A Turkic Legacy on a Riverbed: Lodge of Blagay

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Nehir Kenarın'da Ev

Translater: Hanne Türkmen

And it is from water that We created all life. (Al-Anbiya:30)

If you ever come across a sign with this ayah written in four different languages on it in Bosnia and Herzegovina, congratulations! You’ve made it to this beautiful lodge of Blagay in Mostar.

Blagay is a nearly 600 years old lodge located on the head of Buna River in a gorgeous nature of blue and green blending together, in Mostar. The lodge was officially named after its founder, Sarı Saltuk but it’s now known by the town name where it’s located. There is a sign with Turkish, Bosnian, English, and Russian writings at the entrance. According to the information on the sign, the lodge was opened by dervishes in the 15th century with the ideology of “loving the created for the creator’s sake” and since it’s been home to tariqas of Qadiriyya, Rufaiyya, Halvatiyya, and Naqshbandi. The lodge has prayer rooms, guest rooms, a kitchen, a bathing place, an inner court, and a washroom. 

It’s important to get acquainted with Sarı Saltuk to know the lodge better. He hasn’t just opened the lodge, but he was an important dervish of his time. It is written in a folk story that Sarı Saltuk was a follower and student of Haji Bektash Veli and he went to Rumelian land as a bureaucrat.

Lodge of Blagay

With the idea of making jihad without spilling blood, the Ottomans helped thousands of people to convert to Islam in the Balkans by sending out numerous Bektashi dervishes there. The humble and just attitudes of the dervishes had a big impact on the locals having sympathy towards Islam as they have been living under hard circumstances their whole lifetime. Sarı Saltuk was one of the first dervishes to come to the Balkans. His founding of this lodge has had a vast role in Bosnians’ conversion to Islam. Sarı Saltuk’s tomb is in the lodge and the lodge has thousands of visitors every day.
An Ottoman flag is hung at the entrance of the lodge. A lot of Bosnians still wave Ottoman flags in their minarets saying, “We are Ottoman”. Again, at the entrance, we see a symbol of a sword and a sun. The sword symbolizes Islam and the sun symbolizes that Islam will reach every land the sun rises and sets.
Every year on Ashura day, ashouras are made in huge pots and given to the locals. Christian clergy also visit the lodge because of their respect for the lodge. To commemorate Fatih Sultan Mehmet, special events are held on the second Friday of May and the 28th of May,
Islam has left love as its biggest legacy, wherever it has reached. Alhamdulillah for this beautiful religion that has legated us with the best legacy: love.

This article was originally written in Turkish. Click to read it! Nehir Yamacında Bir Türk Mirası: Blagay Tekkesi

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