Story of old Skoje – Gazi Baba

Gazi Baba  is one of the ten municipalities that make up the city of Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. ASIK Celebi (Prizren, 1518 – Skopje, 1572) – scientist, poet and Skopje kadia, identical to Kadi Baba or Gazi Baba, whose turbe is located in Skopje, on the hill of the same name. He was a mufti in Bursa, then burned in several places in the Empire, and in Macedonia in: Serfidze, Kratovo and Skopje, where he died. He is known for his numerous translations from Arabic, for his own literary works, and especially for his work on the biographies of poets (Meshair al-Shuwara), which is a primary source for medieval Turkish literature.

Gazi Baba’s real name is Mehmed Ali el Natai. He was a judge in several places in Turkey and the Balkans, and his last position was in Skopje, where he died in 1572. He made a great contribution to Ottoman literature by translating a large number of works from Arabic into Turkish, but also through his poetry and biographical texts.

He was buried in Skopje on the hill that bears his name today – Gazi Baba. Sources indicate that his tomb was revered and often visited by the people, and even had its own guard, a turbedar.

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