Hacibektas district is 46 km (28 miles) away from Nevsehir. Arriving in the small Central Anatolian town of Hacıbektas, you will be startled to find yourself walking past a line of stalls selling the sort of merchandise that is conspicuous by its absence elsewhere in the country: triptychs showing Atatürk, Caliph/Imam Ali and Haci Bektas Veli; scimitar-like swords of Ali; miniature baglamas adorned with images of Ali; carpets woven with a picture of Ali set against a rocky landscape with a placid lion resting at his feet; and, rather more prosaically, plenty of empty plastic water containers, too.

The answer lies in the fact that Hacibektas is home to the shrine of Haci Bektas Veli, a medieval mystic who probably arrived here from Khorasan in what is now Iran some time in the 13th century and established the powerful and influential Bektasi order of dervishes, whose beliefs have much in common with those of the Alevis for whom Ali is especially important. Consequently, the little town has become a popular pilgrimage site for modern-day Bektasis and Alevis, particularly between Aug. 16 and 18, when it swells with visitors who come to take part in a three-day jamboree of music and dancing interspersed, unfortunately, with the inevitable politicking (most of it on the first day).

The focus of events is the shrine of Haci Bektas Veli, which has been turned into a museum. Newly renovated, this is now a great place to visit, offering lots of information on a dervish order that is often hard for an outsider to understand but which is unique in having been banned twice: once in 1826 when it suffered the same fate as the janissaries, many of whom were Bektasis, and again in 1925 when Ataturk banned all of Turkey’s dervish orders (the Bektasis having been permitted a new lease on life in 1863).

Many people visit Hacibektas from Cappadocia, in which case it’s worth knowing that there are two possible routes. The first follows the Kizillrmak from Avanos, offering wonderful vistas of unspoiled river as you near Gulsehir. The second, from Nevsehir, passes the Acik Saray, a rock-cut monastic complex that receives far fewer visitors than some of Cappadocia’s better known sites. It then passes through Gulsehir, where, on the outskirts, you can pause to visit the 13th-century Church of St. John with some of the finest frescoes in Cappadocia.

Hacibektas has only a couple of basic hotels and restaurants. Most visitors will be better off visiting on a day and stay Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar or Avanos cave and rock cut boutique hotels. There is not many travel agency do day trip to Hacibektas but Kairos Travel have daily tours to Hacibektas.


We Recommend  : Kairos Travel  |  Unlu Hotel | Captivating Cappadocia
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