Eshab-ı Kehf Kulliye

Afşin Ashab-ı Kehf


Useful Information

Location: Between Başüstü and Emirli, Afşin, Kahramanmaraş Province. (38.248544, 36.855168)
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Dimension: Ar=100m², H=1.4-1.8m.
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Address: Eshab-ı Keyf Kulliyesi, Başüstü, Eshab-I Keyf Kulliyesi, 46500 Afşin/Kahramanmaraş.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

446 Christian church built by Theodosius II.
1215-1233 Seljuk governor Nasretüddin Hasan Bey builds a mosque, a caravanserai and fortified barracks.
Buk’a’ built by the command of Suleyman Bey.
1480-1492 Madrasah (religious school) built by Alauddevl Bey, the ruler of the Dulkadir Beyliği.
1500 Kubbetu’s Serif (Women Masjid) built by Shams Hatun, Alauddevle's wife.
1531 construction of Minnet Celebi Masjid today known as Pasa Cardagi during the time of Suleiman the Magnificent.
2015 on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.

Description

The Külliye is known as the cave of the Seven Sleepers. It is also named Eshab-ı Kehf Kulliye (People of the Cave Caravansery), Mağara Arkadaşları (Cave of the Friends) or Ashab'ul Kehf Mağarasi (People of the Cave Cave, yes, its a tautology). A Christian church was built by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II in 446 CE on this site. Barracks and a guesthouse from Byzantine era existed near the cave.

Seljuk governor Nasretüddin Hasan Bey built a mosque, a caravansary and fortified barracks between 1215 and 1233 during the Seljuks of Anatolia era. The typical Kulliye (caravanserai), consisted of a ribat, a mosque (church) and a han (inn). Next the Buk’a’ was built by the command of Suleyman Bey. The Madrasah (religious school) was built by his son Alauddevl Bey, the ruler of the Dulkadir Beyliği. The Kubbetu’s Serif (Women Masjid) built by Shams Hatun, Alauddevle's wife. The ensemble was completed by the construction of Minnet Celebi Masjid (Kaba Naib Masjid), which is today known as Pasa Cardagi (Pahsa Pergola), in 1531 during the time of Suleiman the Magnificent. At this time the Byzantine buildings were in ruins. During the construction Byzantine marble from the barracks and the guesthouse was reused for decorative purposes, particularly on the Mosque.

The cave entrance opens to the northwest. It has an area of 100m² but is rather low, only 1.40m in many parts, some parts are 1.60m to 1.80m high. This means stooping most of the time. But the place which is recognized as where Eshab-ı Kehf fell asleep is fortunately in the first section and has an area of 30m². It has a tiled floor and a flat ceiling and is obviously artificial. The next sections seems like it was originally a natural cave, which was substantially enlarged. But it has a vaulted ceiling, shows small stalactites and stalagmites and water is dripping from the ceiling. The dripping water is collected and fills a cistern with a depth of 1.20m and a diameter of 3.70m. The water of the well is considered holy with healing properties, similar to the Zamzam well in Mekka.