World Bulletin/News Desk
Kayseri, a province in central Turkey and the birthplace of a famous Turkish architect, is the site of significant examples of stonemasonry, and is rich in history.
The town of Agirnas, with a population of 3,000, is the hometown of Mimar Sinan, a chief architect in the Ottoman Empire for sultans Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, and Murad III, whose works have unique beauty.
The population of the town, located twenty-seven kilometers from the city of Kayseri, may be low as it is located in a volcanic terrain.
However, the number of stonemasons in the region is considerable. Though the stone quarries in the town have been declared architectural preservation sites, and closed down, stonemasons continue to pursue their profession in neighboring villages.
Mimar Sinan’s home
The neighborhood’s narrow streets, historic stone buildings, which resist time, have made Agirnas famous. Outstanding among these structures is Mimar Sinan’s home, a three-story building, which today serves as a museum.
Pictures of important works of Sinan the architect are displayed in the museum, in 2,500 square meters of living space with underground space.
Almost all of the historic sites in the town are connected by a complex of tunnels. The ground floor of Mimar Sinan’s home stands out with a wide salon and is open to the underground city.
“Agirnas is a very important historical center representing about 3,000 years of history,” Kayseri Governor Orhan Duzgun told The Anadolu Agency.
“Mimar Sinan was born and grew up here, his ideas emerged from here,” Duzgun said.
The governor said that Turks, Armenians and Greeks lived peacefully, in tolerance, as brothers for years in the town. A great example of the unity they lived in were the mosques and churches located on the same street.
Tuff stone, soft enough to be carved, too hard to collapse
Due the region’s volcanic terrain, the tuff stone there is soft enough to be carved, but too hard to collapse, the governor said.
“This region is not suitable for agriculture due to its volcanic nature," said Duzgun. "As a result, people have been directed to other jobs -- like stonemasonry."
The governor stated that weaving and stone carving became important handcrafts.
“Mimar Sinan spent his childhood in this region and his ability to design developed here,” he said.
The governor also said the town is frequently visited by local and foreign tourists coming to Kayseri. To attract tourists, the town has restored historic monuments, but still needs to do more.
Last Mod: 29 Kasım 2014, 00:18