Mudurnu in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List


Observed uniquely in Turkish communities, Akhism combined moral manners with arts and crafts, considering work as a form of worship and providing social justice and cohesion to Seljuk and Ottoman society. This way of life took root in Anatolian towns like Mudurnu, where its legacy survives in the most intact and long-standing manner, both as a living tradition and in the physical milieu. (Summary of the proposed Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, in the Nomination File of 2018)

Mudurnu developed as a trading and military hub at the junction of major trade routes including the Silk Road, to emerge as an important cultural centre of the Ahi Order in the Ottoman era. The dense linear settlement, lying along the rocky Mudurnu River valley, forms a harmonious ensemble of natural topography and urban fabric, creating a dramatic historic urban landscape. The legacy of Ottoman trade and crafts, the Ahi culture based on a philosophy of tolerance and equitable distribution of wealth, and associated monumental and civic architecture are significant features of this landscape.

As an Early Ottoman religious philosophy, the Ahi tradition is particular to Anatolia and has played a key role in the development of Turkish sovereignty and culture in Anatolia. Kept alive in the social and physical milieu of Mudurnu since the 14th century, the Ahi tradition has clear reflections in the urban environment. The most striking social reflection of the Ahi tradition is the Merchants’ Prayer (Esnaf Duası) that has been performed in the historical bazaar (Arasta) for 700 years. The physical reflections of the Ahi culture are seen in the building activity that was undertaken with the wealth accumulated by the organization of Ahi guilds and Mudurnu’s strategic location at the junction of major routes. Significant elements of this built heritage are the Arasta that is home to the traditional artisanal trades, the vernacular urban fabric containing sophisticated examples of Western Black Sea region timber houses, the Yıldırım Bayezıd Mosque representing an important step in the evolution of the Ottoman single-domed mosque architecture and other monuments such as the hammam, saint tombs and graves of the Ottoman period. (Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, as proposed on the Tentative List in 2015)

For more information:

UNESCO World Heritage Center website:

Ministry of the Culture and Tourism website: