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Grigor Boykov (Bilkent University, Ankara)

For years art historians have studied Ottoman architecture thanks to the many standing examples of magnificent constructions scattered all around the lands of the former Empire. A long tradition of scholarship focused on the Ottoman architectural achievements emphasizing the stages of development, diverse nature of original and borrowed elements in construction techniques, decoration etc. Professor Machiel Kiels numerous outstanding contributions to the field and his unique ability to combine in a single text observations on art and architecture together with the data from Ottoman administrative documents and valuable notes from his field research, greatly enriched our understanding of early Ottoman realities in Anatolia and the Balkans. Offering this short paper to Professor Kiels Festschrift has a particular meaning to me, because in most of my research I have been simply following his footsteps, trying to broaden topics that he has already touched upon. Until recently most works dealing with Ottoman architecture tended to present their subject, a building or a group of buildings, almost exclusively from an artistic or technical point of view, showing little appreciation for its wider social context. Thus, the buildings that are no longer extant were almost entirely neglected by historians of art and architecture, significantly limiting our knowledge of structures that had great importance in the past. This paper focuses on a number of buildings in the Balkans, which, despite their great significance during the Ottoman period, have disappeared altogether, having left their mark only in a few narrative and administrative sources. Tracing the history of Minnet Beg (d. end of 15th c.) and his descendents, my aim is to map out their vanished architectural legacy. Designed as informative rather than analytical, this paper points to the importance of studying and contextualizing buildings that fell victim either to the numerous wars in the Balkans or to the zealous desire of newly-born nations to erase almost every reminder of the Ottoman past. A study of this kind can add details to the interesting times of Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, the policy of revitalizing deprived areas and the significant



importance of a number of greater or smaller dynasties of lords of the marches (uc begleri) in the process. The transfer of Minnet Beg and his Tatars from skilip to Rumelia Our account of Minnetoullars vanished buildings and especially these sponsored by the most active family member, Mehmed Beg bin Minnet Beg, should begin with the deportation of their forefather from Anatolia to Rumelia in the early 15th century. The transfer of Minnet Begs Tatars from the area of skilip (orum region in Turkey) to the plain of Filibe (Plovdiv in modern Bulgarian Thrace) in 1418 is well known and has been exploited as a textbook story, illustrating Ottoman policy of forced population deportations (srgn). 1 The story of this relocation can be found in both Akpaazade and the anonymous chronicles, thus pointing to a common source. 2 Both traditions present a common narrative, according to which on his way back from Samsun Mehmed I (r. 14131421) stopped by skilip and ordered that a Tatar tribe led by a certain Minnet Beg is to be deported to Rumelia and settled in a place called Konu Hisar.3 The probable reason for this punitive action, presented by Akpaazade as a dialog between Mehmed and his vizier Bayezid Pasha, was the absence of Minnet Beg and his people at the campaign launched by the Sultan. 4 The mistrust of Mehmed could be also felt from the emphasis of the chroniclers on the fact that Minnet Beg appeared in Anatolia as part of Timurs army some 15 years earlier and that in fact he managed to build strong ties with the Samagarolus, the former rulers of this province and the sultans natural competitors. Apparently for the Ottomans it was easier to deal with the smaller and weaker clan of Minnet Beg, therefore these Tatars, similarly to other Anatolian nomads, were transferred to the vast and rich but depopulated plain of Thrace. The sources also point out that all of these Tatars settled in the region of Filibe, in a place called Konu Hisar, where we lose trace of the leader of the clan, Minnet Beg. His son Mehmed Beg, however, who is mentioned by Akpaazade as

While discussing in his classical work the Ottoman methods of forceful population transfers to the Balkans, . L. Barkan was among the first ones to point to the deportation of Minnet Beg and his people. Barkan, mer Ltfi. Osmanl mparatorluunda bir iskn ve kolonizasyon metodu olarak srgnler, in: stanbul niversitesi ktisat Fakltesi Mecmuas 15 (1953-4), pp. 209-11. 2 In his genealogy of the texts nalck names it a supplemented Yakhshi Faqih. nalck, Halil. The rise of Ottoman historiography, in: idem. From Empire to Republic. Essays on Ottoman and Turkish social history. Istanbul: Isis Press, 1995, pp. 1-16. 3 Cf. the editions of these chroniclers by Ali Bey. Akpaazade Tarihi. Tevrih-i l-i Osman. stanbul: Matbaa-i Amire, 1332/1916, p. 90; Giese, Friedrich. Die altosmanische Chronik des kpaazde. Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz, 1929, pp. 80-81; Atsz, Nihal. kpaaolu Ahmed k. Tevrh-i l-i Osman. in: idem. Osmanl tarihleri I. stanbul: Trkiye Yaynevi, 1949, pp. 152-53; Giese, Friedrich. Die altosmanischen anonymen Chroniken. Teil I: Text und Variantenverzeichnis. Breslau, 1922, p. 53; Azamat, Nihat. Anonim Tevrih-i l-i Osman. F. Giese neri. stanbul: Marmara niversitesi Edebiyat Fakltesi Basmevi, 1992, p. 57; Franz Babinger. Die frhosmanischen Jahrbcher des Urudsch: nach den Handschriften zu Oxford und Cambridge. Hannover: Orient-Buchhandlung Heinz Lafaire, 1925, p. 43 and 110; ztrk, Necdet. Oru Be tarihi. stanbul: amlca, 2007, p. 50. 4 This must have been the campaign against the sfendiyaroullar of late 1417 or early 1418. Ycel, Yaar. Anadolu beylikleri hakknda aratrmalar I. Ankara: Trk Tarih Kurumu, 1988, pp. 92-4; Imber, Colin. The Ottoman Empire 1300-1481. Istanbul: Isis Press, 1990, p. 88.



becoming a warrior of the faith (gazi), according to the chronicler revived the environs of Konu Hisar by constructing an imaret and a caravanserai. Mehmed Begs military and administrative career Indeed, unlike his father of whom we know very little, Minnetolu (Minnetzade) Mehmed Beg is a relatively known figure in the history of the 15th-century Balkans. There is not much information about his early years, so we must guess whether he inherited the position of a raider commander (aknc begi) from his father or made a name for himself, as Akpaazade claims. We could also speculate that the core of the detachment led by Mehmed Beg could have been composed mainly by people from his own clan. Traditionally known as good horsemen, Tatars were likely to be excellent raiders and one may surmise that Mehmed Beg had chosen his closest companions from among his kin. Although the early years of his career are obscure, it seems that Mehmed Beg proved to be a talented commander in a series of raids and succeeded to build a name at the Ottoman frontier during dramatic times when most of the important figures from the great raider commanders dynasties were present there too. One of Mehmed Begs raids we know about took place during the first Ottoman campaign against Serbia in 1458.5 On order of Mahmud Pasha (r. 1453-66 and 1472-4), the grand vizier of Mehmed II (r. 1444-6 and 1451-81), he led a large group of akncs who devastated the area enclosed between the rivers Danube and Sava or maybe even deeper into Hungarian territory as claimed by Solakzade.6 Mehmed Beg divided his troops into seven separate detachments and had a major success in the raid. Tursun Beg who supervised the collectors of the sultans share of the booty (penikis and armaancs) testifies for the rich spoils brought by the akncs.7 The authority acquired by Mehmed Beg in the border society could be felt not only from the fact that a figure like Mihalolu Ali Beg (d. before 1505), the then governor of Vidin, was placed under his command in the 1458 raid towards Srem (Ottoman Sirem),8 but also because of his appointment as the first sancakbegi of Serbia and Smederevo in 1459 when the important Danubian fortress of Smederevo (Ottoman Semendere) was finally taken by the Ottomans. In fact it seems that Mehmed Begs assignment as a sancakbegi of the land of Laz9 happened a year earlier, when Mahmud Pasha subdued most of Serbia, but Smederevo remained in the hands of the defenders until the following year. 10 He must have spent four to five years in administering the area, while
nalck, Halil and Rhoads Murphey. The history of Mehmed the Conqueror by Tursun Beg. Minneapolis and Chicago: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1978, f. 82a; Turan, erafettin. bn Kemal. Tevrih-i l-i Osman. VII. defter. Ankara: Trk Tarih Kurumu, 19912, p. 152. nalck, Halil. Tursun Beg, Historian of Mehmed the Conquerors time., in: Wiener Zeitschrift fr die Kunde des Morgenlandes, Vol. 69 (1977), pp. 55-71. 6 abuk, Vahid. Solak-zde tarihi, Vol. 1. Ankara: Kltr Bakanl, 1989, p. 297. 7 Tursun Beg (nalck-Murphey), f. 82a; entrk, M. Hdai. Gelibolulu Mustafa l. Knhl-ahbr: cilt II Ftih Sultn Mehmed devri (1451-1481). Ankara: Trk Tarih Kurumu, 2003, pp. 112-114. 8 Zirojevi, Olga. Smederevski sandjakbeg Ali-Beg Mihaloglu, in: Zbornik za istoriju Matica Srbska (Novi Sad: Matica Srbska, 1971), p. 10. 9 In contemporary Ottoman sources this referred to the territory under the Lazarevii rulers; roughly presentday Serbia excluding Vojvodina, Sandak, and Kosovo regions 10 The appointment of Minnetolu Mehmed Beg as a governor of Smederevo is mentioned only in the chronicle of Uruc. The Cambridge MS presenting the events after the surrender of Smederevo reads: ve



