Ashab-ı Kehf Cave

Ashab-ı Kehf Cave

It is rumored that 14 km north of Tarsus is the cave of Ashab-ı Kehf, meaning Cave Friends, or the Seven Sleepers as they are popularly known. In fact, there are many rumors about the whereabouts of the Seven Sleepers. The most common of these rumors is that the cave of Ashab-ı Kehf is the cave under the mosque in Dedeler Village in Tarsus.

The Roman Emperor Decius, who was uncomfortable with the fact that Christianity was practiced in their land, that is, that they belonged to a monotheistic religion, was forcing the people to worship their idols and make sacrifices to them. Even in the face of these persecutions and tortures, the people defended the monotheistic religion. Even the 6 people with the emperor stopped worshipping idols and started to believe in Allah. Learning of this, Decius said that if the young people did not worship idols, he would throw them into the dungeon. When the young men insisted on their belief, the real story began.

Ashabi Kehf Magarasi Gezi Yazisi
Ashabi Kehf Magarasi Tarsus Gezilecek Yerler

Thrown into the dungeon, the young men named Maximilian, Iamblicus, Martinianus, John, Dionysius, Exacostodianus (Constantinus) and Antonius somehow find a way to escape from the dungeon and on their way they meet a shepherd named Kefeshtetayyush. Listening to the story of the young men, the shepherd was moved by the situation and took his dog Kıtmir with him and led them to a cave where they could hide.

The young men took refuge in the cave and said, “O our Lord, give us mercy from Your Presence and make it easy for us to reach salvation and righteousness in this situation we are in.” – Surah Kehf

When they went up to the cave, they were tired and fell asleep. It is narrated that they slept for 309 years. It is possible to understand this from a sentence in the Qur’an.

They stayed in their cave for 300 years and added nine more. – Surah Kehf

When they wake up, they are very hungry and one of them sneaks into town to buy bread. But everything has changed, there is no trace of anything they remember. He enters a place and takes out a silver coin from his pocket, gives it to the bread seller and the bread seller is surprised. He immediately informs the officials. He tells the officials what has happened and learns that centuries have passed and now everyone believes in one God, just like the young people. He is very happy and goes to the cave to share this joy with his friends. The young men fell asleep in joy to go down to the city the next day and never woke up again.

There are still debates about the actual location of the cave. Because there is no clear data on the subject and 4 of the 33 cities in total are located in our country. Tarsus, Afşin, Efes and Lice are the caves located in Turkey. Although the events and names of the people in the story vary according to the place where the story is told, the story is roughly like this.

Ashabi Kehf Magarasi Duvarlari
Ashabi Kehf Magarasi Tarsus Gorulecek Yerler

The cave is located under the Ashab-ı Kehf Mosque. The mosque was built in 1873 by Sultan Abdulaziz. The minaret of Ashab-ı Kehf Mosque can be seen from far away. If you go towards the minaret, you will go to the right place. You can also understand that you have come to the right place when you see that there are picnickers everywhere and the tree branches are covered with cloths tied to make wishes come true.

Ashabi Kehf Magarasi Gezisi
Ashabi Kehf Camii

Where is Ashab-ı Kehf Cave and how to get there?

Transportation to the cave can be easily provided by private vehicle. The distance between Ashab-ı Kehf and Tarsus is 12 km (21 minutes), the distance to Mersin is 25 km (33 minutes). There is no entrance fee for Ashab-ı Kehf.