A grand mosque maybe the centre for prayer in most urban locations but out in the sticks things are downsized considerably as we explain in our whistle stop tour of the Fethiye ‘yayla’.

‘Yayla’ is the Turkish word for the high summer pastures, where people migrated with their flocks and herds in the summer to escape the intense heat on the coast. But what did they do for mosques up there?

We have long been fans of yayla mosques which, in their simplest form, are a raised platform, open to the sky and sometimes labelled ‘mescid’ (prayer place).

However, latterly, there would seem to be an element of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ creeping into yayla places of worship in the Fethiye area as shown below.

This image shows what was once a basic prayer platform that has now been enclosed, and had a dome and two tiny minarets added.

The next picture shows a rather upmarket yayla mosque that even has speakers for the call to prayer.

We think the platform to the right was probably the local praying place until the mini mosque was built.

And finally our favourite. A really tiny mosque that has had a free standing minaret added later.

We peeped through the window into this one and it had carpets on the floor and a wood fire (soba) to keep worshippers warm in winter. And there was no sign of any speakers so we think someone climbs the ladder to the top of the concrete base of the minaret, to shout out the call to prayer – we didn’t have time to hang around and check this.

And, amazingly, all three of our photos were taken within a couple of miles on the Gölhisar – Altınyayla road recently. Seems there’s a boom in mini mosque building in the yayla!

Photographs courtesy of Elaine Gossman.

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