simultaneously carrying the duties of a frontier commander in the vicinity of the strategic fortress of Belgrade. Apparently Mehmed Beg was successful in his activities in the old Serbian lands, because in 1463, soon after Mehmed IIs campaign against Bosnia, he was assigned governor of the newly conquered province.11 Although he is commonly referred as the first Bosnian sancakbegi, Halil nalck argues that he took this post only after a very brief term of shakolu sa Beg (d. 1476?), who was deposed due to the flight of the Herezegovian ruler Stjepan Vuki Kosaa (d. 1466).12 nalck did not develop his argument further, but indeed it seems that Mehmed Beg took sa Begs place, regardless whether the latter was formally appointed as the new Bosnian sancakbegi or simply retained his ucbegi position.13 Mehmed Begs actions after he took up the rulership of Bosnia may confirm this assumption. Instead of heading towards Jajce, the last Bosnian capital, which should have been the natural choice of the new governor because of the citys vulnerability to Hungarian attack, the sources report that Mehmed Beg sent one of his subordinate commanders there. 14 The janissary Konstantin Mihailovi, an eyewitness of the events, states that at this time a certain voivode named Machomet Mumiatowicz held Bosnia, and in his place at Jajce was a servant of his named Usunharamibass15, stressing once more what should have been the proper place of the Bosnian governor. Instead, Mehmed Beg moved to the south and established himself in sa Begs recently created town of Sarajevo (Ottoman Saray Bosna). Mehmed Begs man who was entrusted with the defense of Jajce failed in fulfilling his duties and soon after surrendered to King Matthias of Hungary (r. 1458-90). In the following year (1464), in an attempt to regain the lost fortresses, Mehmed II appeared with his army in Bosnia and besieged Jajce again. However, fearing that the Hungarian forces advancing toward Zvornik could cut his retreat route, he left Jajce, ordering Minnetolu

Laz-li sancan Minnetolu Mehmed Bee virdi, Urudsch (Babinber), p. 125. In ztrks recent edition, which follows Bibliothque Nationale, ancien fonds Turc 99, it reads: Lz-ilini, Semendreyi, Minnetogl Muhammed Bege Lz-ilini virdi, Uru Be (ztrk), p. 115. Tursun Beg, without mentioning a name states that after Mahmud Pashas successful campaign (1458) a sancakbegi of Serbia was appointed. Tursun Beg (nalck-Murphey), ff. 85a-85b. In Ibn Kemal (VII. defter), p. 162, Mehmed Begs name appears as a ruler of Laz-ili. abanovi, Hazim. O organizaciji turske uprave u Srbiji u XV i XVI vijeku, in: Istoriski glasnik, Vol. 3-4 (1955), p. 61. 11 Ibn Kemal (VII. defter), p. 234; Unat, Faik Reit-Mehmed Kymen. Mehmed Neri. Kitb- cihan-nma. Ankara: Trk Tarih Kurumu, 1957, p. 767. Babinger, Franz. Mehmed the Conqueror and his time. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978, p. 224. 12 See nalck, Halil. Mehmed the Conqueror (1432-1481) and his time, in: Speculum, Vol. 35 (1960), p. 423. 13 abanovi also maintains that the reason for the appointment of Mehmed Beg was the failure of shak Beg in Herzegovina. abanovi, Hazim. Bosansko krajite, 1448-1463, in: Godinjak istoriskog drutva Bosne i Hercegovine, Vol. 9 (1957), pp. 212-13. 14 Ycel, Yaar-Halil Erdoan Cengiz. Rh Tarhi Oxford nshas, in: Belgeler, Vol. 14, No. 18 (19891992), p. 548; Akpaazade (Atsz), p. 213. 15 Mihailovi participated in the campaign of 1463 and after Sultans army withdrawal he was left in Zveaj in command of fifty janissaries. Konstantin Mihailovi. Memoirs of a Janissary, translated by Benjamin Stolz, historical commentary and notes by Svat Soucek. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1975, p. 141.



Mehmed Beg to carry on the siege.16 It is uncertain how long the siege commanded by Mehmed Beg continued, but it is known that it yielded no results, since Jajce remained in Hungarian hands for more than half a century. In the same year Mehmed Beg was deposed as Bosnian sancakbegi and his place was taken by shakolu sa Beg. Mehmed Beg was sent back to govern Smederevo, while Mihalolu Ali Beg, who occupied the post in the meantime, was reassigned as a sancakbegi of Vidin.17 Sarajevo (Saray Bosna) The city of Sarajevo, todays capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is one of the largest and certainly the most successful urban projects ever undertaken by the Ottoman periphery forces. A number of cities in the Balkans, like Yenice-i Vardar (modern Giannitsa in Greece), Ihtiman (modern Ihtiman in Bulgaria), Plevne (modern Pleven in Bulgaria), etc., owe their creation and development to the energetic support and sponsorship of the great dynasties of march lords in the Balkans, but none of them reached the extensive growth and cultural blossoming of Sarajevo. 18 Sarajevo came into existence as a result of the efforts of a single person the lord of the so-called Bosnian march (uc) shakolu sa Beg. A man of great charisma, one of the mightiest Balkan raider commanders, operating with enormous military and financial resources19, sa Beg began building Sarajevo from scratch supposedly towards the mid-1450s.20 By 1462, the date in which the endowment deed (vakfiye) of his convent (zaviye) in Sarajevo was composed, sa Begs project seems to have been largely accomplished.21 The town already had a Muslim nucleus around sa
Tursun Beg (nalck-Murphey), f. 118a; l (entrk), p. 139; Tansel, Selhattin. Osmanl kaynaklarna gre Fatih Sultan Mehmedin siyas ve askeri faaliyeti. Ankara: Trk Tarih Kurumu, 1953, p. 180. 17 abanovi, Turske uprave u Srbiji, p. 61 18 In two recent publications H. Lowry traced the advance of the Evrenosolu family along the Via Egnatia pointing to their utmost importance for the development of urban life in the area. Lowry, Heath. The shaping of the Ottoman Balkans, 1350-1550. The conquest, settlement & infrastructural development of Northern Greece. Istanbul: Baheehir University, 2008; Lowry, Heath and smail Ernsal. The Evrenos dynasty of Yenice Vardar. Notes & Documents on Hac Evrenos & the Evrenosoullar: a newly discovered late-17th century ecere (genealogical tree), seven inscriptions on stone & family photographs in: The Journal of Ottoman Studies/Osmanl Aratrmalar, Vol. 32 (2008), pp. 9-171; Kiel, Machiel. Yenice-i Vadrar (Vardar Yenicesi-Giannitsa): a forgotten Turkish cultural centre in Macedonia of the 15th and 16th century, in: idem. Studies on the Ottoman architecture of the Balkans. London: Variorum, 1990, Ch. IV. 19 According to an Ottoman document, in 1455 sa Beg had the astonishing income of more than 763 000 ake, deriving from his domains (hasses). The document reads: cmle mahsult-i sa Beg, veled-i shak Beg, gayri ez skb, yekn: 763 000 [sum of revenues of sa Beg, son of shak Beg, excluding skb, total: 763 000], which suggests that he was also in possession of certain undetermined amount of revenues from the area of skb (Skopje). The document is published by abanovi, Hazim. Krajite Isa-Bega Ishakovia. Zbirni katastarski popis iz 1455. godine. Sarajevo: Orijentalni Institut u Sarajevu, 1964, p. 3; f. 1v, facsimile I. 20 abanovi, Hazim. Postanak i razvoj Sarajeva, in: Radovi naunog drutva Bosne i Hecegovine, Vol. 13 No. 5 (1960), pp. 71-89. 21 The vakfiye was first published by Elezovi, Glia. Turski spomenici, Vol. 1, pt. 1 (Beograd: Izdanje zadubine Sofije i Ivana Stoiia, 1940), pp. 27-36 in translation from a copy kept by the administrator (mtevelli) of sa Begs foundation in Skopje. There is also an earlier, unavailable to me, publication of the same document in Glasnik Skopskog naunog drutva, Vol. 1 No. 1 (1925), pp. 170-176 in which, Elezovi says, he included a Turkish copy of the document. The more popular publication, based on Sarajevo copies,



