A millennium ago, the Islamic geography witnessed the grandiose and magnificent culture of the Sel- juks, one of the greatest and noteworthy dynasties of its history. However, this short-lived dynasty was wiped away by the Mongolian invasions. In spite of its short life, the Seljuk civilization was recorded and registered as a bright period of human history.
Seljuks launched a march of civilization from the east to the west, from the north to the south as of the eleventh century. They influenced the vast geography encompassing Central Asia, Middle East and Anatolia for 268 years. Starting off from the steppes of Central Asia, the Seljuks came nearby Constantinopolis, the grand capital of the East Roman Empire, conveying their own cultural values and Islamic tolerance with them. Quoting the words of a great man of letters, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar who beautifully summarized this ancient civilization as “the Seljuk Renaissance was like spring blossoms blanketed under an untimely snowstorm,” this short-lived state still left behind unforgettable traces. The Seljuk conquest of Anatolia paved the way for a new process in shaping the history. Emblazing candles of the Orient once again and reflecting the enlightened face of Islam to the entire world, the Seljuks had tolerantly managed to bring religious life style and mystic opinions along with positive sciences to the top. A civilization of latitudinarianism, succeeding in keeping people of various ethnicities and religions together, the Seljuks offered a new civilization experience to the world. It is not a coincidence that our nation - the fundamental element of this land - has lived in peace and tranquillity. Neither is it that commercial life has developed with the revival of the Silk Route nor that accomplishments of religious and scholarly lives have cast light over many centuries. It was the “Seljuk Peace” that enabled peace and tolerance to dominate this land throughout centuries.
The Ottoman State founded in Anatolia by another tribe of the Oghuz Turks proceeded through the gates opened by the Seljuks and preserved the trust they took over from the Seljuks. Becoming one of the greatest empires of the Islamic history, the Ottomans retained sciences and arts, culture and social life, justice and welfare of the ancient civilization for the next six hundred years. We still continue to ex- plore the structure of the state, architecture, art and daily life of the Seljuks who allowed us to appropri- ate this land as our home, and who, by bringing affluence, happiness and richness, introduced a golden age to the lands under their influence at a very chaotic period both politically and socially. Today, we continue our progress through the gates of the Seljuk civilization under the guidance of our researches.
The Selçuklu Municipality has undertaken a significant mission to publicize the Seljuk civilization, after which it is named. As such, the Municipality has assumed the responsibility of conducting au- thentic and quality studies under the patronage of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. Some of the works thus produced by our Municipality under the auspices of the President include, but are not limited to, the Inventory of the Great Seljuk Architecture and Museum Artefacts encompassing the Seljuk works across twenty-one countries, Photography Album of the Anatolian Seljuk Era Works, International Symposium on Seljuk Cities and Civilization, International Symposium on Science and Thought in the Seljuk Era, photography exhibitions on Seljuk works held in the USA and Austria, exhibition on “the Great Seljuks’ Heritage” held in Turkmenistan, and the “Seljuks Exhibition” opened at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art in Istanbul.
"Inventory Project of Anatolian Seljuk Era Architecture and Museum Artefacts” conducted as mentioned above, under the patronage of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey is hereby completed.
Within the frame of this Project:
This bilingual (Turkish and English) publication of five volumes covering the “The Heritage of Anatolian Seljuk Era - Architecture” and “The Heritage of Anatolian Seljuk Era - Museum Artefacts” has reached 2,520 pages.
Eighty architectural works were filmed and a 30-minute documentary has been prepared.
Museum artefacts, whose total number is debatable, registered only in the museum inventory books have been for the first time brought together from various museum collections and digitally documented.
The work on “The Heritage of Anatolian Seljuk Era - Museum Artefacts” has also enabled building a visual archive by photographing the artefacts at fifty-four museums across thirty-nine provinces.
During the work on “The Heritage of Anatolian Seljuk Era - Architecture”, 666 monu- ments across forty-six provinces have been photographed to build a visual archive.
Scholars specialized on “The Heritage of Anatolian Seljuk Era - Architecture and Mu- seum Artefacts” wrote down specific texts, which cast light onto many unknowns and correct the inaccurate information.
I would also like to present my deep gratitude and high appreciation to our President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has patronised “the Inventory Project of Anatolian Seljuk Era Architecture and Museum Artefacts” as a continuation of our Municipality’s former projects.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to valuable scholars, Prof. Dr. Kenan Bilici, Asst. Prof. Dr. Rüstem Bozer, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Muharrem Çeken, as well as the photographers, and to everyone who has partaken in and contributed to the “The Heritage of the Anatolian Seljuk Era - Architecture and Museum Artefacts Project”.
Uğur İbrahim Altay