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Abdel Musa

Abdel Musa

1. The other shrine

2. Inside the Cem Evi

3. Invited home

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Cult centre of Alevism

Abdel Musa, Turkey

Abdel Musa, Turkey

For Alevis in this region, Abdel Musa, is the most important cult centre. The tekke stands right outside the village, a building with an Anatolian cone roof, which also is frequent with Armenian churches and even the religious buildings of the Yazidi religion.
The sanctuary here follows a pan-religious pattern. A holy man has lived and died here, a shrine is later erected around his grave, and over time religous functions and qualities are attributed to the place.
The garden surrounding the tekke has become a burial ground, and the results of a half-hearted attempt to turn a larger area into a culture park can be seen between the tekke and the parking ground.
One can freely enter the shrine, which has two sections. The first is a resting area, heavily carpeted with several images around it. A couple of concrete sarcophagi stand in one corner. Along the axis from the main entrance is a door leading to the tomb of Abdel Musa and a few others as well. This room is simpler in shape, and has a number of props that both resemble Islam, and others that differ. On the walls hang the names of the 12 imams, and each tomb has a green blanket with writings in Arabic letters. There is even a Koran on display here. But the elevated sarcophagi are not aligned with the direction of Mecca, just to make sure that things may look Islamic, but really they are not.

Abdel Musa, Turkey

There are no services in town. Getting to and from Abdel Musa is not difficult, there are plenty of minibuses connecting to other villages, as well as to Elmali, the main transport hub of the region.


By Tore Kjeilen