Begs sponsored mosque (later to become known as Careva damija/Hnkr camii), adjacent public bath (hamam), and a caravanserai, surrounded by numerous shops, all easily accessible by the newly constructed bridge on the Miljacka River.22 Furthermore, the vakfiye mentions plots of land, held as private property (mlk) in 1462 by sa Begs son Mehmed Beg/elebi, on which soon thereafter he would construct his own buildings.23 It must be noted that although this important document was compiled only a year prior to Mehmed IIs major campaign against Bosnia, its actual foundations were laid sometime in the mid-1450s. This fact strongly suggests that following the long-lasting tradition of the Balkan march lords to rebuilt or establish new settlements along the line of the conquest, thus moving their seats closer to the border, the shakoullar, and more specifically their leader at that time sa Beg, unaware of what was to happen in the early 1460s, were preparing their new seat of power in the Western Balkans from where the conquest of Bosnia had to be accomplished.24 In this respect, Mehmed IIs decision to substitute the mighty lord, referred by the Ragusans as the actual ruler of Bosnia,25 with Minnetolu Mehmed Beg appears quite surprising. sa Begs failure in Herzegovina must have irritated Mehmed II and he installed in sa Begs own built centre a person of lesser importance. This fact might also explain the (at a first glance illogical) decision of Mehmed Beg to head towards Sarajevo instead of staying in Jajce, threatened by a Hungarian attack. Whatever happened in 1463, in the following year the Sultan changed his mind and brought Sarajevo and Bosnia back to sa Begs hands. One can only guess whether Mehmed Begs failure to protect Jajce or sa Begs strong influence became a reason for the shift of the Sultans mood, but Mehmed Beg left Sarajevo as suddenly as he appeared there. What is relevant for the purposes of this paper is the fact that Mehmed Begs term in Sarajevo, as short as it was, left behind an important legacy. Within only one year he succeeded to give a boost to the young settlement by sponsoring the construction of a small
is that of abanovi, Hazim. Dvije najstarije vakufname u Bosni, in: Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju, Vol. 2 (1951), pp. 7-29. The zaviye of sa Beg must have been a typical of that time T-shaped structure with three wings, including also a courtyard, stable etc. and had to provide services to the poor Muslims (fukarail-muslimin), theology students (talebetul-ilm), decedents of the Prophet (sadat), warriors of the faith (guzat) and the travelers (enbail-sebil), abanovi, Dvije najstarije vakufname, p. 9 and 17-8, which saw many later modifications. See Mujezinovi, Mehmed. Musafirhana i tekija Isa-Bega Ishakovia u Sarajevu in: Nae Starine, Vol. 3 (1956), pp. 245-52. Demal ehaji in his Derviki Redovi u Jugoslavenskim zemljama, Sarajevo: Orijentalni Institut, 1986, pp. 28-31 claims that the zaviye/tekke belonged to the Mevlevi order of dervishes. A recent study questions this opinion and urges for more careful approach, especially when dealing with its early period. Aeri, Ines. Neke napomene o problemima iz historije Isa-Begove tekije, in: Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju, Vol. 52/53 (2002-2003), pp. 339-50. 22 abanovi, Postanak i razvoj Sarajeva, pp. 86-7. 23 Zlatar, Behija. Vakuf Gazi Mehmed-Bega Isabegovia u Sarajevo, in: Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju, Vol. 55 (2005), pp. 217-26. 24 abanovi considers that there is a good chance that Sarajevo was attacked and some buildings destroyed by the Bosnian king Toma during his 1459 raid on Hodidjed. Although unsupported by sources this assumption seems very logical, since king Toma must have been aware of the emerging importance and threat which the new settlement posed to his territories. abanovi, Postanak i razvoj Sarajeva, p. 85. 25 Truhelka, iro. Tursko-slovjenski spomenici dubrovake arhive. Sarajevo: Zemaljska tamparija, 1911, p. 338, quoted in Zlatar, Vakuf Gazi Mehmed-Bega, p. 218.



communal mosque (mescid) and thus established around it the second neighbourhood (mahalle) of Sarajevo. The new building and respectively the neighbourhood were located across the river, facing the complex established a bit earlier by sa Beg. Mehmed Begs enterprise turned to be viable and his mahalle-i Mehmed Beg, bin Minnet became the second oldest in Sarajevo, and while growing slowly over time, it remained on Sarajevos map until the end of the Ottoman period. The emerging neighbourhood soon attracted more public attention and investments. Towards the end of the 15th century a certain sarra Hasan, son of irmerd constructed a school (muallimhane) there and added a new stone bridge across the river, supporting his enterprise by a pious foundation (vakf).26 We know nothing of the shape or style of Mehmed Begs building, but it should not have been an imposing structure since the administrative documents mention it as a mescid. A modest pious foundation, collecting incomes from the rent of shops built by Mehmed Beg and their plots, was established to support the personnel and the maintenance of the mosque.27 The building which was once situated to the south-west of todays Baarija (Main market quarter) stood until 1697, when along with many others it was set on fire during the Habsburg assault on the city.28 Later the mosque was rebuilt, but it remained standing for less than a century and disappeared after 1890 when it was destroyed again.29 This event put the final mark over Mehmed Begs long-lasting legacy in the modern Bosnian capital. His brief term in governing of what was at the time sa Begs land left behind a small mosque and a number of shops, which are all vanished today. However, Mehmed Begs tiny architectural contribution brought significant changes on Sarajevos map. He managed to establish and populate a second Muslim neighbourhood in the city, which stood for almost half a millennium. Smederevo (Semendere/Semendire) Mehmed Beg must have first appeared in Smederevo in 1459 immediately after its conquest. We know very little about his actions in the following years, but one may assume that he was occupied in establishing Ottoman administration in the area and probably, along with his fellow-aknc commanders, organized pillaging raids towards Belgrade, Zvornik or across the Danube. In 1463 Mehmed Beg left Smederevo for Bosnia and was replaced by one of the most prominent figures in the border society, Mihalolu Ali Beg. A year later he returned to Smederevo and retained the post of sancakbegi for several

91, 164, MAD 540 ve 173 numaral Hersek, Bosna ve zvornik livlar icml tahrr defterleri (926-939 / 1520-1533). Vol. 2, Facsimiles. Ankara: T.C. Devlet Arivleri Genel Mdrl, 2006, p. 382. 27 An Ottoman register from the 1530s shows that the pious foundation of Mehmed Begs mosque had revenues of 2380 ake. Hersek, Bosna ve zvornik livlar icml tahrr defterleri, p. 380. By 1565 the incomes have doubled 6562 ake. ar-Drnda, Hatida. Vakufski objekti u Bosanskom sandaku (sedma decenija 16. stoljea) in: Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju, Vol. 52-53 (2002-2003), p. 269. 28 See Sarajevo city plan in the Appendices (Illustration 1). 29 Mujezinovi, Mehmed. Islamska epigrafika u Bosni i Hercegovini. Kniga I Sarajevo. Sarajevo: Veselin Maslea, 1974, p. 65; abanovi, Postanak i razvoj Sarajeva, pp. 90-1. In the discussion following my paper Prof. Zeynep Ahunbay pointed to recent excavations which discovered the foundations of Mehmed Begs mosque. I express my gratitude to Prof. Ahunbay for sharing this information.




