Ezine History

Battle Arena of Heroes, Turning Point in Biblical History

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The city center of Ezine and the fertile plains in its vicinity have been home to many settlements for thousands of years because of its abundant water, clean air, and location on the important trade routes. There are many old settlements dating from the Middle and Young Bronze Age (2000 – 1,200 BC) within 1-2 km vicinity of Ezine. Archaeological researches indicate that there were settlements around Ezine in much ancient times. While Ezine includes the areas where the legendary Trojan Wars (1914 – 1184 BC) took place, it also provides permanent rest for many heroes, from Achilles (Achilles) to Hector, Paris and King Priam. Yes, you did not mishear, Trojan Wars took place mostly within the borders of Ezine district. The great warriors and commanders of Troia and the Ancient Greeks are also buried within the borders of Ezine district..

According to geological surveys, the city front, which is visited today as the ruin of Troy, was covered with sea. There was a large bay in front of the city of Troy. For this, the Greeks anchored their navy somewhere between Geyikli and Yeniköy and went ashore from that point and fought with Troia heroes at the area from Ezine’s Yeniköy up to Pınarbaşı village. According to legend, Scamender and Xanthos Simoeis, one of the places where the most bloody battles between the Trojans and the Greeks had taken place was also in Ezine. The Scamender River (Karamenderes), which was born from Ida (Kazdağı), passes through Ezine and meets the Dardanelles Strait near Kumkale in front of Troy. Simoeis, on the other hand, was born in Kırkpınars in Pınarbaşı village of Ezine and meets with Karamenderes.

The legend tells of how the Greek warrior Achilles fought both rivers and river gods. In this way, the heroic defenses of Hector and Troian soldiers and rivers’ cracking down the Greeks are emphasized indirectly. The graves of Achilles, who died during the war, greet you at Ezine’s Papaz Beach, while those of Hector, Paris and Priamos salute you on the right side of the road 5-6 km to Ezine coming from Çanakkale..

Alexandria-Troas (Troia of Alexander the Great) built by the One-Eyed Anigonas, one of the commanders and heirs of Alexander the Great, to bring the eastern and western cultures together, and to be as a monument of Hellenistic culture is also in Ezine. According to the Bible, the world’s first Christian city, where Saint Paul, one of Jesus’ apostles, visited three times and experienced extraordinary events each time, is Alexandria-Troas in Ezine. The city that the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his governor Herodes Atticus rebuilt as the Roma in Asia connecting the east and the west is also Alexandria-Troas in Ezine..

When the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great decided to move the capital of the Roman Empire against the increasing barbarian migrations, he decided on Alexandria-Troas as the New Rome. Later, upon a legendary event, he founded Constantinople where today’s Istanbul is. However, Alexandria-Troas was not forgotten and it was called Kestanbol in the meaning of the old city. In other words, the city that connects east and west before Istanbul. Among the people, the name of the ancient city is still “Old Istanbul”. After the Battle of Malazgirt in 1071, Ezine was one of the last West points reached by the Turks who rapidly settled in Anatolia.

Ezine district center is a Turkish settlement which was established in a period in which Turks rapidly migrated to Anatolia after 1071 Malazgirt Victory. It is accepted that the first settlement started with the village of Omar Danishmenth founded by Danishmenth Yörükleri (Turkish nomads in Anatolia) in couple of kilometers west-northwest of Ezine in the early 12th century. Today, very few ruins from this village have survived.

After the settlement of the Danishmenths to the region, the population gradually increased and a mosque was built by the Danishmenth Bey of the region according to what is said in an area used by the surrounding villages as a bazaar (outdoor market place). In Turkish-Islamic culture, the Friday bazaar was established at the common meeting point of the villages, the villagers both sold their products there and greatly socialized on the day of this meeting. It is possible to observe this development in almost every Turkish settlement established in Anatolia. These mosques were called the Friday mosque. If another mosque or prayer room was built after this mosque, then the first mosque would be called Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque).

While Muslims performed their prayers on Friday, the orders and decrees of the ruler state in the region were announced to the public on this occasion. Thus, in the Friday Mosque, the state and the people would meet on a weekly basis, in a sense, a public assembly would be established, and the problems would be discussed and resolved firsthand.

This founding tradition of Turkish-Islamic city is also observed in the establishment of Ezine. There are two settlements in Anatolia called Ezine that survived to the present day. The first of these is the Ezine Pazarı, district of Amasya, and the other is Ezine, the subject of this work.

