When Roma parted into two regions in A.D.395, Phrygia remained in Byzantium region. Eskisehir and cities around lost their former importance in that period. Only Dorlion having hot spring resorts on the way of Pessinus trade road was able to stay alive. Arabian armies had invaded Byzantium lands, came the region near Eskisehir. In 708 Abbas Bin Velid and then in 778 Masan Bin Kataba occupied the region, respectively.
Byzantium-Arabian war, which lasted for 300 years beginning at the end of 7th century and continued until the end of 10th century, led to the creation of some legends and tales. The most important one of those legends is Seyit Battal Gazi legend. Seyit Battal Gazi legend was translated to “Digenis Aktiras” by Byzans.
According to the legend, Seyit Battal Gazi had lived at the age of Abbasi caliphs Mutasim and Vathig. However his birth was told to Hz. Muhammed by Cebrail before his death. For this reason one of the prophet’s men waited in a cave for 200 years. He fulfilled the prophet’s promise and gave Askar Divzade, the horse of Seyit Battal Gazi to himself.
According to another legend, the father of Seyit Battal Gazi was a commander in the army of Malatya Sultan. He died in a war against Greeks. Seyit Battal had learned all Islamic sciences when he was 13 years old. No one could compete with him in riding horse and using sword. He set out to take revenge of his father and he killed commander of hostile army, his brother and fourteen chief commanders within twenty-four hours. He traveled from India to Magrib, from one victory to another frightening his enemies far further the seven seas.
God had given supernatural forces to him. He had such a voice that seventy two thousand infidels fell into pieces in battlefield.
Rumour has it that, the daughter of a Greek castle’s commander fel in love with Seyit Battal. During the siege of that castle, while Battal was sleeping on grass, the daughter of commander saw aid sent by emperor to the castle. In order to awake Seyit Battal, she wrote note on paper and wrap up a stone with the paper and threw it to him. This little stone felt by chance to his heart and killed him immediately. In this accident God’s decree was proved. Otherwise, it is impossible that such a hero with supernatural powers to be beaten by his enemies.
In antiquity age Seyitgazi which was called as Nakoleia, was an important city for the time. However, in Christian Age the city lost his former power and bonded to Synnada Metropol Administration. In 198 it became Metropol again. After 9th century the name Napoleia was not seen. Seljuks, who spread Byzantium provinces, came to the borders of Phrygia in 1074. Then because of incursions one after another Napoleia lost its importance. It has been rumored that the Crusaders came to interior regions of Anatolia passing through Napoleia in 1079.
After Malazgirt Pitched Battle, Turks coming from east captured Eskisehir in 1074. After the city captured, Manuel Kommenos who wanted to stop Turkish tribes coming from east, withdrew to west as he became unsuccessful. Eskisehir became a location on the way of the Crusaders in Alparslan and I. Kilicarslan periods of ordering. There are not much traces belonging to this ages in Eskisehir city center.
Eskisehir region which was one of the centers of Ottoman Empire was on the way of militaries’ East expeditions. After Ertugrul Gazi died, his son Osman Bey took the control. After a while Osman Bey became governor, he became powerful and captured Eskisehir, Inonu, Seyitgazi, and Sivhisar, respectively. When Osman Bey was married with Sheikh Edebali’s daughter Malhatun, Eskisehir and its surroundings gained more strength. Osman Bey shared out the lands he gained in his healthy ages among his relatives. According to that, his brother Gunduzalp took the control of Eskisehir and surrounding area. Recent researches showed that the region Sultan-Oyugu Inonu belonged to Germians, out of Ottoman’s lands.
In 14th century, to the end of the period of Orhan Bey, Sultanonu was captured by Karamanogullari. During period of I. Murat, son of Orhan Bey, this region became a question of power among them. When I. Murat ascended the throne, he decided to organize a military expedition to Rumeli. Taking the advantage of the opportunity, Karamanogullari united their forces with Varsaks, Turguts, Turkmens and Sivas Governor against I. Murat. Sultan, having learned that plan, went back to Anatolia. He beat all of them and captured Ankara. While he was returning, he took Sultanonu in 1363 from Karamanogullari. Borders of Ottomans reached to Karamanogullari lands and at South to the North of Hamitogullari State. When Germian Governor’s daughter Devlet Hatun was married to Sultan’s son Bayezid in 1381, control of the Northwest part of Germian State was passed to Ottomans.