years, probably until 1467 when he was once again replaced by Mihalolu Ali Beg.30 After this date we lose track of Mehmed Begs military and administrative career. Similarly to Sarajevo, Mehmed Beg left behind several buildings in Smederevo of which there is no trace today. Being the first sancakbegi of the city, it is highly probable that Mehmed Beg was the man to erect the first Muslim buildings in the former Serbian despots place of residence. There are several types of buildings that one imagines the newly conquered town needed to obtain a certain Muslim look a mosque, bath and residence for the new governor. Indeed it seems that Mehmed Beg managed to build all three of them during his terms in Smederevo. Although we are unable to affirm when the actual construction began, it is very possible that it was immediately after the establishment of Ottoman rule in the city. Mehmed Beg had several years at his disposal: twice he had four year-terms in Smederevo and thus we may presume that he either completed his building project there before his assignment in Bosnia (1463), or simply began it during his first term (1459-1463) and completed it during his second (1464-1467). As pointed above, Mehmed Begs actions in Sarajevo resulted in the emergence of the citys second Muslim neighbourhood. His role in promoting the development of Smederevo appears to have been even greater: he was responsible for the appearance of the first Muslim community in the town. The oldest Muslim neighbourhood in Smederevo, therefore enlisted at the first place in the registers, is that of the mosque of Mehmed Beg, son of Minnet Beg.31 The mescid sponsored by Mehmed Beg was the earliest mosque in the town, around which, like in Sarajevo, a neighbourhood arose. Once we established the presence of a mosque in Smederevo, the next logical step would be to look for a hamam that had to serve the needs of the Muslim community. Indeed, the archival documents point to the existence of a public bath built by Mehmed Beg, whose incomes had to support the maintenance of his mosque.32 It is logical to assume that since the mosque was the first in the town, Mehmed Begs hamam was constructed simultaneously with it and they were situated in close proximity to one another. The document leaves little doubt about the buildings location: both were erected within the walled part of Smederevo. The revenues of Mehmed Begs endowment in Smederevo were derived from several other structures also sponsored by him, like twelve shops, a bahane, rents from lands, etc. The register also provides us with important clues suggesting that Mehmed Beg also built the residence of Smederevos sancakbegi. In the list of resources for the maintenance and personnels salaries of his mosque one finds the tax-farmed revenues from the rent of the land on which the residence of the governor was built.33 This fact
Zirojevi, Smederevski sandjakbeg Ali-Beg, p. 15. Mahalle-i mescid-i Mehmed Beg, veled-i Minnet Beg; Babakanlk Osmanl Arivi, stanbul (=BOA), Tapu Tahrir Defterleri (=TD) 1007, pp. 10-11. This register dates from 1516. The important study of Miljkovi-Bojani, Ema. Smederevski sandak 1476-1560: zemlja, naselja, stanovnitvo. Beograd: Slubeni glasnik, 2004 was unavailable to me. Ayverdi, Ekrem Hakk. Avrupada Osmanl mimr eserleri Yugoslavya, Vol. 3. Istanbul: Fetih Cemiyeti, 1981, p. 218. 32 BOA, TD 1007, p. 413. The document lists the revenues of Mehmed Begs endowment, which had to provide for the upkeep of his mosque in Smederevo and its personnel. It reads: an kst-i hamam der varo-i kale-i Semendere, fi sene 12 000 [from a share of a bath in the varo of the fortress of Semendere, annually 12 000 (ake)]. 33 Mukataa-i zemin-i hane-i mir-i liva, fi sene 80 [ake], TD 1007, p. 413.
31 30



suggests that at the time when Mehmed Beg built his mosque, a bath, and a number of other buildings, he must have also constructed a residence for himself. Most probably it was also situated in the protected part of the town, possibly in the close vicinity of the mosque, i.e., in the new Muslim neighbourhood. It is hard to say what was the fate of this building, but it seems that it saw some remodeling or probably was even rebuilt by later governors, because the vakf of Mehmed Begs mosque was deriving revenues only from the land on which the residence was standing, thus pointing to a drastic change. Regardless how odd it may sound, it appears that the 16th-century sancakbegis of Smederevo had to pay rent to Mehmed Begs pious foundation, because of residing on a land that previously belonged to him. As with Mehmed Begs foundation in Sarajevo, up to our knowledge, there is neither information on when his Semederevos vakf was established nor an extant endowment deed. However, one may assume that this must have happened immediately after the completion of his buildings in the 1460s. Mehmed Begs sponsorship turned a new page in Smederevos history with which the transformation of the medieval Serbian fortress into an Ottoman town began. After him a number of prominent figures of the Ottoman border society took turns in governing Smederevo, leaving their own imprint on the towns topography. Due to its strategic location, the town attracted attention and, soon after Mehmed Begs terms, experienced a considerable growth. The medieval Serbian fortress was redesigned to meet the needs of modern warfare techniques while a number of new buildings appeared in the town.34 While it is hard to say with any certainty when Mehmed Begs buildings disappeared, there is no doubt that his patronage left deep traces and shaped the newly conquered Smederevo. Ni (Ni) There is a good chance that the only standing building of Mehmed Beg is to be found in the modern town of Ni (Eastern Serbia). Apart from the fact that the town of Ni was in the domains of the sancakbegi of Smederevo, there is no other clue that links Mehmed Beg to this place. It seems that the governors of Smederevo, or at least two of them, Minnetolu Mehmed Beg and Mihalolu Ali Beg, have spent resources in promoting the town and erected a number of public buildings there. We could establish with certainty that Mehmed Beg built a bath in Ni and endowed its incomes to the soup kitchen (imaret) of his complex in the village of Konu (Bulgarian Thrace).35 According to a register dating from A.H. 903 (1497-1498) this hamam brought to Mehmed Begs imaret an annual income of 3666 ake.36 It is unknown when exactly the bath was built, but its erection has to be assigned to the 1460s, when Mehmed Beg held the post of sancakbegi of Smederevo. Indeed there
See Ayverdis list of Ottoman buildings in Smederevo. Ayverdi, Avrupada Osmanl mimr eserleri, pp. 218-21. 35 Ayverdi claims that there were also a mosque and imaret built by Mehmed Beg in Ni. I was unable to find any evidence of their existence nor could I guess the source of Ayverdis claim. Ayverdi, Avrupada Osmanl mimr eserleri, pp. 131-32. 36 BOA, TD 27, p. 141 and BOA, TD 135 (A.H. 932/1525-1526), p. 126.



exists a surviving Ottoman bath within the borders of the old stronghold of todays Ni, which could be dated to the second half of the 15th century. Thus, it is plausible to suggest that this was the hamam, sponsored by Mehmed Beg and if this were the case, it would be his only surviving building. However, there is an equal possibility that the present structure in Ni was in fact built by Mihalolu Ali Beg. He took the governorship of Smederevo twice after Mehmed Beg and it is known that he also sponsored public buildings in Ni. Ali Beg erected a zaviye in the town, as for the support of his charitable institution he endowed revenues from his bath in Ni, watermill there, rice fields in the approximate vicinity and revenues from other regions.37 Thus, the extant bath in the modern Serbian town, which bears no dedicatory inscription (kitabe), could also have been built by Ali Beg at approximately the same time as Mehmed Beg erected his own. Although it is difficult to provide any further details on Mehmed Begs building activity in Ni, it is clear that he had a significant input in the development of this provincial town too. Furthermore, while contributing to the well-being of the local Muslim community, offering the much needed services of a public bath, Mehmed Beg aimed at providing additional resources for the support and maintenance of his largest building project the complex in his hometown of Konu. Konu (Konu Hisar) It is hard to establish with any degree of certainty when Mehmed Begs complex in Konu (todays village of Konush in the district of Plovdiv, Bulgaria) was built. The Ottoman narratives, relating the story of the deportation of Mehmed Begs father Minnet Beg to this area, add a note that Mehmed Beg erected a caravanserai and an imaret there, but it is difficult to assert to what date exactly they refer. In any case, considering that Mehmed Begs career seems to have reached its peak towards the 1460s, we may suppose that his buildings in Thrace were constructed around that time, or probably up to a decade earlier. The available sources also do not allow any decisive conclusions as to whether the complex was initially designed and built in its entity, or some of the buildings were added in later times. The source materials at our disposal suggest that Mehmed Beg created all needed conditions for the development of a small kasaba, situated on the main road linking Istanbul and Belgrade, the ancient Via Militaris. He built a Friday mosque, bath, imaret, caravanserai, supposedly together with a number of smaller buildings for the service personnel and a residence for himself and his family. A pious foundation providing the salaries for the staff and the upkeep of the buildings was also created. Its first administrator was most likely Mehmed Beg himself, because later documents attest that the post was held by his descendents. Thus, one may presume that a settlement, which received such massive boost would develop rapidly and become a prosperous place that would attract many new settlers. However, regardless of Mehmed Begs plans for the development of Konu, they do not seem to have worked out.


BOA, TD 27, p. 141 and BOA, TD 135, p. 126. Ayverdi, Avrupada Osmanl mimr eserleri, pp. 131-32.



It appears that Mehmed Beg lost Mehmed IIs favour completely, because towards the late 1470s his recently established foundation that had to provide resources for his complex in Konu was abrogated, returned to the control of the state treasury and apportioned to timars.38 It is hard to say what the impact of this act was, but it certainly brought difficulties to Mehmed Beg and his family, whose complex in Konu remained without means of support. This state of affairs did not last very long, because soon after his enthronement in 1481 Bayezid II (r. 1481-1512) restored Mehmed Begs endowment.39 A document dating from approximately the same time testifies that the management of the pious foundation supporting the zaviye of Mehmed Begs spouse Durpaa Hatun in Edirne was transferred to the hands of their son Alihan, thus pointing to the reestablished position of the family.40 Thanks to the Ottoman administrative documents one can trace the growth of Mehmed Begs pious foundation and respectively the development of Konu over time. The earliest available records of this foundation date to the first half of 16th century.41 They report that by 1520s the actions of Mehmed Beg and his descendants resulted in the creation of two new small settlements in the immediate vicinity of Konu, which were inhabited by both Christians and Muslims.42 The big summary register, compiled in 1530
The confiscation of Mehmed Begs property was a part of larger process commonly referred as Mehmed IIs land reform. nalck, Halil. Mehmed II, slm Ansiklopedisi, Vol. 7 (1957), pp. 532-33 and his recent contribution in nalck, Halil. Autonomous enclaves in Islamic states: temlks, soyurgals, yurdluk-ocaklks, mlikne-muktaas and awqf in Pfeiffer, Judith and Sholeh A. Quinn (eds.), History and historiography of Post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East. Studies in honor of John E. Woods. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006, pp. 117-19. 39 The big summary register of Rumelia compiled in 1530 reads: Vakf-i Mehmed Beg, bin Minnet Beg, karye-i Konu. Merhum Sulta[n] Mehmed Han temlik edp, sonra timara virilmi. Bade merhum Sultan Bayazid Han ger mlkiyet ve vakfiyesin mukarrer dutup, mukarrername virilmi [Vakf of Mehmed Beg, son of Minnet Beg, village of Konu. The deceased Sultan Mehmed has given it as private property, later he allocated it to timars. Afterwards the late Sultan Bayazid Han reaffirmed its status of absolute proprietorship and its endowment deed, he issued a document of confirmation]. 370 numaral muhsebe-i vilyet-i Rm-li defteri (937/1530) I. Ankara: T. C. Babakanlk Devlet Arivleri Mdrl, 2001, p. 102 (=BOA, TD 370). 40 Gkbilgin, M. Tayyib. XV-XVI. asrlarda Edirne ve Paa livs. Vakflar mlkler mukataalar. stanbul: stanbul niversitesi Yaynlar, 1952, pp. 241-42. Vakf-i Durpaa Hatun, zevce-i Mehmed Beg, bin Minnet, der Edirne, der mahalle-i Hisarlk. Evvel dervi mutasarrf imi, imdiki halde mezkrn olu Alihan elindedir. Zaviye-i Durpaa Hatun: Yunus, gulm-i Durpaa; Olivir, gulm-i Durpaa; Yusuf, gulm-i Durpaa. hasl an resm-i ift ve r-i hububat 391 [Vakf of Durpaa Hatun, spouse of Mehmed Beg, son of Minnet, from Edirne, from the neighbourhood of Hisarlk. Previously held by dervish, now in the hands of Alihan, son of the above mentioned. Zaviye of Durpaa Hatun: Yunus, slave of Durpaa; Olivir, slave of Durpaa; Yusuf, slave of Durpaa. Revenues from resm-i ift and tithe of cereals 391 (ake)], BOA, TD 20 (A.H. 890/1485-1486), pp. 70-71. The slaves (gulm) of Mehmed Begs spouse must have been captives from his campaigns in the western Balkans. Two of them apparently converted to Islam, but one remained Christian and his name Olivir clearly points to a western origin. 41 Although the detailed register of 1489 (BOA, TD 26) includes some pious foundations in the area of Filibe it lacks data on the vakf of Mehmed Beg. The following detailed register of this area (BOA, TD 77 from 1516) has several dozen pages lost at its end, thus we lack information about most of the vakfs there, including this of Mehmed Beg. 42 BOA, TD 73 (A.H. 925/1519-1520), p. 137, which reports an annual income of the foundation from its surroundings of 11 648 ake; BOA, TD 138 (A.H. 934/1527-1528), p. 137, with a slight increase of the totals up to 11 690 ake.



provides valuable details about the way in which the new settlements came into being. For the Christian village, situated about a kilometer to the south of Mehmed Begs complex in Konu, the register contains the following note:43 karye-i Bosna, haymaneden gelb, Konu sunurunda oturub, haraclarn hvandigra [sic!] ve ispeneleriyle rlerin vakfa virir. Yirmi bi yl var imi village of Bosna, [the residents] gathered from unsettled ones, settled within the boundaries of Konu, they [pay] their poll-tax to the Sultan, their customary taxes and tithes give to the vakf. It has been twenty five years. The very name of the village Bosna is a good indicator of the possible previous location of its Christian residents. Given Mehmed Begs military career, during which he was often involved in raids towards the western Balkans, it is arguable that these people had been gathered and brought to Konu after some of his raids. Thus while providing fresh settlers for his emerging kasaba he should have aimed at increasing the revenues for his pious foundation. The note in the register, however, at first glance seems to be somehow contradictory to this assumption. It claims that the village was founded 25 years before the defter was compiled, thus around 1505, or a date when one would expect that Mehmed Beg was no longer active. Unless we assume that Mehmed Beg lived for quite a long time and had a very long-lasting career respectively, the information in the source seems to be contradictory. The nature and the way in which the synoptic register of 1530 was compiled could provide us with an alternative explanation. This document is a part of several other large summary registers prepared in the early years of Sleyman Is rule (1521-1566), which defters had the task to provide the Ottoman administration with an up-to-date Empire-wide overview of its provincial revenues. As such, the 1530 register of Rumelia is a compilation of the data contained in a number of various earlier detailed records and whenever the administration requested the data was updated. Thus the large summary register of 1530 contains data from 1516, 1525, or 1530. It is arguable therefore that the main body of information concerning the pious foundation of Mehmed Beg, including the entry on the village, was derived from the detailed register of 1516, while the data regarding its revenues were updated. 44 In such case the remark in the document describing the establishment of the village of Bosna, 25 years earlier, should be regarded as referring to 1516 and not to 1530 when the entry was simply copied by the Ottoman scribe from the previous register. One should then consider an earlier date for the arrival of the Bosnian
BOA, TD 370, p. 102. In other instances, like the neighbouring town of stanimaka, it is clear that the data in the 1530 summary register was copied without changes from the detailed defter of 1516 (BOA, TD 77). As mentioned above the related pages in the register of 1516 in which the revenues and tax-payers of Mehmed Begs pious foundation were enlisted have been torn off and lost. The revenues of the foundation as recorded in 1530 register were certainly up-to-date, because when compared to the data from the previous two defters (TD 73 and TD 138) one could notice an increase of the annual revenues 16 210 ake. BOA, TD 370, p. 102. See footnote no. 41 above.
44 43