Ezine’s old name is also Ezine Pazarı. There is intense debate about the origin of the word Ezine. However, considering its spelling in the Anatolian cadastral record boks dated 1530, there are two views on the origin of the word Ezine. According to the first one, the word is derived from the Persian word “Ezâne”, the place where adhan (call for prayer) is recited. According to the second view, on the other hand, it means “permitted”, “permitted place” in Arabic. In both views, we achieve the purpose of the establishment of Ezine. In other words, Ezine can be considered as “ the town where the recitation of adhan and people’s coming together are allowed” in the Grand Mosque, which was established for the people coming from the surrounding villages to meet in the Friday bazaar and sell their goods, and in the meantime perform their prayers.

Although the information about the first periods was extremely weak, it was understood that the Grand Mosque was restored and extended by Orhan Ghazi (Dynasty: 1323 – 1362) after the Karesi Beyliği was attached to the Ottomans in 1345. Over time some curtilages such as a madrasah (muslim theological school) and a kitchen was added to Grand Mosque. When the development of the city is examined in geographical terms, it is possible to examine the last 700 – 800 years period and developments from the foundation of the Ottoman Empire to the Republic. When you visit Ezine district center, you make a journey through the time tunnel and witness the development and change from the years when the Ottoman Empire was established to the republic. When you visit Ezine district center, you make a journey through the time tunnel and witness the development and change from the years when the Ottoman Empire was established to the republic.

History can be witnessed by following the geography. Let’s take a short tour of Ezine with an imaginary tour on the map before exploring each place in detail.

If we give our backs to the Grand Mosque and walk to the north for about 300 meters with the Akçin stream on our left, we will reach the Sefershah Mosque built during Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid Khan (Dynasty 16 June 1389 – 20 July 1402) and the Seferşah Bathhouse 50 meters away. Even this march shows how fast Ezine has grown since the period of Orhan Ghazi (given the population and city sizes of the period). The establishment of facilities such as madrasah and bathhouses in the city is one of the most important evidences showing the dense population. The fact that a new mosque, madrasah and a double bathhouse (women’s and men’s baths) were added near the madrasah and curtilage of Grand Mosque in less than a century is an indication of the rapid growth. Futhermore, the bathhouse and a second mosque show how fast and wide the trade in the city was. When we turn our back to the tombs of Ahi Yunus and Yahya Bey, from Danishmenth Veterans accepted as one of the first conquerors of Ezine (on the other side of Sefershah bathhouse) and also to the tombs of Yahşi Bey nearby and turn our direction to Akçin stream and west, we cross the bridge. Here, on the left of the bridge, there is the first government mansion of Ezine, known as a stone school among the people, and the Zeytinli Mosque.

Zeytinli Mosque was built in 1551 during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (September 30, 1520 – October 6, 1566). The fact that Zeytinli Mosque was built on the western side of Akçin stream in the 16th century, that the curtilage was built along with the mosque as well as the madrasah, and finally the size of the mosque shows that the population of Ezine was rapidly growing and the city was expanding.

If we turn to the West as Zeytinli Mosque remains on our left towards Uzun Sokak, a typical Ottoman classic, then start climbing a steep, after about 250 meters, we will see the Ince Minaret Mosque, which was built in the time of Sultan Murad IV (Dynasty September 10, 1623 – February 8, 1640). This mosque also has a small complex that has not survived until today. When we look from where the Ince Minaret Mosque is located, we witness the establishment and course of a Turkish city for approximately 300 – 400 years. Due to the increasing demand for raw materials in Europe after the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, Ezine became the point of supply of many important industrial raw materials, particularly acorns, madder, flax, and flax hemp. According to the information given by the French traveler Vital Cuinet (1833 – 1896) about Ezine and its vicinity, there were weekly commodity-laden vessels from the port of Ezine, the Odunluk pier and the Tavaklı pier to the United States, Britain, France, Russia and Germany. In the 19th century, Ezine had a developed food and livestock industry, and the city had gone a long way in leather processing. When the Ottoman documents and the information of Cuinet were compared, there were more than 40 leather processing workshops, namely tanneries, in the west of Akçin Stream, which is known today as tannery zone.

It is understood from the documents that non-Muslims were placed in three neighborhoods in Ezine in the 19th century starting from 1862. In the last quarter of the 19th century, seven neighborhoods in Ezine were Muslims, one neighborhood behind the Grand Mosque was Armenian, one neighborhood where today’s çay neighborhood is located was Greek, and the neighborhood in between was Jewish. About 40 Coptic Christians were seen to be placed. Each non-Muslim community was allowed to build its own place of worship. Thus, Ezine became a full example of Ottoman nations poetry. The Armenian Church, the Greek Church and the Jewish synagogue were defeated by time and disappeared in the 20th century.