In early years of Ottoman State, names of Seyitgazi or Sivrihisar did not appear especially in entries about battles, because conquests were towards to Byzantium, Northwest for early years. Seyitgazi was pronounced to be an important center for Bektasizm for this period.
On the other hand, Sivrihisar was inside the borders of Karamanogullari State in first half of 14th century. It was added to Ottomans’ lands after the military expedition to Ankara by I. Murat.
While Ankara Battle in 1402, as Sultan Yildirim Bayezid was beaten by Timur Han, who was willing to end Ottomans’ sovereignty, gave Sivhisar and many other regions to Karamanogullari to strengthen other states. It is said that Timur had settled his headquarters in Sivrihisar for a while. After Yildirim Beyazid died, Sivrihisar had passed to Ottomans’ control again.
At the end of 15th century, the struggle among II. Bayezid and Cem Sultan had resulted in important events in Eskisehir, or i.e. Sultanonu region. Cem Sultan, who rushed into Bursa in 1481, beat Ayas Pasa’s army sent by II. Bayezid. After that II.Bayezid attacked to Bursa and beat Cem Sultan. Cem Sultan escaped to Eskisehir firstly and then went to Konya. He reached to Egypt in 1482.
In 16th century, Eskisehir gained importance according to its location. There is an interesting document that reached to us from Ottoman Empire in 16th century. The document includes pictures of miniature art, belonging to different centers of population, by Matrakci(Swordsman) Nasuh. He had participated Iran military expedition with Kanuni Sultan Suleyman.
In that age, talents about geometry, mathematics, history, military, battle tactics was called as “MATRAK”. His works left to present time are two books of mathematics, six books of history one of which is a translation about battle and army. In his books, there are also miniature pictures demonstrating Ottoman Army and battle strategies he told about.
Until early years of Faith’s governance, Eskisehir was a village under the control of Ankara State and then Kutahya State for 1451-1831. Eskisehir was governed by colonels between years 1451-1831 and then became a city bounded to “Hudavendigar” (Bursa) State in 1841. Eskisehir won its own identity as a province merely in 1925.
Eskisehir public started to feel the movement especially in economy created by railways in new age. The advantage of carriage of agricultural products and other raw materials had arisen. In addition beginning with the construction of railway here, new work places were opened. The population of Eskisehir had risen by immigrants in early 20th century and the appearance and social structure of the city had changed. After the great fire happened in Asagi District in 1905, marketplace and its surround burned out ad the city had to be reconstructed.
The Sivas Congress (September 4 th, 1919) was gathered under the chairmanship of Mustafa Kemal Pasha and the participators from Eskisehir were Siyahizade Halil Ibrahim Efendi, Bayraktarzade Hussein Bey and Husrev Sami Bey.
Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his friends decided to hold a meeting in Eskisehir. But Entente States prohibited the use of the Eskisehir-Ankara railway line, the meeting was therefore realized in Ankara. In his famous oration, Ataturk mentions that during the War of Independence a British Battalion with 520 soldiers and another detachment with 100 soldiers was sent to Eskisehir. These forces settled around the railway station in Eskisehir.
The Greeks who landed on 15 May 1919 in Izmir moved ahead on the line Menderes, Salihli, Akhisar and Ayvalik in a short time. The Greek Forces were also supported by the British General Milne and his forces in Istanbul. Apparently, British General Milne forbade both sides the attack. Nevertheless, the Greeks attacked and invaded on 22 June 1920 Bursa, Usak, Alasehir and Nazilli.
In Inonu 40 km away from Eskisehir, the First and Second Inonu Battles were done in the year 1921. For the Greeks, because of its strategic location, Eskisehir was extremely important to be kept in hand. Therefore, the First and Second Inonu Battles and Kutahya- Eskisehir Battle three of the five battles of the Turkish-Greek war were performed in Eskisehir.