settlers in Konu, most probably the beginning of 1490s or the late 1480s.45 The fact that Mehmed Beg might have still been active at that time is also supported by the presence of several captives in the zaviye of his spouse in Edirne.46 The data in the register concerning the creation of the Muslim village in Mehmed Begs vakf, is very concise, stating only that the residents of the village of Kak settled within the boundaries of Konu and paid their tithes to the pious foundation.47 The area around Konu is very suitable for rice-growing and since the imaret of Mehmed Beg apparently needed considerable amounts of rice in order to maintain its functions, by 1530 the first 26 rice-growers (eltk) working for Mehmed Begs foundation, appeared in the register. 48 In the following records both the number of rice-growers and the scale of production would increase drastically. There is no information about the date of Mehmed Begs death or his burial place. It could be supposed that if he had retired in his family residence in Konu towards the end of his life, he should have been buried there, presumably in the courtyard of his mosque.49 After his death the information on the family is very scarce. The only small bit of information points to one of his sons or more likely grandsons a certain Minnetolu Kazgan Beg who sided with Selim I (r. 1512-1521) in his struggle against Bayezid II.50 The administration of the vakf in Konu seems to have been taken up by Mehmed Begs descendents. Although we lack information about who succeeded Mehmed Beg immediately after his death, an imperial order of May 1550 reveals that one of his descendents, a certain Mehmed elebi was deprived from his post of administrator of Mehmed Begs pious foundation in Konu.51 The document does not explicitly refer to the person in question as a descendent of Mehmed Beg, but a note in the detailed register of 1570, provides the necessary evidence.52 In the section related to the personnel of Mehmed Begs imaret the register enlists all individuals who received salaries from the pious
The detailed register TD 77 was compiled in 1516, but the actual registration should have been executed a year or two earlier. 46 BOA, TD 20, p. 70. 47 BOA, TD 370, p. 102. 48 BOA, TD 370, p. 102. Three of the rice-growers settled in the new village of Kak, which numbered altogether twenty five households. 49 In three separate sections of his travel accounts Evliya elebi insists that Sultan Mehmed I (1413-1421) built in Konu a domed mausoleum for Mehmed Beg, together with the mosque and the imaret . His account is somewhat confused and he certainly misplaces Mehmed Begs lifetime in a much earlier period. Kurun, Zekeriya-Seyit Ali Kahraman-Ycel Dal. Evliy elebi Seyahatnamesi (2. Kitap). stanbul: Yap Kredi Yaynlar, 1999, p. 28; Kahraman, Seyit Ali-Ycel Dal. Evliy elebi Seyahatnamesi (3. Kitap). stanbul: Yap Kredi Yaynlar, 1999, pp. 212-13; Kahraman, Seyit Ali-Ycel Dal. Evliy elebi Seyahatnamesi (6. Kitap). stanbul: Yap Kredi Yaynlar, 2002, p. 69. 50 There are two single-page documents enlisting the supporters of the then ehzade Selim along with the amount of money allocated to each of the commanders. It appears that Minnetolu Kazgan Beg joined Selims forces at Akkirman and marched with them into Rumelia. These documents are presented in transliteration from the original and analyzed in detail in pa, Hakk Erdem. The centrality of the periphery: the rise to power of Selim I, 1487-1512. PhD Dissertation, Harvard University, 2007, pp. 258-261. I thank Dr. pa for providing me with his unpublished work. 51 This order was copied in a court record (sicil) of Sofia. Galabov, Galab D. Die Protokollbcher des Kadiamtes Sofia, herausgegeben von Herbert W. Duda. Mnchen: R. Oldenbourg, 1960, p. 9. 52 BOA, TD 498, p. 639.



foundation. According to the document in 157053 the administrator of the pious foundation was a certain Mustafa Beg, son of Mehmed elebi, who was from among the descendents of the owner of the vakf.54 Thus, since the document points the administrator in 1570 as a descendent of Mehmed Beg, that effectively establishes his father Mehmed elebi, the deposed administrator of 1550, as a descendent of Mehmed Beg too. There is no reason to doubt that all of the unknown previous administrators were from the lineage of the founder of the pious foundation. Comparison with the pious foundations of the mightier aknc dystasties such as Evrenosoular or Mihaloullar, which remained in the hands of the families until the beginning of 20th century, gives more weight to such a proposition.55 It appears that the descendants of Mehmed Beg could not build excellent relations with the central Ottoman administration. 20 years after Mehmed elebis deposition in 1550, his son Mustafa Beg had to face a similar fate. An imperial decree of 5 May 1570 reveals that Mustafa Beg was accused of malpractices and appropriation of significant amount of money as a result of which he was imprisoned in Filibe56. Hearing these news, his relatives, in charge of a group of azabs, appeared in the city, broke into the prison and set all detainees free. However, it turned out that the local suba, whose house was also attacked, had in the meantime transferred Mustafa Beg to a safer place. The azabs left the city empty-handed, but until the morning Mustafa Beg along with his watchmen disappeared without a trace. The Sultans order urged the local kad to investigate the case and punish those involved. 57 Mustafa Begs further fate is unknown, but he was most probably replaced as administrator of the vakf by his son Yusuf, who retained the position at least until 1596, when a registration recorded him as the mtevelli of the foundation in Konu.58 The register of 1570 is the first to provide us with detailed information about Mehmed Begs complex in Konu and its possessions.59 According to the document there were 15 people involved in the service of the complex, which formed the nucleus of Konu.60 Around the main settlement, in its immediate surroundings, there were three other small villages the above mentioned Christian village called Bosna, which had grown considerably, attracting to its new neighbourhood settlers who previously did not have
Likewise although the defter was compiled in 1570 its data refers to a year or two earlier. Mustafa Beg, bin Mehmed elebi mtevelli-i vakf. An evld-i sahib-i vakf. BOA, TD 498, p. 639. 55 Lowry and Ernsal provide a list of the known mtevellis of Gazi Evrenos vakf in Yenice-i Vardar. Lowry/Ernsal, The Evrenos dynasty of Yenice Vardar, pp. 9-171. The information concerning the Mihalolu family I owe to Mariya Kiprovska. 56 The reason for the accusation was most probably an earlier inspection of some of the pious foundations in the area of Filibe, carried out by the local kad. The register of Imperial financial matters (Maliye Ahkm Defteri) BOA, MAD 2775, f. 364 contains a decree dating from 6-15 October 1565, which ordered the kad of Filibe to inspect the accounting books of the vakfs of Karl Ali, Minnetolu Mehmed Beg and some others. The malpractices must have been discovered in the course of this inspection. 57 12 Numaral Mhimme Defteri (978-979 / 1570-1572). zet, Transkripsiyonu ve ndeks. Ankara: T. C. Babakanlk Devlet Arivleri Mdrl, 1996, mhimme No. 55. 58 BOA, TD 470, p. 665. 59 BOA, TD 498, pp. 639-43. 60 Apart of the mtevelli of the vakf, the regiter lists also a hatib, imam and mezzin in service of the mosque and a number of people occupied in the imaret such as its eyh, ktib, kilri, anbari, vekil-i harc, tabbah, habbaz etc.
54 53



permanent residence; the Muslim Kak, which also expanded with a new mahalle and the completely new village of Turudlu, whose residents moved to the territory of the vakf from another location.61 The rice production also expended considerably and by that date there were 97 Muslim rice-growers permanently occupied with cultivation. The rice-fields, which in 1530 must have been immediately next to Konu, by 1570 spread out on the plain and reached the neighbouring villages, like Aziz Begl (modern Izbegli), where the vakf was in possession of a rice-mill. The register also offers the first irrefutable evidence about the existence of Mehmed Begs public bath in Konu, whose tax-farm brought to the pious foundation 900 akes annually. The existence of a bath poses the question of how the complex was supplied with water. Although located next to a small river, Mehmed Begs complex was probably in need of more running water in order to maintain its functions. Despite the lack of any documentary evidence, it is likely that fresh water was brought by a small aqueduct from the nearby hills. The local people in todays entirely Christian Konu gladly relate a story about certain Turk who had built in the past an aqueduct and point to its former location. In this respect one may assume that the sponsor of the complex might have also built a small aqueduct to supply it with enough fresh water. However, it is equally possible that the aqueduct was built later on by some of Mehmed Begs descendents when a need for more water in Konu appeared. The most detailed physical description of Mehmed Begs complex we owe to Stephan Gerlach, who passed through Konu in June 1578. According to Gerlach, Konu was a small Turkish village, where above the small river, there was a lead-covered han, next to which was situated the mosque, the vast courtyard of which included a nice fountain with fresh cold water. Travelers and the poor were offered rice and bread in the imaret of the mosque. 62 Gerlachs depiction of the main buildings of Mehmed Begs complex leaves little doubt about its imposing character. A decade earlier Marcantonio Pigafetta, who saw Konu as inhabited both by Bulgarians and Turks, described Mehmed Begs mosque as built of stone and marble, very beautiful63, which also bespeaks of a massive, nice building. In the 1550s Catharin Zen and Gaspare Erizzo, who passed through Konu, also testify of the mixed character of its inhabitants Turks and Christians, pointing to the presence of a mosque, imaret and good stables.64 In case one is willing to

