Maraş Mansions and Houses
There are more than 200 historic houses throughout the City of Kahramanmaraş. In terms of aesthetics, these mansions are beautiful examples of elegance and workmanship. The most important of Maraş mansions have two floors, but three floors are not uncommon. The typical building material found in all Maraş houses are earth and wood. Another indispensable feature of these houses are separate buildings from the main house called the ‘Haremlik and Selamlık’. The Haramlik was used as a residence for the women or wives and the Selamlik was usually located in the courtyard near the gates as a greeting, resting or entertaining place for guests before moving on into the main house, if at all.
The structures of the houses in Maraş are designed according to specific needs. There is a courtyard in front of all Maraş houses. The outer street entrance is located in the courtyard wall. The exterior entry has a double wooden door, having a smaller door fitted into the larger one. The small door is called the ‘lamb’s door’. This smaller door is for people or small animals and the big door is for passenger vehicles or larger bovine animals. In the center of each courtyard there are oval, round or angular fountains or pools. Every house had a fountain or a well and in the courtyard there was at least one tree, especially figs and pomegranates. Grape arbors were the most preferred.
The bottom floor of the house was used as a barn, hay croft or storeroom. There was also a secret compartment in the bottom floor of the majority of homes. Behind this secret partition was a place to hide in wartime or used in the winter months for preserved foods or storage for other various foodstuffs. There was a door leading to these shelters/pantries from the house kitchen.
The stairs to the second floor of the house, had rooms that all opened to a central sofa or living area as opposed to a hallway as in today’s homes. In Maraş houses, small ablution rooms were usually built outside the house for ritual washing before prayers. Almost all Maraş houses have large furnaces and two cook stoves, one large and one small. The large stove was used for cooking, washing laundry, baking bread and holiday meals. The small stove was used for cooking daily meals and for small tasks such as warming things up. The fire was always kept lit in the small stove.
Maraş Mansions and Houses: