HomeBEYOND TURKEYCultural Heritage of Turks in Somalia, Africa

Cultural Heritage of Turks in Somalia, Africa

Monuments

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Zeyla Island
Group: Settlement
Genre: Historic City
Culture: Ottoman
Century: 17th century
Region: Somalia, Zeyla

It was an important island and trade center during the Ottoman period. Later it was connected to the land. There are many Ottoman artifacts on the island.

A port city on the northeast corner of Somalia, the city of Zeila remained under ottoman rule, despite few interruptions, from XVI. century to the first half of XX. century. The various architectural works build by the ottomans can be seen on the XIX. century engravings. From these works only a few deformed and deteriorated ruins have reached us today. The archival records of these architectural works have yet to be identified, but the architectural style and interactions stand as significant proof of Ottoman presence in the city.

One of these works, the Mausoleum of Sheikh İbrahim, while the exact construction date is not known, is believed to have been built sometime in the middle of XIV. century. Probably initially built as a tomb, it was later on converted into a Mausoleum. Richard Burton mentions an inscription here, dated 1155/1741-42.

It is not certain whether this inscription was original or made during renovations, or is a scavenged material or not. Burton also mentions a Turkish minaret in city, this can also be inferred from the engravings. The mausoleum-like buildings seen on the engravings lacks the dents which could be used as a reference to local architecture.

For various reasons, it is believed that the active architectural effect Ottoman State had on the city in 1517 can somehow be considered as a reference for the conversion of this tomb into a mausoleum. It is highly likely that the ottoman architectural works which began to develop in Yemen and Mecca in XVI. century influenced the construction of this mausoleum. It Is estimated that the mausoleum was renovated again in the first half of XIX. century with Ottoman State as the benefactor. This study will evaluate opinions on Mausoleum of Sheikh Ibrahim, which we believe to be originally an Ottoman work, and to other mausoleums in Zeila.

Observations on the Tomb Architecture in Zeyla in Ottoman Period

 

 

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