At the end of the Eskisehir-Kutahya battles the Turkish Army retreated to the east of Sakarya. The Greeks attacked again on 23 August 1921. The enemy's army took the heaviest defeat and began to retreat on 30 August 1921. On 2 September 1922, the Turkish cavalry came from Seyitgazi, moved ahead from Tekkeonu to Eskisehir and expelled the enemy forces from Eskisehir. Before the Republican period, after the interruption of the first part of the Lausanne Conference meetings, Ismet Pasha and his delegation met with Mustafa Kemal Pasha in Eskisehir. Later, after the declaration of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Pasha came from the country trips by train to Eskisehir. He was met by the people with a great enthusiasm. When Ataturk came again to Eskisehir on 6 August 1929, he met with the members of the Court of Appeal and journalists who welcomed him at the Eskisehir railway station and gave a statement. On his native country trip on 16 January 1933, he visited Eskisehir, entered to the lessons in a high school and made a speech in the People's House. On 21 June 1934, Ataturk came along with the Shah of Iran Reza Pehlevi to Eskisehir, visited the "Ataturk Airport" and watched the air maneuvers.
Ataturk came by train to Eskisehir on the dates 8 June 1936, 6 January 1937, 4 June 1937 and 20 November 1937, made interviews at the railway station and meetings in the city. His latest visit to Eskisehir was on 21 January 1938. He talked three hours long with the peoples who welcomed him at the railway station. Meanwhile, when he heard that the "Kalabak" water which at his request was brought to Eskisehir, wanted to be called "Water of Ataturk", he said: "I have never claimed for the request to be the owner of a blessing that the nature has given."
On his country trips, Ataturk came most to Eskisehir after Istanbul, asked for their problems and made meetings.
Dates in order of Ataturks’ arrival in Eskisehir:
1. 21 June 1920 - 22 June 1920
2. 28 July 1920
3. 27 August 1920 - 28 August 1920
4. 04 December 1920 - 05 December 1920
5. 11 February 1921 - 13 February 1921
6. 02 May 1921 - 03 May 1921
7. 15 January 1923
8. 19 February 1923 - 20 February 1923
9. 24 March 1924
10. 30 August 1924
11. 21 September 1925
12. 05-06 August 1929
13. 20-21 July 1931
14. 16 January 1933
15. 16 April 1934
16. 21 June 1934
17. 08 June 1936
18. 06 January 1937
19. 09 January 1937
20. 04 June 1937
21. 20 November 1937
22. 20 January 1938 (Kalabak)
Eskisehir was re-established after the war and a new city was created from the war ruins. After the days of the occupation, first regularities were made in the field of economics. The "Granary Exchange" and the "Eskisehir Commerce of Chamber” were founded on 31 December 1925. In year 1894, the "Locomotive and Wagon Repair Workshop" and its "Apprentice School" started working and was a leader in training qualified workers. In addition, the "Aircraft Maintenance Warehouse" was established in 1926. These organizations had offered new work places to the citizens of Eskisehir. Traction and repair workshops were transferred to TCDD (Turkish Republic State Railways) in 1924.The "Eskisehir Farmers Bank” was established in 1918.
In the early years of the Republic researches in industry, agriculture and natural resource gained speed. During these years, researches related to flour, brick, tile and timber industries were also started. The "Kurt Tile Factory" and the "Arslan Tile Factory" were established in Eskisehir, in 1927. Even other factories were established in this region, in a very short time because of the great success of these two factories.
After the first move in 1927, pots and pan industry was rapidly growing in Eskisehir. Today, twelve modern enterprises and some members of the Eskisehir Chamber of Commerce are supporting the production of tile, brick and hot brick. A large part of the requested earthenware in Turkey is supplied by Eskisehir and a little part is exported. The development of industry continued with the support of bank credit to the Cement Factory, which was established in 1953."Eston Inc." was established in 1965, it provides furthermore important services in prefabricated structure sector. In Anatolia produced porcelain and ceramics was beside Eskisehir a thriving branch of industry as well as for Bursa, Bilecik and Kutahya.
In grain production, Eskisehir is all time one of the cities sharing the first place. White wheat used for bread production and barley in the brewery, is grown in this region. Since the second half of the19 th century, after the fall of the Russian Tsardom, Tatars from the Crimea and Central Asia, contributed to developments in the field of agriculture. Eskisehir Sugar Factory was established even sugar beet was not planted. Since 1933, the incomes of the villages have been increased because sugar beet planting got an important place in irrigated agriculture.
In 1940, Eskisehir was Turkey's sixth biggest city. With the rising population, house construction had shown a big increase. The city center was constantly expanding to the north. In this period, Seker Quarter and Yeni Quarter were found in the East. Odunpazari and Yukari Quarter were no more a center. In Asagi Quarter, on both sides of Hamam Street, behind the poplar and willow trees which are along the Porsuk creek is Bahcelievler. In this period Koprubasi Street was an outstanding place with new opened shops. The city's entertainment and promenades were at Yalaman Adasi and Suboyu.
