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S U M M A R Y

On the Inscription of Köprüpazar (Belkis) Bridge
Z. Kenan BİLİCİ*

The Seljuk bridge on the Köprüpazar Çayı, 2 km south of the Acropolis of Aspendos and inland from the Antalya-Manavgat highway has been studied at various times.

It is known that the present bridge, also known as "Köprü Pazar(I)", "Köprü Çayı". "Sultan Alaeddin", or "Belkıs" bridge in the sources, was built with new ramparts and platforms due to new topographic necessities arising from the change in the river course and it replaced a Roman bridge elated to the beginning of the 4th century A.D. It has recently been restored within the framework of the "Aspendos Aqueduct Survey Project".

This article tries to shed light on the identity of the patron of the builder and on the date of construction, using the inscription fragments from the Seljuk period from this bridge which have never been published before.

In the late 1910's, having examined the two hardly legible inscription pieces, of 6m in length, S. Fikri Erten recorded that this bridge was built by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat 1st; and from this date onwards, every publication which mentioned this bridge repeated this information.

A few of the inscription fragments which support this information are found on the parapet of the first pier, on the mouth of the bridge facing the right bank of the river. The first fragment on the right reads: "...Keyhusraw bin Al-Sultan al-sa'id Qilic Ar' and the beginning of the letter "sin" is easily recognisable; the fragment in the middle reads "...Es-Sultan al-sa'id al-shahid 'Alay..."; and the last fragment on the left reads "... (A)cam (Su)ltan al-harr wa'l-bahrayn..." and the letters "zal" and "waw" are clearly legible to the left.

A fourth piece of this inscription, found in the riverbed, bears the phrase: "Al-Sultan al-A'zam Shahenshâh" and is to be completed as "As-Sultan al-sa'id al-shahid 'Alayh-i Rahmet Allah Ta'ala Kayhusraw bin al-Sultan al-sa'id Qilic Arslan...".

The first and second fragments were placed in incorrect positions during the restoration and one piece is still missing between them. The personages who are mentioned in the text are the Seljuk Sultans Kılıç Arslan Und and Giyasecldin Keyhusrev 1st. It can be understood that the name of Sultan Alaecldlin Keykubat 1st was also included, as the title "(Su)ltan al-barr wa'l-bahrayn" is also encountered.

The letters of "zal" and "waw" on the led of the third inscription piece point to the fact that, another name was inscribed there, therefore, Vlaeddin Keykubat cannot have been the actual builder. These two letters may be completed to form the phrase "Dhu'l-Qarnayn al-xaman", which is actually a title employed by Sultan Giyaseddin Keyhusrev IInd.

From a photograph, the fourth piece of this inscription, which has never been published before, reads as follows: "(Dhu)l-Qarnayn al-Zaman Husraw sahib Qiran Iskandar al-Sani farman-farma''. Giyfiseddin Keyhusrev II. who is mentioned as the "Dhu'l-Qarnayn" of the age, "the second Alexander", is also known as "Husraw sahib-Qiran". he who is faithful to The Order Giver. Further, the author is of the opinion that the title given to Sultan Giyaseddin Keyhusrev II of "(Dhu)l-Qarnayn al-xaman Huraw sahib Qiran Iskandar ul-sani farman-farma" will shecl light on the elate of this construction, which was probably inscribed on a missing piece of this inscription.

The inscription may be translated as follows:

"The construction of this auspicious bridge was ordered by the Great Sultan, the Great Shah of Shahs, the Master of Communities of Beliezers (Ummets), the Master of Arab and Ajam (non Moslem) Sultans, the Sultan of the land and the two seas (the Black Sea and the Mediterranean), the Dhul-Qarnayn (Alexander) of the Age. Husrev-i sahib-kiran. Faithful to the Order Giver (faithful to the Almighty), the Crown of the Seljuk dynasty, the Helper of the Religion and of the world, the Father of Conquests. Sultan Keyhusrev, the Fortunate, the Associate of the (Abbasid) Caliph, the son of Keykubad, the son of Sultan Keyhusrev. the Fortunate and the Martyr, -may God bless his soul the son of Sultan Kılıç Arslan, the Fortunate, in the year 637 (in the Christian calendar 1239/40)."


*Yrd. Doç. Dr. Z. Kenan Bilici, Ankara Üniversitesi, D,l ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi, Sanat Tarihi Bölümü, 06100 Sıhhıye-Ankara.

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