Gül Baba türbéje

Mecset utca 14

The burial-vault of Gül Baba, a Turkish dervish honoured as a holy man, was built between 1543 and 1548. Converted into a museum, it is a well-known place of pilgrimage for Muslims. (From: budapestinfo.hu)

Turkish Bektashi dervish whose türbe (tomb) in Buda (part of present-day Budapest) became a Muslim place of pilgrimage. Gül Baba arrived in Hungary in 1541 in the company of Süleyman I. According to 17th-century Turkish traveler and writer Evliya Çelebi, Baba died in Buda during the Turkish siege of the city. His coffin, as legend has it, was carried by Süleyman I himself. In 1543–48 the third pasha of Buda had a tomb built on Baba’s grave. Many details of Baba’s life are based on legend. Even his name is the subject of debate. The most common modern interpretation of it is “Father of the Roses” (gül, “rose”; baba, “father”). Another theory is that he was originally called Kel (“Bald”) Baba, which only after his death became Gül when his tomb was covered with roses. Others believe that during religious ceremonies Baba was capable of kissing a red-hot iron, known as a “gül” in the dervish community. Finally, some believe that the dervishes called all of their leaders Gül Baba. (From: britannica.com)

To access this spot via foot you must either climb a steep cobblestone street or ascend several flights of stairs. Despite walking everywhere for the past few weeks, I was somewhat winded by the time I reached the top. The tomb is perched above the city in a residential neighborhood. You can access a lookout for a fantastic view even when it is closed. When we arrived, the tomb was in fact closed, but a security guard agreed to pen it for us for a small donation (we each gave him around $1) The building with the coffin sits close to the middle of a square of small buildings or walls. We were able to enter and look at the tomb itself, as long as we didn’t step on the prayer mats inside. Perhaps the most memorable things are the view, being so close to the actual coffin and all of the ornate tile work. Special thanks to Niki and Daniel for taking me there.

Cartographer A

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