Divrigi Tourist Attractions
Northwest eastern AnatoliaSituation and ImportanceThis district town in the valley of the Çalti Çayi, a western tributary of the upper Euphrates (Firat Nehri), is the center of a major iron ore extracting region. The high iron content (50-65%) of the deposits found locally in the mountains makes them the richest in the Near East. The ore is taken to steelworks in Karabük, Eregli, Yarimca, Samsum and Elazig for smelting. Though situated in the midst of an infertile mountain landscape Divrigi enjoys a favorable climate, with mild winters and rainfall enough to produce lush vegetation. The Old Town below the citadel has some south Pontic Old Ottoman timber frame and mud houses, with simple but very attractive wood carvings and reliefs.HistoryIn the ninth century Divrigi (or Tephrike as it then was) became a stronghold of the Paulicians, a Christian sect who, fleeing from Byzantine persecution, sought refuge under the protection of the Abbasid emirs of Malatya. The sect first made its appearance in the mid-seventh century, militant nonconformists venerating the teachings of St Paul while at the same time rejecting the Eucharist and the symbolism of the Cross. In 872 the Byzantines finally occupied the town and the Paulician leader was murdered. After 1071 the area around Tephrike fell into the hands of the Mengüçoglu dynasty, who remained in control until 1252. The Mongols dismembered the fortifications and plundered the town. In 1516 Divrigi was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire; for a time, ruled by local Kurdish princes, it regained its importance as a regional center. From the 19th century onwards the Old Town which Ahmet Süleiman Mengüçoglu had founded below the citadel was increasingly abandoned in favor of a new settlement a little further west (now the center of the present town).
Ahmet Sah Darüssifasi
This old hospital stands alongside the Great Mosque (Ulu Cami), the two seeming to comprise a single building. They were endowed at the same time by the same patrons and built by the same architects. Note in particular the lavishly ornamented portal and carved interior vaulting.
On the hill above Divrigi are the ruins of a fortress, probably of Byzantine (or perhaps even Paulician) origin, and built in 872. It was restored by the Mengüçoglus in 1236 and 1252. Also on the hill is the Sahinsah Mosque (1180). Across the other side of the valley stands the Kestogan Kalesi.
The octagonal building (1196) south of the Great Mosque in Divrigi is the tomb of a local prince, the Emir Kemer Ed Din. Adjoining it is a small cemetery. The Kemankes Türbesi on the outskirts of the town dates from 1240. The Sitte Melik Türbesi not far north of the Great Mosque was built, again in 1196, for the patron of the Sahinsah Camii (roof collapsed).
Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi
Often described as the "first Baroque work", Divrigi's Great Mosque has earned itself a place in architectural history. Standing side-by-side with the Ahmet Sah Darüsifasi hospital, a short distance outside the town, the plain-walled complex measuring 64 x 32m/210 x 105ft was endowed in 1228 by Ahmet Sah Mengüçoglu and his wife Turan Malik. Its builders were Hurrem Sah from Ahlat and Ibn Ibrahim Oglu from Tiflis. The ensemble as a whole ranks high among the most important early works of Islamic architecture in Anatolia. The three portals, of which the most famous is the main north doorway (one of the other two has been walled up), are exuberantly carved with abstract plant designs revealing Georgian and Armenian influence. The staircase pulpit made in 1240 is one of the most beautiful in the country. The five-bay prayer hall has sixteen pillars carrying stellate vaulting, while above the section containing the prayer niche rises a ribbed dome surmounted by a helm roof. Ahmet Sah Mengüçoglu's türbe stands next to the mosque.
About 6km/4mi west of Divrigi, on the old caravan route from Sivas to Divrigi and Harput (Elazig), a few kilometers north of the village of Dumluca, are the ruins of a late 13th century caravanserai, Dipli Hani (1292).