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General view of the island, coloured photograph (between 1890 and 1905)

Adakaleh (nicknamed Ottoman Atlantis) was a small island in the Danube River at the Carpathian Mountains, opposite on the other bank of Orşova and Tekija. From 1699 onward, it was a part of the Ottoman Empire, until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. After that, it was owned by the Kingdom of Romania. In 1939, many Turkish people left Ada Kaleh and settled in Turkey.[1][2] The Island was flooded in 1968-1971, when a dam was made by the Socialist Republic of Romania and Yugoslavia. The island has been underwater since then. The people who used to live on the island were Turkish speaking Sufism-Muslims Turks.[3] In 1967, before the island was flooded, the Turkish people on the island went to other places in Mainland Romania to Dobruja, but most of the people went to Turkey.

The island was known for its Mediterranean climate and Oriental Flair, with roses, different fruit trees like apricot and fig, almond and sweet chestnut trees, exotic Ottoman architecture and production of Turkish delight, Baklava, Candy, and Turkish coffee, rose water sorbet, Rose and Fig Marmalade, fishing, and souvenirs. The island was also known for smuggling. The island had a mosque with one Minaret and Well for Wudu, and a Hammam, a Bazaar and an old fortress with catacombs, a governor's villa, a cinema, an old Ottoman cemetery, small white Cottages, three or four Mansion, a Hotel, many Café's, a Textile and Tobacco Fabric, a small Power station for Electricy, an Association football pitch and a botanical garden. The islanders were described by outlandish visitors as kindly people, the male and female wear Salwar kameez, the men handsome who wear a Fez (hat), and the women beautiful, some of them veiled in Chador until it was forbidden by Socialist Republic of Romania.[4] Oil wrestling, Belly dance, Turkish dance and Sünnet parties of Boys were performed as tourist attractions.[5]

The most famous resident was Bego Mustafa, a turk, former officer in the ottoman army. In 1846 he helped the Hungarian national hero Lajos Kossuth to escape to Vidin in the Ottoman Empire. His image was often used for postcards from Adakaleh. He died in 1910 at the age of 104.[6]

Diaspora[change | change source]

When in 1967 the majority of the Islanders moved to Turkey, they call themselfs Haymatlos, the descendants of Adakaleh Turks live mostly in Turkey and few in Romania, but some came from Turkey to Germany as Guest worker, and became part of the Turks in Germany.

References[change | change source]

  2. "Maximilián Kurth – Bego Mustafa".
  3. "Ada Kaleh, an Ottoman Atlantis on the Danube".
  4. "Ada Kaleh: A Turkish island in the Danube River". Daily Sabah. 22 January 2016.
  5. "Ada Kaleh". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25.
  6. Blasen, Philippe Henri (January 2014). "Mustafa Bego, türkischer Nargileh-Raucher und ungarischer Nationalheld. Nationale Aneignung und internationale Vermarktung der Insel Ada-Kaleh". Spiegelungen.