Hacıbektaş Festival

The mystic and philosopher Hacı Bektaş Veli founded a Muslim sect in the 13th century that was a synthesis of Shiite, Sufi, and humanist thought. He gained a following of Sufi dervishes, the Bektashis, as well as considerable political influence; the Janissary corps of warriors of the Ottoman Empire, established a century after Hacı Bektaş’ death, made Bektashism their official order and revered him as their spiritual leader. A colorful three-day festival celebrating Hacı Bektaş begins each year on August 16 in Hacıbektaş (40 km/25 miles northwest of Avanos on Route D765), the town that both bears his name and contains his tomb. Sufi dancing and music fill the streets, while souvenir shops sell trinkets with pictures of Hacı Bektaş, Atatürk, and the Imam Ali.

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