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Ahlat Selcuk Cemetery

Ahlat is located on the shore of Lake Van in the far east of Turkey. The town has a long history background since 9th century B.C.The Urartians have made a great impression in the east of Turkey and this city was affected a lot as well.

The town has an amazing cemetery dating back to 11th century and later times. The Seljuks were one of the first Turkish families coming from Middle Asia and were the first Turkish people entering today’s Turkey. After the battle in Malazgirt (Manzikert) in 1071, Seljuks controlled a big portion of today’s Turkey including Ahlat. Seljuks were very into the art and they have left amazing artifacts all around Turkey.

The cemetery in Ahlat is one of the nicest examples of Selcuk Architecture. The cemetery has amazing gravestones from 2 meters to 6 meters in height. These gravestones were made of the famous Ahlat stone, which was later on used in other buildings in Turkey such as Alaaddin Mosque in Konya and Divrigi Ulu Mosque in Sivas.

The cemetery used to have over 12.000 graves even though most of them are not in good condition. Another interesting point in the cemetery is that it is divided by the occupation you have. The most outstanding ones are the graves of the judge. There are lots of very intricate reliefs on these gravestones. Most of them have phases from Muslim Holy Book “The Quaran” asking for praying or telling the stories of heaven.