July 8, 2019

Who is Evliya Çelebi?

Evliya Çelebi is a name that we all are familiar with. But for those who are new, he was an Ottoman explorer. Çelebi traveled through all Ottoman Empire lands in the 17th century. He wrote a travelogue i.e. Seyahatnâme. Other than that called the Book of Travel. The journey began in Istanbul and he gave 40 years of life in visiting all the places.

Mehmed Zilli

Mehmed Zilli was his real name. Yet the name Çelebi was a title given in honor of his work. It means gentleman.

Born in Istanbul in 1611, his wealthy family was from Kütahya. His father was a jeweller and mother was Abkhazian. They were both attached to the Ottoman court.

Early Life and Death of Evliya Çelebi

In his book, he follows his parentage back to Khoja Akhmet Yassawi, an early Sufi spiritualist. Evliya Çelebi got a court training from the Imperial ulama. He may have joined the Gulshani Sufi request. As he demonstrates close learning of their khanqah in Cairo. And a graffito exists in which he alluded to himself as Evliya-yı Gülşenî (“Evliya of the Gülşenî”).

His diary composing started in Istanbul. From taking notes on structures, markets, traditions, and culture.  And in 1640 it reached out with records of his movements past the limits of the city. The gathered notes of his movements structure a ten-volume work. He also battled the House of Habsburg in Principality of Transylvania

Çelebi died in 1684. Though it’s unclear whether he was in Istanbul or Cairo at the time.


The 1st volume of his work is about Istanbul and the last one about Egypt. Though many narrations were inventive fiction or exaggerated by the third source. Yet his notes remain quite helpful to provide guidance about the 17th century’s culture.

Till today, there’s no English translation of the book but in parts. Longest translation published was in 1834.

Evliya’s noted for having gathered examples of the dialects in every locale he went in. There are somewhere in the range of 30 Turkic vernaculars and dialects listed in the Seyâhatnâme.

Çelebi takes note of the likenesses between a few words from the German and Persian. But, he denies any basic Indo-European legacy. The Seyâhatnâme contains the translations of many dialects of the Caucasus and Tsakonian. And the main surviving examples of composed Ubykh outside the etymological writing.

Following are few journeys from his book:

  • Istanbul
  • Anatolia, Crete, Azerbaijan
  • Syria, Armenia, Rumelia
  • Russia and Balkans
  • The Hajj to Mecca
  • Egypt and Sudan

Ahi Çelebi Mosque

The beautiful mosque lies in Eminönü. By the coast of Haliç and next to Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. The first mosque was most likely worked in the fifteenth century. It was later revamped by Architect Sinan after the fire in 1539. The mosque had endured another flame in 1653 and tremors in 1892 and 1999.

Ahi Çelebi was a physician in a hospital in the early 1500s. The construction was under his authority. The mosque holds a vital place in Istanbul old stories. It’s where Evliya Çelebi had his well-known dream. He had a vision of the Prophet. In his dream, he had solicited, for the mediation of the Prophet (shifaa’t) yet for voyaging (siya’hat). Hence travel was in plenty granted to him.

Ahi Çelebi Mosque is otherwise called Kanlıfırın Mosque or Yemişçiler Mosque. The mosque has experienced 2 fires that begun in Yemiş Wharf, in 1539 and in 1653. After the next fire, the restoration was then done by the Turkish draftsman Mimar Sinan. And for these reasons, it’s considered one of his Works. Ahi Çelebi Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Istanbul anyway it’s destroyed.

Rumeli Fortress

Known as Boğazkesen Castle is a medieval fortification situated in Istanbul.  On a progression of slopes on the European banks of the Bosporus. The name is also lent to prompt neighborhood around it in the city’s Sarıyer region. According to Evliya Çelebi, there lived a priest and the fortress was once a church. This was before the conquest. He further explained that the priest adopted Islam under the counter. When the priest learned that Çelebi was in adjacent Edirne, he communicated. And disclosed to him that he would be the one to take Istanbul. He also exhorted him to assemble the fortification. Moreover removal of the Byzantine supplies. That is why the birthplaces of the post that lies there today.


The 400th anniversary of Evliya Çelebi was in 2011. So UNESCO incorporated the birth in its anniversary celebration timetable.

Evliya was not the Turk in excelsis. Yet a man unprecedented who stood on stage beside his compatriots. He was a particular man of solitary accomplishment. The conventional travel diary that he wrote was only possible for him to do. It was the life he always wanted to live and all the stories he wanted to write that led him so far.

Seyahatname is the best-researched content of Ottoman historiography and writing. It remains an extraordinary wellspring of data for all parts of Ottoman investigations.