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Meşhetlik (Martyrs' Cemetery)

Continuing on from the district of Şehitler in a southeasterly direction, you can take a short walk around the commercial area of Kilis which holds many traces of Kilis’s history, and eventually you will arrive at the “Meşhetlik”.

“In the cemetery of the district of Şehitler (timber market), the names of 3,000 sahaba (disciples of the prophet Mohammed) are inscribed on the tombstones. They are the sahaba who fell as martyrs when this city was besieged by Halid İbn-i Velid.”

The graves and names which are specified in Evliya Çelebi’s travel journal are not known today. Different numbers of graves are referred to in various sources, but it is clear that there were large numbers of sahaba in the region.

It is said that this area is known as “meşhetlik” (war cemetery) in memory of the sabaha who gave their life fighting for Kilis. It is also why the mosque that was built here is called Cüneyne (Little Heaven). İbrahim Hakkı Konyalı, after discussions with the traders and artisans of the time, explained that the end grave opposite the blacksmiths belonged to the holy Said, one of the sahaba. Today, the gravestones at the side of the road inscribed with “martyr” have actually been placed to indicate the edges of the memorial martyrs’ cemetery. The border of the martyrs’ cemetery lies between the first and third graves. Previously, the first gravestone was inscribed with Bidayetül Meşhet (start of martyrs’ cemetery) and the third gravestone with Nihayetül Meşhet (end of martyrs’ cemetery).

It is said that until recently, the local people of Kilis would remove their shoes when passing this area out of respect for the martyred sahaba.

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