In Eskisehir, beside the industrial developments, the technological development was added in the 1940s. Before President Cemal Gursel’s arrival in Eskisehir for the anniversary celebrations of the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1961, the first car was produced on that date for the President and presented to him.
In those workshops, the parts forming the body of the car were produced at first, then the trunk and other parts. The body was shaped with metal plates. They worked for days on it and a brand new car was created. This car was named "Devrim"(Revolution). At its first presentation (29 October 1961), Devrim was used by President Cemal Gursel.
Devrim was the first experience and the first step in automobile manufacturing. This was apparently a symbolic work. However, it was an indication of possibilities, what in Turkey's industrial sector can be done. After this first step, a few years later production of a car called "Anadol” get started.
In the newspapers on 29 October 1961, were these following headings: "The first Turkish automobile Devrim was on the road and it stopped after twenty paces."
This title was followed by the phrase of the first visitor President Cemal Gursel:
"Turk produces a car, but forgets to fill the tank."
Today, Devrim stands quiet and retiring but the industry of Eskisehir is ceaselessly developing.
Empire signed Mondros Armistice with the Allies in October 30th 1918 when the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the First World War. Due to the 7th term of the armistice which was a provision that the occupying powers might occupy areas deemed to be of strategic importance; English arms started therefore to occupy strategic regions and railway routes, claiming that their security was threatened. They confiscated railways. English Arms took the control of the stations beginning from Haydarpasa, going to Izmit, Eskisehir and Ankara respectively. They located a set of Scottish soldiers in Eskisehir. Two squadrons of Scottish soldiers which were controlled by Misler Vi-tool and captain Forbin, were located in Ankara train station. French army sent a detachment under the command of Commander Buazo. These two important cities were occupied. Both cities' governors were loyal to the Sultan. Ali Fuat Pasha (Cebesoy) who attended to twentieth army corps as commander was successful in preparation of an organized regiment immediately. Ataturk came to Ankara after the war in December 27th 1919. He was to go to Eskisehir to talk to the members of Istanbul Deputy Assembly.
Rifat Borekci, Mufti of Ankara told to Atataturk: “- My lord, don’t go to Eskisehir, there are English forces there. They may arrest you. We took an oath to protect you...” Ataturk abandoned going to Eskisehir and stayed in Ankara. The headquarters of Representatives Committee came Ankara. At this time, English arms occupied Istanbul officially in March 16th 1920. They attacked to Sehzadebasi Police Station and six Turkish soldiers were killed and also fifteen Turkish soldiers were wounded. After that English forces secretly left Ankara at night and went to Eskisehir. Ataturk was to open Turkish Grand National Assembly. While all that events were taking place in Ankara, Eskisehir was occupied by English forces. They were holding that railway junction in control. As the commander of twentieth army corps, Ali Fuat Pasha, had accepted Ataturk with a Seymen regiment by public demonstration; Istanbul government denounced his duty, sentenced him with execution and then appointed Kirazli Hamdi Pasha as the commander of twentieth army crops instead. Kiraz Hamdi Pasha came to Eskisehir and cooperated with English forces. Soon he was executed in Ankara. Eskisehir Governor was Serez’i Hilmi Bey but he was not liked by public in Eskisehir. Greeks and Armenian were acting cruel to Muslims but Governor Hilmi was not interested with requests and complaints of public. One of the members of Kuvayi Milliye(National Forces) came to city and shot him. Eskisehir was in agitation, letters were sent to English forces telling them to leave the city. There were English soldiers more than a battalion with Legion soldiers formed by Turks living in Cyprus. A man named Kemal was working as translator.
The Mayor of Eskisehir was Lawyer Takyeddin Bey in 1920. He was educated and a patriotic man. When Seyh Sunusi came to Eskisehir, he stayed in his house. Accountant Sabri Bey and Takyeddin Bey were supporting Kuvayi Milliye(National Forces). Recognizing the situation, Kiraz Hamdi Pasha escaped to Istanbul. Yesil Efendi established Mudafaai Hukuk Cemiyeti (Association for Defense of National Rights). Emin Sazak, Osman Isik from Eskisehir joined to that association. Wealthy persons of Eskisehir donated gold on their will to this association without any deed and left the money to the liberation of the motherland. The association gave 30 liras to each one who joined to Kuvayi Milliye(National Forces) and provided guns and horses to them. One day these militia rebels made demonstration in the city center. Everyone was dressed strangely, wearing different guns and hats. They wander around the districts, threatening English soldiers and honoring Turkish public.
