The complex is dedicated to (Seyyid) Battal Gazi, an epic hero based on a warrior who fought with the Umayyad army against Byzantium and who is believed to have been martyred on the site. It is built into the eastern slopes of Üçler Hill overlooking Seyitgazi, a Turcoman village near the Roman-Byzantine settlement of Nicolea, which grew in size and in importance during the Ottoman period.
The complex as it appears today consists of domed masonry structures enveloping three sides of a terraced courtyard. The funerary madrasa of Ümmühan Hatun is located at the southwest corner, while the tomb of Battal Gazi, khanqah mosque and semahane form a cluster at the southeast corner. The latter are joined with an L-shaped portico to dervish cells enclosing the shorter east side of the courtyard. A row of domed halls housing the kitchens (asevi), bakery (ekmekevi) and ceremonial rooms (Halife Meydani and Kirklar Meydani) constitute the northern wing. The main entrance is located at the basement level of dervish cells and reached by a road from the town below.
An inscription above the door of the single-domed mosque dates its foundation to 1207-1208 (604 A.H.) during the second reign of Seljuk Sultan Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev I (Ghiyath al-Din Kay-Khusraw I, 1192-1196, 1205-1211). While lacking foundation inscriptions, the tomb of Ümmühan Hatun and its adjoining madrasa are also thought to have been built at this time. The Seljuk complex was renovated and enlarged during the rule of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (1448-1512), establishing it as a convent (khanqah) of the Kalenderi sect. The tomb of Battal Gazi bears two plaques from this period, crediting renovations in 1500 (906 A.H.) and 1511 (917 A.H.) by Mustafa Hizir and Ahmed bin Mihal; the latter is commemorated in a second plaque above the madrasa portal and buried inside the complex. The mosque also bears a renovation plaque from 1511, announcing the contributions of Güzelce Seyyid Sheikh Hüseyin. Revered by the larger Alevi, Bektasi and Ahi communities, the khanqah functioned as a Bektasi khanqah from the 17th century until its demise in the early 19th century. It was brought to our day with restorations conducted in 1967 by the General Directorate of Religious Endowments (Vakiflar Genel Müdürlügü) and is currently maintained by the Seyyid Battal Gazi Vakfi (est. 1991).
The madrasa is located at the southwest corner of the precinct and is aligned north-south. It is roughly rectangular in plan, measuring about twenty-five meters at the widest and twenty-two meters at its longest. The tomb chamber extends an additional six meters beyond its northern wall. The ensemble is also known after Ümmühan Hatun, wife of Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev and mother of Ala'addin Keykubad (Ala al-Din Kay-Qubadh, 1220-1237), whose sarcophagus is located inside the tomb.
A simple, south-facing portal leads into the domed madrasa court, which is flanked by arcades containing three student cells and an iwan on either side. There are two shallow basins near the entrance. The large iwan to the north is the tomb chamber; it is raised half a story from the court with separate sets of stairs leading up to the iwan and into the crypt below. The cells and arcade, and the tomb chamber are all covered with pointed barrel-vaults; the walls of the latter have three semicircular buttresses on the exterior. The open court was enclosed with one small and two large domed during the rule of Bayezid II. The arcade walls were raised, and a grand arch was built between the central pillars of the arcade to support the new roof. The courtyard is now lit solely with clerestory windows above the arcade.
The madrasa walls are constructed of rough-hewn stone and lack decoration except for the Greco-Roman moldings embedded into the cut stone paneling of the tomb's exterior. The small, rectangular tomb of Ayni Ana (Kadincik) adjoins the crypt of the Ümmühan Hatun Tomb inside the khanqah courtyard.
The Mosque, Semahane and Battal Gazi Tomb
The semahane, ceremonial hall used for the whirling ritual (sema) is located at the southwest corner of the courtyard, preceded by a portico. It consists of three domed halls aligned north-south and separated by grand archways. The large octagonal tomb of Battal Gazi adjoins the western wall of the semahane and is entered from a portal inside the southernmost hall. The tomb-keeeper's room (formerly a cellar) and three isolation chambers (çilehane) flank the semahane halls to the east. An arched portal at the at the southern end of the semahane leads into the mosque, a square domed hall that measures twelve meters per side on the exterior. It has a tall cylindrical minaret with a muqarnas balcony and conical crown.
The dervish cells and halls on the east and north sides of the courtyard are all equipped with furnaces; their numerous domes and chimneys dominate a dynamic skyline of the khanqah complex.
Altinsapan, Erol. Ortaçag'da Eskisehir ve çevresinde Türk sanati, (11.-15. yüzyillar mimarisi), 115-119. Eskisehir, Turkey: T.C. Anadolu Üniversitesi, 1999.
Kuran, Aptullah. Anadolu Medreseleri, 69-70. Ankara: Orta Dogu Teknik Üniversitesi Mimarlik Fakültesi, 1969.
Küçükcan, Ilyas. Nacolea'dan Seyitgazi'ye Seyyid Battal Gazi Külliyesi ve Vakfi. Eskisehir, Turkey: Seyyid Battal Gazi Vakfi, 1997.
Melikoff, I. "Al-Battal (Sayyid Battal Ghazi)". In The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1103-1104. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1983.
Sözen, Metin. Anadolu medreseleri; Selçuklu ve beylikler devri., 6-9. Istanbul: Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, Mimarlik Tarihi ve Rölöve Kürsüsü, 1970.
Yüksel, I. Aydin. Osmanli mimârîsinde II. Bâyezid, Yavuz Selim Devri (886-926/1481-1520), 369-372. Istanbul: Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1983.