The Painted Mosque and Arabati Baba Tekke

Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell are living in Macedonia for 91 days, and recently took a sightseeing trip to the town of Tetovo. There they saw the Šarena Džamija, the Painted Mosque. The mosque lives up to its name, with intricate and colorful decorations painted inside and out. The other town attraction is a dervish monastery named Arabati Baba Tekke.

The Arabati Baba Tekke was established in 1538 by Ali Baba, the brother-in-law of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. After his sister had angered the Sultan, Ali Baba was exiled to the fringes of the Ottoman Empire. In Tetovo, he decided to spend the rest of his years as a Bektashi monk, devoting his life to Sufism.

The tekke is still in use by a single dervish: a very tall man with a very long beard, whom we had the opportunity to meet. We saw his quarters, along with the graves of the babas who have led the tekke throughout the centuries. And while German Jürgen was a hit at the Painted Mosque, here it was American Mike’s turn to shine. Flying above the door to the dervish’s quarters was a big USA flag. Perhaps our government helped with funds, or maybe there’s some personal connection — I can’t say for sure, but I sure liked it.

Take a video tour of the Painted Mosque and see pictures of both the mosque and the monastery at For 91 Days.


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