Who is Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi?

Who is Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi?
Who is Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi?

Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi (1609 - 1640), the legendary Muslim Turkish scholar who is included in Evliya Çelebi's book Seyahatname, believed to have lived in the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. Çelebi is known for letting himself into the void in 1632 with a vehicle similar to bird wings from the Galata Tower in a southwesterly air and descending to Doğancılar Square in Üsküdar by gliding 3358 meters in the Bosphorus. Despite this, modern Ottoman historians and engineers maintain that the story is a legend by showing why it is scientifically inconsistent and does not appear in any other historical source.


Hezar is a word of Persian origin and means 1000. Hezarfen, on the other hand, has the meaning of "a thousand fenli" (science), that is, "who knows a lot". Çelebi, on the other hand, is a title of Syriac origin used in almost all periods of the Ottoman Empire, which means supreme person, master, rabb.

Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, who was the Ambassador of Kostantiniyye on behalf of Austria between 1554 and 1562, stated that “a Turk made a flight experiment”, but even if this statement is true, it dates back to about 100 years before Evliya Çelebi and is unrelated to Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi. The only source that mentions Ahmed Çelebi consists of the three-line statement in Evliya Çelebi's 10-volume Seyahatname. Evliya Çelebi writes the following in his work:

«İptida, like Okmeydan's pulpit, has drilled the wind force with eagle wings eight or nine times in the air, like the pulpit. While Badehu Sultan Murad Han was marching from the Sinan Pasha Mansion in Sarayburnu, he flew from the top of the Galata Tower with the wind of south and descended to Doğancılar Square in Üsküdar. This event had great repercussions in the Ottoman Empire and Europe, and the sultan of the period IV. He was also liked by Murad. Then Murad Khan gave him a bag of gold and said: “This man is a man to be scared of. Whatever he wishes, he can do it. It is not permissible for such people to survive, ”he said to Gâzir (Algeria). He became deceased there. »

Representative flight route

In the archives containing the fiscal records of the Ottoman Empire IV. There is no information that a bag of gold coins was given as a gift in the time of Murad. At the same time, the only record of this relatively important event is in the Seyahatname, which is defined as "full of exaggerations to add color to the work." For these reasons, many Ottoman historians are skeptical of this story.

İlber Ortaylı has described Hezarfen's flight many times as "Evliya Çelebi's tale", "fabrication", "legend" or "story". Halil İnalcık also supported this claim, “I absolutely agree with İlber Hoca's thoughts and analyzes. What is wrong is that these legends in the form of novels have been included in the history books and taught for years. We need to fix these. " he said. In a work prepared together by Ottoman historians such as Halil İnalcık, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and İlber Ortaylı, the existence of Çelebi was mentioned with the following sentences:

"Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, who is claimed to fly with wings from Galata Tower to Üsküdar, is only mentioned in Evliya Çelebi's Seyahatname and cannot be confirmed by any other source, it means nothing more than a legend."

Scientific opinion

In terms of aerodynamics, it is thought that such a flight cannot take place. The height difference between the tower and the square is approximately 62 meters, and the distance between the two points is 3358 meters. According to these data, Çelebi must travel 55 meters horizontally, and descend by a maximum of 1 meter vertically, that is, to travel with a glide ratio of 55: 1. However, today it is impossible to reach this ratio even with flight devices called delta wings made with the lightest materials. The average glide ratio of modern delta wings is 15: 1. There are also no thermal air currents that would raise an object flying over the seas and large puddles. In addition, the southwest wind is expected to have an adverse effect on flight.

Other beliefs

Although the only source about flight is a paragraph in Evliya Çelebi's Seyahatname, many different beliefs have evolved about Hezarfen Çelebi. It is said that he was the first man to fly after the barber physicist Abbas Kasım Ibn Firnas with his own false wings, that he realized the flight plan, and was referred to as Hezarfen by the people due to his extensive knowledge.

In his early flying experiments, Leonardo Da Vinci is said to have been inspired by İsmail Cevheri, a 10th century Muslim Turkish scholar who experimented on this subject long before him. It is assumed that Çelebi, who thoroughly studied and learned the findings of Cevheri, studied the flight of birds and made experiments in Okmeydanı to measure the endurance of the wings he prepared before his historical flight.

Popular culture 

Hezarfen Ahmed Chalabi, Turkey is seen as one of aviation history's most remarkable person and has acquired an important place in Turkey from the cultural point of view.

  • The representational painting of the Zeytuni green-blue 17 kurush one of the three commemorative stamps issued by the PTT Administration for the International Civil Aviation Congress held on 1950 October 20, depicts the flight of Hezarfen from Galata Tower to Üsküdar.
  • For a while, a cartoon named Küçük Hezarfen, which tells about Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi's life and his passion for flight, was broadcast on TRT Children's channel.
  • At the end of 2010, it was the subject of a short three-dimensional animation. 
  • In the Hezârfen Ney Concerto composed by Fazıl Say in 2012, the extraordinary story of Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi was told. Hezarfen Ney Concerto; Spring of Istanbul 1632Galata towerUCU ve Algerian Exile It consists of four interconnected parts. 
  • The 1996 Turkish movie Istanbul Under My Wings, directed by Mustafa Altıoklar, processed the flight story of Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi and was played by Ege Aydan.
  • He was portrayed by Ushan Çakır in the 2015 series Magnificent Century Kösem.

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