27th June 2010.

Today I got up early and got the 9.00 but from Kirsehir to Nevsehir. But on the way I jumped out at Hacibektas. A small village in the wide open plains where Haci Bektas established the Bektasi Order.

Haci Bektas (1209-1271) came to Anatolia from Khorosan in NE Iran in the 13th century and established the Bektasi Sufi Order. He was an Islamic mystic, humanist and philosopher. He is one of the principal teachers of Alevism. He is also an important figure in the history and culture of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey.

Bektashi Veli says
"Whatever you’re searching for, search in yourself,
It’s neither in Jerusalem, Mecca nor in the Hadj".

“There is no need to discriminate between religions. Religions cause disputes among people. In fact, all religions aim to provide peace and brotherhood on earth”.

Alevism teaches:
-) Love and respect for all people (“The important thing is not religion, but being a human being”)
-) Tolerance towards other religions and ethnic groups (“If you hurt another person, the ritual prayers you have done are counted as worthless”)
-) Respect for working people ("The greatest act of worship is to work”)
-) Equality of men and women, who pray side by side. Monogamy is practiced.

Bektashism, which originates from Haji Bektashi Veli’s ideas, aims to comprehend the unity of “Universe, God and Man”. The first step to success is to know yourself and love yourself. The man who loves himself also loves God".


Entrance to the tomb of Haci Bektas. Lots of people were going in and out. Kissing the doors and walls. Whispering and muttering prayers/incantations. Those coming out came backwards. Some were crawling on their hands and knees, like a pennance or a pilgrimmage. I felt like I was on a pilgrimmage. I was the only foreign 'tourist' there. And I have a lot of respect and even admiration and wonder for people like Haci Bektas. I am glad of them.

On the way in there was a small opening on the left. Inside was a plain room with alot of women going in and out. Many on their hands and knees. In the corner of the small room was a hole about 30cm tall. They were taking turns. They were putting their arms inside. One person put their head into it. One old lady was rubbing the side of it and then rubbing her legs. I asked her what it was. I couldnt understand her reply. I can only assume it was supposed to have healing properties. I gave it a try and rubbed my ribs and back. I crawled out of the room backwards like everybody else. Out of respect if nothing else.

This is an amulet worn by Sufis.

Tombs of sufis.

Entrance to the actual tomb of Haci Bektas.

People inside the tomb were crawling around the tombstone. Rubbing it, kissing it, and kneeling around it praying.

People were getting up inside the cloth and rubbing it on themselves.

İ felt really revitalized and refreshed after learning about Haci Bektaş and the Alevis. İ have met Alevi people before but never knew much about their culture or faith. İt seems pretty good to me.

Then I had some soup mmmmm!

...and got the bus onwards to Goreme.
When I got to Goreme I found someone who I hadn't seen in 15 years! Ibrahim who I met when I travelled to India when I was 18. I recognised him and went and said hello! He runs his families pansion. I stayed there in 1997. I'm staying there for the next 2 nights. We had a nice chat and ate watermelon and drank tea. He showed me his pet pigeons, dog and bees. Its really nice to see him again! I have fond memories of that trip in 1997.

This is the room where Im staying. Its 200 years old and was built by his family who were ottomans.

The courtyard.

İt is such a beautifully calm and peaceful place to stay and İbrahim is so nice. He has a cute puppy dog aswell :o) ...pictures of that later.

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