school, prayer hall, charitable institution and Masjids’ charitable foundation of Turhan Bey’s son Ömer Bey, in Trikala, was paid (BOA, C.MF, 33/1621). On 13 Za, 1310 (May 29, 1893) a report written by Mehmed Fehmi, one of the former Commissioners of Selânik (Thessaloniki) Police, indicated that the mosques and Masjids had been sold to the Christians (BOA, DH.MKT, 51/45). Unfortunately, it can be understood from this report that since 1893 the architectural artifacts, many of which where the properties of the charitable institutions, had changed hands through illegal and arbitrary decisions. Requests seeking the dissolution of these agreements requests were made by the charitable institutions which were still active during the time of the population exchange. During my visit I saw that the Osman Shah Mosque and Tomb, the castle, the Government Office, the Railroad Station and some houses in the “varousi” neighborhood are still standing.

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