These places, only the location of which are known today, have taken their place in the dusty shelves of history.

There are Muslim, Armenian, Greek and Jewish houses,which you can see in many parts of Ezine, remained From the 19th century. In the 19th century when the Ottoman Empire began to disintegrate, and especially after the Ottoman Russian War of 1877 – 1878 known as the 93 War, many immigrant families from the Balkans were settled in and around Ezine. Especially in this period families from Bulgaria were settled in Ezine. If we look at their numbers; 70 families 280 population were settled in Mahmudiye, 37 families 175 population were settled in Hamidiye, 15 families 81 population were settled in Yeniköy. Immigrations did not end there, on the contrary, they have just begun. After the First Balkan War of 1912, approximately 50 families and 250 populations from Bulgaria and Greece were settled in Ezine center and its villages. During our War of Independence, important events took place in Ezine. During the invasion of Anatolia, the Greek Army came to Ezine on September 4, 1920 and occupied the district.

For the liberation of Ezine, Ezine Müdafaa-i Hukuk Cemiyeti (countrywide resistance organization) was established under the auspices of Şevket Efendi, the Regiment Mufti. The members of this society are Hocaoğlu Hafız Tevfk, the former member of the court Hafız Ahmet, Asım Efendi, Tikveşli Ali and Köseoğlu Şükrü Efendi. The new Ezine District Governor Halit Efendi, who came to Ezine in placement of Esad Sezai Bey during the occupation period, was a secret member of the society. The Greeks robbed thousands of people in and around Ezine, plundered their property, and unfortunately killed more than 3,000 people. The massacres carried out have been the subject of many domestic and foreign reports. During the investigation carried out after the invasion, numerous mass graves were found in the wide area behind the Ezine Induction Center. During the occupation, Ezine prison became a nightmare for the locals. The Greek invaders would bring people whom they thought were rich of money or jewelry, torture them unimaginably until they told them where they were, and then would kill them.

In addition, because Ezine was the symbol city of resistance in the vicinity, they were trying to hunt and find those from Mudafaa-i Hukuk. A very important event occurred during the War of Independence in Ezine. The invading Greeks forced the provincial and district councils in all the cities and towns they occupied from İzmir to Çanakkale to take an official decision expressing their acquaintance and to draw the Greek flag with a ceremony in order to show their occupation legal. While all the towns under Greek occupation signed this decision under repression and pressure, Ezine, a single city, led by Governor Halit Bey, did not recognize this decision. Some of the district’s müdafaa-i hukukçuları were killed and others escaped and continued to resist. Governor Halit Bey did not leave the city and he was arrested and imprisoned In June 1922. They could not take the lives of Halit Bey because they were afraid of international pressures and public reaction. In the Great Offensive, which started under the supreme military command of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Greek troops in Ezine withdrew from the region on September 4, 1922 and fled from Geyikli by boarding to Greek ships. On September 18, 1922, a small Turkish unit and on September 22, 1922, the II. The Cavalry Division under the detached cavalry corps, which was commanded by Fahrettin Altay, entered Ezine under the command of Miralay Zeki Bey, and Ezine was saved. After the Lausanne Peace Treaty, the exchange that began on November 10, 1923, 500 families and 2500 populations from Greece were settled in Ezine in between 1925 and 1928. Ezine, which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk paid special attention to because of its heroism during the War of Independence, was restructured with the Republican period. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk personally visited Ezine on April 14, 1934 and honored this heroic city.

In 1935, 15 families and 50 populations emigrated to Ezine from Bulgaria and Romania and settled in Ezine and its villages. After World War II, 40 families and 160 populations again from Bulgaria were settled in Ezine in 1950.

Thus, for the Turks who remained stateless in the Balkans, Ezine became a brand new home. The city center in Ezine, which remains its municipality status during the Republic of Turkey, was moved to the east of the Akçin stream when the building used to be used as a teacher’s house began to be used as the Government Office of Ezine.

Places that may interest you

Grand Mosque
First period one of the oldest mosques of the Ottomans

Stone School
Ezine's First City Hall

Sefershah Bathhouse
Yildirim Bayezid period one of the oldest standing baths

Zeytinli Mosque
The Ottoman Mosque at the period of Suleiman the Magnificent

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