In 1570 the village of Bosna had 58 Christian families in its two mahalles, in Kaks two neighbourhoods there were 20 households and 4 unmarried young men, the new village of Turudlu had altogether 20 households. 62 Gerlah, Stefan. Dnevnik na edno patuvane do osmanskata porta v Tzarigrad, translation and editing Mariya Kiselincheva. Sofia: Izdatelstvo na Otechestvenia Front, 1976, pp. 257-58. 63 Matkovi, Petar. Putovanja po Balkanskom poluotoku XVI. vjieka, X. Putopis Marka Antuna Pigafette, ili drugo putovanje Antuna Vrania u Carigrad 1567. godine, in: Rad Jugoslavenske Akademije Znanosti i Umjetnosti, Vol. 100 (1890), p. 117. 64 Matkovi, Petar. Dva talijanska putopisa po balkanskom poluotku iz XVI. vieka: Descrizione del viazo del Constantinopoli de ser Catharin Zen ambassador straordinario a Sultan Soliman e suo ritorno & Descrizione del viaggio per terra di Constantinopoli e dalle cose principali del paese, in: Starine, Vol. 10 (1878), pp. 214 and 255. A bit earlier Schepper left the following short note on Konu: Estanz montez cheval, sommes venuz en ung bourg appell Comis, o y at une grande meschita, edifice de MeneloglyCorneille Duplicius de Schepper. Missions diplomatiques de Corneille Duplicius de Schepper, dit Scepperus, ambassadeur de Christiern II, de Charles V, de Ferdinand Ier et de Marie, reine de Hongrie, gouvernante des Pays-Bas, de 1523 1555, d. par M. Le Bonde Saint-Genois. Bruxelles: M. Hayez, 1856, p. 191. For a



trust at least partially the information provided by Evliya elebi, to these buildings it should be added the massive domed mausoleum of Mehmed Beg.65 In the period until the next official registration of 1596 a new Christian village appeared within the boundaries of Mehmed Begs pious foundation. The entry in the register provides its name, Novasel (new village) or Lalam66, and specifies that the village was formed from tax-payers who had previously resided in the lands of Mehmed Begs vakf and from newcomers who did not have permanent residence.67 The appearance of the new settlement is illustrative of the policy of the administrators of the foundation. They continued the trend of attracting wandering peasants, potential tax-payers who were willing to settle in the territory of the vakf and increased its revenues. Indeed, for a quarter of a century between the two registrations, the Christian tax-payers in Konu doubled in number, while the total revenues increased with more than one thousand ake.68 By the end of 16th century the possessions of Mehmed Begs pious foundation comprised of the nucleus in Konu, where a caravanserai, a mosque with imaret, a public bath, a residence for the administrators, along with other service buildings were placed69, and two Muslim and two Christian villages in its immediate surroundings. Situated very close to one another, the Christian villages of Bosna and Novasel/Lala Pnar united as a single entity in the years to come, which became known as Bulgarian Konu. We are unaware of the fate of the two Muslim villages, but one may suppose that likewise they joined the main settlement, forming the so-called Turkish Konu. In search of Turkish Konu Both settlements, Bulgarian and Turkish Konu, separated by less than a kilometer, survived until the 19th century, when in 1877, fearing for their life, the Muslim inhabitants of Turkish Konu fled before the arriving Russian army. After peace was established, some of the Muslims returned to Turkish Konu, but 12 years later, for an unknown reason, they left the place, abandoning their homeland for good.70 This act put an end of the existence
complete list of western travelers who visited Konu see Yerasimos, Stephane. Les Voyageurs dans lEmpire ottoman (XIVe-XVIe sicles). Ankara: Imprimerie de la Socit Turque dHistoire, 1991. 65 Evliy elebi Seyahatnamesi (2. Kitap), p. 28; Evliy elebi Seyahatnamesi (3. Kitap), pp. 212-13 Evliy elebi Seyahatnamesi (6. Kitap), 2002, p. 69. 66 Later the village was known as Lala Pnar. 67 BOA, TD 470, p. 669. 68 The total revenues of the vakf in 1596 amount to 24 672. The defter also recorded a group of 24 individuals serving the imaret in Konu, 88 Muslim rice-growers dispersed in the fields around, 13 Muslim households in the village of Turadlu, 57 Christian families in Bosnas two neighbourhoods, the Muslim village of Kak had 25 households and 5 unmarried tax-payers, the newly established Novasel/Lalam had 39 Christian households and 13 unmarried young men. BOA, TD 470, pp. 665-69. 69 In the 18th century there was also a functioning primary school (mekteb) there, but it is hard to state with any certainty whether it had a separate building or it was attached to the mosque. In 1779 certain Mehmed Emin Halife received a daily salary of 4 ake for his duties of muallim in Konu. Telli, Hasan. Osmanl dneminde baz Filibe vakflar. MA Thesis, Ankara University, 2002, pp. 123-24. 70 Kostadinov, Kostadin. Mestnite imena v Asenovgradsko. Asenovgrad: Ekobelan, 1997, pp. 51-2. Trker Acarolu. Bulgaristanda Trke yer adlar klavuzu. Ankara: Trk Tarih Kurumu, 2006, p. 617 claims that in 1885 it was attacked and occupied by armed Bulgarians, but does not reveal his source. Although the



of a more than 400-years-old settlement and marked the eventual failure of Mehmed Begs project. In 1911 the official list of towns and villages on the territory of Bulgaria marks only one Konu, which means that the Turkish village ceased to exist.71 Refusing to admit that today there is not even a single stone left from the once magnificent complex of Mehmed Beg, I undertook two field trips hoping to discover its remains. My first goal was to locate the exact site of the vanished Turkish Konu, in which the complex of Mehmed Beg once stood. Having the 1899 Ottoman map72 and the 1911 Austrian military map73 at my disposal, this seemed a simple task. Both maps show that the Turkish Konu was situated about a kilometer to the north of the Bulgarian village, laying by the small river, as noted by Gerlach in the 16th century, at a place where the main road connecting stanimaka (modern Asenovgrad) with Papazl (modern Popovitsa) takes a curve to the west in order to avoid the hill on the northeast side (ills. 2 and 3). When I first visited the site in April 2007, to my surprise I saw that the Ottoman road was still in situ and was pretty much unchanged. However, right at the curve, where I expected to see the ruins of the complex of Mehmed Beg, there was a water reservoir completely covering the place marked on the Ottoman and Austrian maps as Turkish Konu. The reservoir was almost entirely full, which prevented my further attempts to find the ruins of any of Mehmed Begs buildings. Encouraged by the locals who when asked about the location of the vanished Turkish village pointed straight to the water, I decided to return later when the water level was lower. I had this opportunity in October 2008, but although the water level was critically low, I was still unable to find any sign of the ruins of Mehmed Begs mosque, caravanserai, imaret, or bath, all massive buildings which must have left visible traces (ill. 4). A note in a modest unpublished text, kept in the local library in Konu, contains some possible hints about the fate of Mehmed Begs buildings. Written by an honest history enthusiast, the local teacher, the text includes a passage in which the author describes the Turkish village. He points that the village had two neighbourhoods: the Mosque and Kabata, and was situated on the spot of todays reservoir. According to this author, the village had about 100 mud-houses and beautiful gardens. At an unspecified date, but certainly after Bulgaria became independent, the Bulgarians attacked and pillaged the Turkish village, razing it to the ground, thus forcing the Turks to leave.74 In case this story is at least partially correct and not entirely a fictitious product of the creative local lore, it could provide us with a possible explanation for the extinction of Mehmed Begs complex. If the Turkish village was really sacked by the Bulgarians and its buildings in fact destroyed during the assault, then it is highly likely that, as it happened everywhere
reason for the departure of the Turks from Konu could be a local conflict, Acarolus claim that the Bulgarians settled in the Turkish village seems doubtful, because the Bulgarian village never reached the territory of Turkish Konu. In reverse, it grew in opposite direction towards the south. 71 Spisak na neselenite mesta v Bulgaria. Sofia: Darjavna pechatnitsa, 1911, p. 53. 72 Rumeli ahane Haritas, Erkan-i Harbiye-i Umumiye Dairesi 1:210 000, Filibe. A.H. 1317/1899. I was provided with a digital copy of this map by Prof. Heath Lowry, to whom I express my gratitude. 73 Generalkarte von Mitteleuropa 1:200 000, 43-42 Stara Zagora (Eski Zagra). Herausgegeben vom Militrgeographischen Institut in Wien, 1940. The 1940 reprint of this map is done after the original of 1911. 74 Nikolov, Nikola. Selo Konush, okrag plovdivski, v minaloto i sega. Unpublished manuscript in the municipal library in Konush.



