Author: Özge Eda Köse
Elif Karakoç, “Kubbat al-Islam Until The Ottoman Empire: The City of Ahlat” Marmara University Fine Arts Faculty, 2018, Master Thesis
Ahlat, one of the most important cities in the Middle Ages, is an old and important settlement on the northwestern coast of Lake Van. Historical sources and archaeological evidence reveal that the city of Ahlat has been under the administration of many large or small states or principals. Due to its geographical location, socio-economic structure, and knowledge and culture center, it has always been the target of other states. Ahlat, which contains various values, sometimes lived the most splendid, powerful times and sometimes weakest times. In the sources Ahlat was given the title of “Kubbat al-Islam”, meaning “the dome of Islam”. This title is proof that Ahlat is a knowledge and culture center that educates many jurists, scholars, clergy and artisans. There are three major cities in history that have been identified with the title: Bukhara in Uzbekistan, Belh in Afghanistan, and Ahlat which is a district of Bitlis today in Anatolia. Ahlat given the title of “Kubbat al-Islam” in the Middle Ages; in the Seljuk period, with qualities of science, culture, trade etc., has become one of the biggest cities of Islamic world and has the most brilliant period. The purpose of this study is to reveal the physical structure, neighborhoods, population, social structure, economic and commercial life, and buildings, i.e. the urban history of the Old City of Ahlat in the Middle Ages, based on the resources of the time and the archaeological evidence. Thus, it will try to shed light on the traces of past life in the city.