On December 9, 2021, Assoc. Prof. Cengiz Buyar from Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Manas University gave an online seminar titled “The Role of the Pilgrimage in Relations between the Ottoman Empire and Turkistan”.
Assoc. Prof. Cengiz Buyar presented his analysis based on archival documents on the Pilgrimage in Relations between the Ottoman Empire and Turkistan from the 16th century and recently. The Pilgrimage can be considered as an important religious practice that contributed to the development of cultural and religious ties between Turkestan khanates and the Ottoman Empire. After the 18th century, Istanbul became an important stopping point for Muslims on the route of pilgrimage. Typically, Turkistani pilgrims intending to fulfill their pilgrimage would visit important major cities Andijan, Samarkand and Bukhara on their way to Hejaz. According to Cengiz Buyar the most beautiful stop of the holy journey for Turkestani pilgrims was Istanbul. With the development of transportation, new routes for pilgrimage have emerged. The most common ones were the Tashkent-Odessa and the other Mumbai-Jeddah routes. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 has also transformed the pilgrimage. Assoc. Prof. Cengiz Buyar emphasized the role of the Hejaz railway which quickly gained prestige because it made the pilgrimage much easier. The Ottoman Empire helped the pilgrims coming from Turkistan, China, and Bukhara to reach Hejaz and then return to their homeland. The Ottoman Empire provided help to those who were on pilgrimage in various ways and this has almost become a common practice. At the end of the seminar, Cengiz Buyar talked about the effects of wars, conflicts and other types of hardships on the pilgrimage. For instance, the Turkestan pilgrims could not go to the Hejaz during the Tripoli War. He also mentioned that there were similar situations due to World War I.