Zeybek “Harmandalı”

Zeybek (Harmandalı) dance is part of the Turkish Culture. This dance is the symbol of courage and honour.

Zeybek’s were people living in Asia Minor. The majority of them came from Yörük and Türkmen villages. Before the establishment of the Republic of  Turkey, large concentrations of Zeybek’s could be found in western Anatolia particularly in İzmir, Burdur, Afyon, Kütahya, Uşak, Denizli, Aydın, Isparta, Manisa, Mugla, Antalya, and the Balıkesir area. Zeybeks were mountain warriors of  Western Anatolia during the 13th – 19th centuries. Zeybeks generally had Turkmen and Yörük origins. They acted as protectors of village people against landlords, bandits and tax collectors. A leader of a Zeybek gang was called “EFE” and his soldiers were known as “Kızan”. “Kızan” was generally used for untrained Zeybeks. There was generally a tribe democracy in group. Decisions was taken in a democratic way, after the decision was taken “EFE” has an uncontroversial authority. They followed definite rituals for all actions; for example, the promotion of a “kızan” to zeybek was very similar to Ahi rituals.

Zeybeks had a special dance in which performers simulated hawks. Romantic songs about their bravery are still popular in Turkish folk music. The Yatagan sword was their primary weapon, but most of them carried firearms as well.

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