8 Famous Turkish Folk Heroes

Discover Turkey and its folk heroes

Folk Heroes of Turkey

A folk hero or national hero is a type of hero, real, fictional or mythological. The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness.

Nasreddin Hodja

Nasreddin Hodja is a 13th century humorist, sage and folk hero who was born in Sivrihisar and lived in Aksehir.

Nasreddin Hodja was a philosopher, wise, witty man with a good sense of humor. He is one of the most important figures of our oral culture. His stories have been told almost everywhere in the world, spread among the tribes of Turkic World and into Persian, Arabian, African and along the Silk Road to China and India cultures, later also to Europe.


A jester, said to have lived in Bursa in the 14th century and now immortalized as a shadow puppet.

Karagoz is a rough man of the people who uses his ribald wit to get the better of his pompous friend, Hacivat. The puppets are made from gaily painted, translucent animal skins and are projected onto a white screen.

Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi

Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi, the legendary Turkish scholar and hero who is included in Evliya Celebi's book Seyahatname, believed to have lived in the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. Celebi is known for letting himself into the void in 1632 with a vehicle similar to bird wings from the Galata Tower in a southwesterly air and descending to Dogancilar Square in Uskudar by gliding 3358 m in the Bosphorus.

Yunus Emre

Yunus Emre is an Anatolian folk poet and mystic who transcended his period. The 13th century philosopher poet, one of Turkey's national treasures, promoted basic themes of universal love, friendship, brotherliness and divine justice. His simple and pure writing is relevant and thought-provoking to this day.


A 15th century folk poet, Koroglu was a role model for his contemporaries and a folk hero of his time. His adventures have been recounted for centuries and perhaps now with more interest than ever. Koroglu was one of the first people to pioneer the ideal of unconditional help for the poor and downtrodden. He was also a great warrior against government control and harassment.

Dede Korkut

Dede Korkut culture is still kept alive today with its wide expressions of proses and composes of verses in music tradition, various beliefs and social practices. Values like generosity, hospitality, bravery, mercy, solidarity mentioned in Dede Korkut Epics have an important role for cultural dialogue, mutual understanding and building peace between all segments of society.


Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi is a 13th century Muslim saint and Anatolian mystic known throughout the world for his exquisite poems and words of wisdom, which have been translated into many languages. His doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him all religions were more or less truth. His peaceful and tolerant teachings have appealed to men of all sects and creeds.

Evliya Celebi

Evliya Celebi was an Ottoman explorer who travelled through the territory of the Ottoman Empire and neighboring lands over a period of forty years, recording his commentary in a travelogue called the Seyahatname.

Folk Heroes of Turkey
Eastern Express Journey, Kars