Historical Vizier (Asaf) Ahmet Pasha Inn in Yenice presented by Batzakidis
Historian Yorgos Batzakidis presented the results of the scientific research they conducted with retired preacher Sedat Karadayı at a meeting held at the Xanthi Municipality Cultural Center on Wednesday, February 8th.
The introductory meeting started with a minute's silence for those who lost their lives in the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
Asaf-ı Ahmet Paşa Hanı-(Kervansaray) Yenice-i Karasu, which was founded 411 years ago and whose existence was not even known by many, was unearthed after months of meticulous scientific work. All Ottoman data related to this Ottoman historical work were translated into Greek after long studies.
Local administrators, historians, history lovers, academics, and many Xanthi lovers followed the promotional event held at the Xanthi Cultural Center on Wednesday, February 8th.
The historian Yorgos Batzakidis, who is famous for researching Ottoman history, explained that the research about the historical inn started with the reading of the inscription in the historical mosque in Yenice.
Underlining that Ottoman inscriptions are not easy to read, Batzakidis said, “Ottoman is a very difficult and broad language. In order to read, understand and translate it, it is necessary to know at least Ottoman and Arabic, and even Persian very well. Therefore, I would like to say that I could not do this research without my teacher Sedat Karadayı, who knows Ottoman and Arabic very well. I really thank him very much. We started off by reading the book. In 1870, a great fire broke out in Yenice and almost everything was destroyed. There for it was not easy for him to reach the inscription as a document. We found it, we read it, we translated it, and 150 years later we uncovered the real information.”
In his presentation, Batzakidis reminded that they also benefited from Evliya Çelebi's travel books while doing the research, and said, "In the 8th volume of Evliya Çelebi's Travel Book, it is written that he visited Xanthi and Yenice in 1677/8. Here he depicts an image he recorded as a Caravanserai, with forty hearths covered with lead on its roof. He was fascinated by the Han in question. In the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan of that period was Sultan Ahmet I. Vizier Ahmet Pasha took the name (Ekmekçizade) Ahmet Pasha in this period.”
FIRST COFFEE HOUSE IN YENİCE
Explaining that the first coffeehouse in the region was established in Yenice in the middle of the 16th century, “The inscription says that Xanthi's first coffeehouse was opened in this big inn. Coffee comes from Yemen to Cairo and from there to Istanbul. Later, coffeehouses spread to Europe and the whole world. In Xanthi, the first coffeehouse started to operate with the operation of the inn in Yenice in 1611. The coffeehouse in Yenice had a great impact on the lives of the people living there and the people around. Coffeehouses were built in 1633 by Sultan IV. Murat was closed on time. It is known that those meeting places were closed as a result of people constantly spending time in coffeehouses and ignoring the time prayers. Therefore, it is recorded that the first coffeehouse was established in Yenice,” he said
Stating that the establishment story of the inn is also told in Evliya Çelebi's travel books, Batzakidis said, "The establishment of this inn is related to the poet Mehmet (bey) Tîğî, who wrote the twelve lines of the epitaph. The most important recorded works bearing the signature of Tîğî Mehmet are as follows: The inscription of Selimiye Mosque in Edirne and the inscription of Edirne Ali Pasha Grand Bazaar.”
It is understood that the inn in Yenice has the same architectural features as the inn in Plovdiv in Bulgaria.
LAST WORDS OF BATZAKIDIS
Yorgos Batzakidis said at the end of his speech:
“I personally say that it is important research for me. We conducted a long and meticulous study of Yenice-i Karasu, especially its inn, and its historical monuments. I believe you will find it interesting. If you go below 150 years ago, you will find incredibly important evidence of a civilization that lived for more than five hundred years and was lost in time.
Like the Ahmed Pasha Inn, the only example of the period whose construction has passed 411 years, now is the time to commemorate him and enjoy the blessing of being there in our city, in our governorship, and whatever is left of it. Most importantly, let us be proud that one of the three preserved inscriptions is found in Xanthi, perhaps the work of this great poet and epigraphologist of the Ottoman Empire who (for most) died in 1627.
These are discoveries that contribute to the understanding of the historical period in question and fill in the gaps in our local history.
Another wonderful journey of meticulous, long study and research has come to an end."
Batzakidis answered the questions at the end of his presentation.
Batzakidis also signed the book Xanthi Clock Tower, which he wrote before, for book lovers.
Batzakidis, who said that researching Ottoman historical artifacts in our region "is now a part of my life" for him, said that they will continue to work in this field together with retired preacher Sedat Karadayı, whom he addressed as "my teacher".