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Eshab-ı Kehf Kulliye

Eshab-ı Kehf Kulliye is a historical building complex in Kahramanmaraş Province, Turkey

Eshab-ı Kehf Külliyesi


The complex is next to a cave in on a hill named Bencilus 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) to Afşin ilçe (district) of Kahramanmaraş Province.[1] Its distance to Kahramanmaraş is 130 kilometres (81 mi)


The complex is composed of various buildings built in different eras. The church was built by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II in 446. During the Seljuks of Anatolia era Seljuk governor Nasretüddin built a mosque, a caravanserai and a fortified barracks between 1215 and 1233. Later, during the Beylik of Dulkadir era a medrese (religious school) in 1480-1492 was added to the complex by Bozkurt of Dulkadir (also known as "Alaüddevle"). In 1500 Bozkurt's wife Şemsi Hatun commissioned a women's mosque. A pergola for the governor known as Paşa çardağı was the addition during the Suleiman the Magnificent's reign of the Ottoman era.[2][1]

Seven Sleeper myth

The külliye is known as the cave of the Seven Sleepers, a legendary people lived in the 5th century.[3] (One of the many places which are allegedly the cave of Seven Sleepers) According to the legend the emperor who had influenced by their story had the church built for them. But the later additions are also imposing. For example, the geometric ornaments on the gate which was built during the Seljuks period cast shadows of a praying man, a praying woman and a dervish in namaz (salah) times.[3]

World Heritage Status

This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on April 13, 2015 in the Cultural category.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Eshab-ı Kehf Kulliye (Islamic-Ottoman Social Complex)". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. ^ Skylife magazine (in Turkish)
  3. ^ a b Ministry of Culture page (in Turkish)

External source