Historic Town of Mudurnu

Historic Town of Mudurnu

Mudurnu, a small town and district located in the Black Sea region of Turkey, is situated approximately 52 kilometers southwest of Bolu.

Historically, Mudurnu held a strategic location on the main trade routes of Anatolia, according to Strabon. The Silk Road, which linked inner Asia with Tabriz during the 13th and 14th centuries, passed through Bursa and continued via Erzurum-Sivas-Mudurnu-Göynük-Taraklı-Geyve to Constantinople. Similarly, during the Byzantine era, the Crimean Road connected Damascus and Mediterranean seaports with Bursa, proceeding to Constantinople and the Black Sea through Mudurnu-Bolu-Kastamonu-Cide.

Mudurnu's position at the junction of these roads made it a crucial military station and commercial center during the Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman periods.

Mudurnu played an important role in three critical "periods of establishment" that marked the formation of Turkish states in Anatolia. The "First Period of Establishment" signaled the start of Turkification in Anatolia, while under Osman I, who followed in the Seljuk's footsteps, Mudurnu saw Ottoman invasions. In 1307, during the rule of Osman's son, Orhan, Mudurnu became a city within Ottoman territory and thus part of the Ottoman heartland.

Later, during the Ottoman Interregnum, Mudurnu served as a refuge for crown princes fleeing Timur's forces, and Çelebi Mehmed established his camp there, overseeing the beginning of the second Ottoman reign.

Historic Town of Mudurnu

In the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922), Mudurnu saw some of the most turbulent rebellions against the National Resistance during the struggle between the Sultan and Atatürk's new Ankara government. Since then, Mudurnu has been known for its support of republican ideals and has become one of Turkey's leading advocates for them.

One of the notable architectural structures in Mudurnu is the Yildirim Bayezid Mosque, built by the then-crown prince Bayezid I in 1382. This mosque is a prime example of the Ottoman Empire's architectural development, employing a simple execution of the single-domed mosque plan layout. It also serves as a significant link in the transition from small to larger domes during the Ottoman era, with its wide dome diameter.

Mudurnu has a unique and significant cultural and historical background. It was a crucial center for education for Ottoman crown princes and played a vital role in the development of Turkish states in Anatolia. Mudurnu has been recognized for its cultural heritage as it is the only district-level urban center in Turkey where the Merchants' Prayer, a quintessentially Ahi custom, has been performed continuously for more than 700 years. The town is also home to the "Ahi Culture Week," which is officially recognized and celebrated.

The Ahi order, which has become a symbol of Turkish ethics, played an essential role in the economic life of the Anatolian Seljuks. Mudurnu has a special connection with this order as it is the only district-level urban center where the Merchants' Prayer has been performed continuously without interruption for more than 700 years.

Moreover, Mudurnu was a center of education for Ottoman crown princes and contributed significantly to the founding of the Ottoman state through the Çandarlı Vizier dynasty, which helped establish early Ottoman state institutions. The rich cultural and historical heritage of Mudurnu has gained international recognition, as the Historic Town of Mudurnu was added to the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2015.