Turkish dervish commemorated in Bosnia after 500 years

Ayvaz Dede is a 15th century dervish who moved to the Bosnian village of Prusats from Akhisar in western Anatolia.

Turkish dervish commemorated in Bosnia after 500 years


Bosnian Muslims have been celebrating their conversion to Islam five centuries ago with the traditional Ayvaz Dede fest. A wave of excitement was experienced last Sunday marking the Ayvatovista celebrations, which begins with a long walk to the Ayvatovista valley.

People first gathered in Prusats in the early morning and started walking to symbolically follow the path of Ayvaz Dede. Not only Bosniaks but also Muslims from other nations also attended the fest. Turkish soldiers in Bosnia as part of a peace mission were also in the fest and they distributed water, caps and flags to people.

The guides who represent a city of Bosnia walk at the front on their horses. Nearly, 300 horsemen were among the people walking to the valley. It was believed that Ayvaz Dede had walked all the way through the valley in order to bring water to the village.

An 8 km long walk to commemorate Ayvaz Dede

Those attending the fest are pretty satisfied to be a part of five-century tradition. When they arrive Ayvatovista after walking 8 km, their exhaustion is over. The fest began in an area decorated with Turkish and Bosnian flags.

One of the attendees was the mufti of Travnik, Nusret Abdibegovich, who thanked Turkey in his speech and said "First of all, I salute you. I extend my appreciation to the Turkish officials who came here with us, Turkish government and Turkish people for being with us."

Ayvaz Dede is a 15th century dervish who moved to the Bosnian village of Prusats from Akhisar in western Anatolia.

Some believe Ayvaz Dede had come to Bosnia before the Ottoman conquest and he has been viewed as the pioneer of Islam. His legacy has always been a stronger part of Bosnia-Turkey relations.

According to other rumors, however, Ayvaz Dede had accompanied Ottoman troops led by Sultan Mehmet II in 1463. He was assigned to tell Islamic values and principles to the people in Bosnia. One day Ayvaz Dede became thirsty and started to search for a water source. Although he was able to find a source, it was impossible to bring the water to the nearest town because of a gigantic rock standing on headwaters. He had prayed for 40 days to Allah for the destruction of the rock. On the last day, while he was asleep next to the rock, in his dream he saw two goats knocking heads to the rock and it splintered. After woke up, he saw the rock divided into two. Following this miracle, Bosnians massively converted to Islam.

The reason why thousands of people come together every year in a Bosnian town is a rock which divided into two after Ayvaz Dede prayed for it. Departing from Akhisar, in western Anatolia, Ayvaz Dede arrived at the heart of Balkans and he gained hearts and minds of the people. Therefore, Turks are more than welcomed in this land.

Attending the festival from Turkey, author Sinan Yagmur expressed his happiness saying "I am really very happy to be in Bosnia which has been Islam's flagbearer. I have found more peace here than Turkey. I feel like I am in my homeland. I am calling to all my Muslim fellows you should definitely visit Bosnia in your lifetime. Breathe the smell of this land. Bosnia Herzegovina is a part of our life."

Neither wars nor prohibitions could remove this traidtion. Thousands of Muslims were ready for the 504th time to follow the Muslim dervish's footpath who brought Islam to Bosnia.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Temmuz 2014, 12:45