After a while, the rumor spread that the Red Army was coming from Caucasus. The next news was that they were in Erzurum and a little while later in Ankara. At least, red army soldiers passed one morning through the streets of Eskisehir wearing a fur cap, red attire, two rows of shotgun shells on the chest and a riffle in the hands. To give a crowded look, they passed the same streets again and again. Later, a guerrilla of comrades was put together. Their password was “half a loaf of bread for you and a half for me”. The Greeks opened the Miler line and were ready to make a military operation over Balikesir and Bursa. Aydin warriors and forces of Cerkez Etem in Salihli were encountering with the enemy.
It was required to drive out the British forces from Eskisehir. Ali Fuat Pasha(Cebesoy) undertook this task and reached Eskisehir in 1920 with the 189 th infantry regiment and the Mountain Battalion of the 24 th division. Concurrently guerrillas of Ankara warriors moved to Eskisehir.
These forces infested the hills of Eskisehir. Ali Fuat Pasha located stovepipes on the hills to give a strong artillery effect. From far, it was thought that a lot of cannons were placed on all hills. The patriotic descents of Eskisehir were so pleased.
He shared with the folk that:
- A rumor was spread out: “the green army is in Eskisehir”. On the existence of the cannons on all hills, the
British army thought the green army is really in. Without any resistance, they forced their whole army to retract. Very next day 189th infantry regiment came to Eskisehir. Folk applauded the National Force with tears of joy. A new governor is nominated. Young men joined immediately to Kuvayi Milliye(National Forces). British forces destroyed Geyve Bridge during the escape from Eskisehir. Yarbay Akif Bey is appointed as the station commander in Eskisehir and Haci Huseyin Bey as the new chief police.
Meantime Colak Ismail Hakki bey constitute a legion in Kutahya. Halil Nuri Yurdakul formed a janissary band of musicians, constitute a battalion named “Azmi Millî” and opened a museum in Eskisehir. This phrase is on his flag written: “Muslims, these days are the doomsday you are waiting for, incorporate and survive. July 2nd, 1920” Ali Fuat Pasha was appointed as the “Western Front Commander”.
Ali Fuat Pasha and his forces held the hills of Geyve Strait and entered into war with British and Rum guerillas. Meanwhile Colonel Mahmut Bey was martyred by rebels in Duzce. Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Ataturk) came to Eskisehir and analyzed the front before a move against the enemy has been getting started. Ataturk stayed in a building located at the station.
The major force called “Kuvayi Seyyare” was under the conduct of Cerkez Ethem. He came very often to Eskisehir. Ethem spoiled totally when he quashed the Duzce and Yozgat riots. He became disobedient to the orders. Ethem’s opinion was that hometown could be rescued by only National Forces and not by the standing army. Soviet Russia wanted this, too. Cerkes Ethem published with the help of author Arif Oruc a newspaper called “The New World Planet”(Yeni Dunya Seyyare) to fulfill his greatest wish. This Newspaper was published in Eskisehir, in the grain marketplace at Tahir Bey’s press, and the authors were Celal and Alaaddin. It was Green Army’s association and was at the side of communist revolution. At that time “Turkish Communist Party” and “The People's Communist Party” was founded in Ankara. Besides was the Green Army Association but it couldn’t retaliate with the Red Army. Finally Ataturk closed all these parties. The printing machines of “The New World” were transferred to Ankara and given to the newspaper “National Sovereignty” (Hakimiyeti Milliye). Ethem was revolted and crossed over to the Greeks when Colonel Ismet Bey was appointed as the new “Western Front Commander”. With the Greeks, First and Second Inonu Battles were made. Hereafter Greeks defeated our army in Kutahya. Turkish Army retreated to the Sakarya line. But the Greeks occupied Eskisehir in 1921. King Konstantin came to Eskisehir.Eskisehir remained occupied until the great victory but was burned by the Greeks during their escape. As an activity center in the national struggle years, Eskisehir has a grand place in our national history.
Eskisehir pertained deservedly to its country. Today, Eskisehir is one of the developed metropolitan cities in the country.
Enver Behnan SAPOLYO Tourism Magazine
Eskisehir Special Edition 1967