else, the buildings of Mehmed Beg turned into excellent free building material which was reused in the Bulgarian village. Although I was unable to find any physical evidence to support this hypothesis, the massive Orthodox church and a stone bridge next to it, both situated in the centre of the Bulgarian village, appeal for such a conclusion75 (ill. 5). Conclusion The Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, along with the inevitable destruction accompanying any military endeavor, brought a significant modification and revitalization of the subdued territories. Apart from the central authority and bureaucrats related to it, the powerful Balkan march lords, who ruled parts of the peninsula almost independently, had a noteworthy output in this process too. The might concentrated in uc begis hands manifested itself not only in successful military campaigns, but also in the creation and promotion of a number of settlements all over the Balkans. Many of these newly created towns were fortunate enough to turn into some of the most prominent and admirable Balkan cities. Historiography up until very recently, when discussing the urban development of the Balkans under Ottoman rule, almost entirely neglected the crucial role of the march lords and generally attributed the creation of many new settlements to the undetermined and flexible term the Ottomans. In contrast to this, quite a few modern towns in the Balkans owe their existence to a complex of buildings erected by one of the aknc leaders which often attracted the attention of his relatives or fellows from other dynasties who added more buildings and thus contributed to its development. Studying the architectural heritage of these raider commanders, regardless whether the patronized buildings are still extant or not, could greatly enrich our knowledge of the sophisticated mixture of people and ideas, to which we often refer simply as the early Ottoman society. The military and administrative career of Minnetolu Mehmed Beg and his vanished architectural legacy, studied in this paper, can be a characteristic example of the ideas, aims and efforts of the 15th-century Balkan march lords. He had a significant output in the development of both Sarajevo and Smederevo, places which also attracted the attention and sponsorship of many other border commanders. Similarly to the begs of the mightiest dynasties Mehmed Beg tried to create and promote an entirely new settlement. He has undertaken an ambitious task and spent vast resources in constructing his complex in Konu in the 1450s-60s. However, it seems that his initial plans of promoting his native place and turning it into a vibrant town resulted in a complete failure. Despite Mehmed Begs efforts, it seems that Konu never lost its rural appearance and finally, ironically enough, it was leveled to the ground by the descendents of the very same people whom he settled there earlier and thus disappeared for good. There are several reasons for the failure of Mehmed Begs project. The spot he chose to build his complex looked promising because of its location on the main Balkan highway since Antiquity the Roman Via Militaris. However, only a few decades after the complex was established, the road shifted its path to the north and Konu remained isolated

A sign hanging on the Church of St. Athanasius in Konu states that it was built in 1853. That could be correct, but it seems the building had some later modifications too.



on a secondary, rarely used, spare road which also explains the very few remarks left by western travelers. 76 It seems that Mehmed Beg also missed the exact timing for such enterprise. At the time when he launched his project, the area was no longer a border zone and most of the energy and financial support of the periphery forces in the Ottoman society was concentrated on the new frontier zone in Serbia and Bosnia. Thus the march lords of that time must have found Konu unattractive and whenever they sponsored public buildings in Upper Thrace, they chose spots with higher strategic importance, like the town of Tatar Pazar.77 Inability to attract the support of the powerful begs must have been of vital importance for Konus further development, because Mehmed Beg did not descend from one of the powerful and rich dynasties, but made a name on his own. Furthermore, his descendents did not seem to follow their fathers steps turning into influential and strong military leaders. On the contrary, they appear to have been in constant conflict with the central Ottoman government, therefore Mehmed Begs project did not receive the adequate support even from his own heirs. It is imperative to note that nobody from among the march lords, regardless of their military strength and financial power at any given moment, managed to create and promote a new settlement entirely alone. They either received the immediate support of the leaders of other families, which was the case for Sarajevo and a number of other places or their descendents who had enough power and resources to continue the deeds of their forefathers in building family provincial centres. In this respect, the towns of Yenice-i Vardar, established and dominated by the Evrenosoullar until the 20th century, and Plevne, created by Mehmed Begs associate Mihalolu Ali Beg, but later on vigorously supported and boosted by his sons and grandsons, could be excellent illustrative examples. Mehmed Begs aim to promote a town that he created from scratch appears to have been an overambitious task for a person of his magnitude. It never turned into one of the many modern cities in the Balkans which owe their existence to the creative energy of certain elements of the Ottoman border society. However, his failed attempt, when studied together with other successful or unsuccessful enterprises of its kind could provide us with a vivid demonstration of the problems, ideas and processes in the early Ottoman society and certainly deserves scholarly attention.


On the Military road in Ottoman times, the classical work of Jireek, Constantin. Die Heerstrasse von Belgrad nach Constantinopel und die Balkanpsse. Eine historisch-geographische Studie. Prag: Verlag von F. Tempsky, 1877, still remains the most comprehensive work. 77 Boykov, Grigor. Tatar Pazardjik. Ot osnovavaneto na grada do kraya na XVII vek. Izsledvania i dokumenti. Sofia: Amicitia, 2008, pp. 33-61.



Ill. 1. City plan of Sarajevo, showing the vanished mosque of Mehmed Beg. From Mujezinovi, Mehmed. Islamska Epigrafika u Bosni i Hercegovini, Vol. I. Sarajevo: Veselin Maslea, 1974.

Ill. 2. Ottoman map, showing the location of the ruined Turkish Konu (1899). From Rumeli ahane Haritas, Erkan-i Harbiye-i Umumiye Dairesi 1:210 000, Filibe. A.H. 1317/1899.



Ill. 3. Austrian map, showing the location of Turkish Konu (1911). From Generalkarte von Mitteleuropa 1:200 000, 43-42 Stara Zagora (Eski Zagra). Vienna, 1940.



Ill. 4. Water reservoir in Konu; photo by the author (2008) .

Ill. 5. Orthodox Church St. Athanasius in Konu; hoto by the author (2007) .

Preface........................................................................................................................................ 3 Introduction: The man and his method Maximilian Hartmuth (Sabanc University, Istanbul) ............................................................... 5 I. THE EARLY OTTOMAN BALKANS REVISITED An unknown fourteenth century sultanic mosque in the Macedonian city of Drama: the Yldrm Byezd Cmi Heath W. Lowry (Princeton University) .................................................................................. 15 Legend and historicity: the Binbir Oklu Ahmed Baba Tekkesi and its founder Mariya Kiprovska (Bilkent University, Ankara)...................................................................... 29 In search of vanished Ottoman monuments in the Balkans: Minnetolu Mehmed Begs complex in Konu Hisar Grigor Boykov (Bilkent University, Ankara) ........................................................................... 47 II. VOICES AND PROCESSES IN PERIODS OF CHANGE Towards a historical topography of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Rhodopes: monuments, epigraphy, and a local stonecutters notepad Aziz Nazmi Shakir-Tash (Sabanc University, Istanbul).......................................................... 69 An Edirne scholar on Ottoman architecture and politics: the pilgrimage account of Abdurrahman Hibri Suraiya Faroqhi (Bilgi University, Istanbul)........................................................................... 91 The vakf of Moral Beir Aa in Argos Hedda Reindl-Kiel (University of Bonn)................................................................................ 107


Preliminary results from the survey of Rumelikava Fort Kemal K. Eypgiller (Istanbul Technical University) ........................................................... 129 Ottoman construction materials and terminological change: remarks pertaining to bricks and roof tiles as apparent in the sources lknur Aktu Kolay (Istanbul Technical University).............................................................. 143 III. THE OTTOMAN ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE IN THE MODERN BALKANS The Ottoman architectural patrimony of Bulgaria revisited: infrastructure, intentionality, and the genesis and survival of monuments Stephen Lewis (New York/Sofia/Istanbul).............................................................................. 153 Insufficiently oriental? An early episode in the study and preservation of the Ottoman architectural heritage in the Balkans Maximilian Hartmuth (Sabanc University, Istanbul) ........................................................... 171 Recovering the remnants of the Alaca Cami in Foa Zeynep Ahunbay (Istanbul Technical University).................................................................. 185

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS BY MACHIEL KIEL......................................................................... 193


Papers on Ottoman Europe presented to Machiel Kiel

edited by Maximilian Hartmuth and Aye Dilsiz



Monuments, Patrons, Contexts

papers on ottoman europe presented to machiel kiel edited by M. Hartmuth and A. Dilsiz

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten Leiden 2010