Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi

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Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi was an Ottoman from Istanbul reported in the writings of traveler Evliya Çelebi to have achieved sustained unpowered flight.

Non-powered flight[edit]

The 17th century writings of Evliyâ Çelebi relate this story of Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi, circa 1630–1632:

First, he practiced by flying over the pulpit of Okmeydanı eight or nine times with eagle wings, using the force of the wind. Then, as Sultan Murad Khan (Murad IV) was watching from the Sinan Pasha mansion at Sarayburnu, he flew from the very top of the Galata Tower (in contemporary Karaköy) and landed in the Doğancılar Square in Üsküdar, with the help of the south-west wind. Then Murad Khan granted him a sack of golden coins, and said: "This is a scary man. He is capable of doing anything he wishes. It is not right to keep such people," and thus sent him to Algeria on exile. He died there.

— Evliyâ Çelebi, [1]

The title "Hezârfen", given by Evliyâ Çelebi to Ahmet Çelebi, is from Persian هزار hezār + فنّ fann meaning "having a thousand sciences" (polymath).

Historic account[edit]

In 1648, John Wilkins cites Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, the Austrian ambassador to Constantinople in 1554–1562, as recording that "a Turk in Constantinople" attempted to fly.[2] However, if accurate, this citation refers to an event nearly a century prior to the exploits reported by Evliyâ Çelebi.

Evliyâ Çelebi's account of the exploits of Hezârfen Ahmet Çelebi is three sentences long (of a ten volume work). The story has great currency in Turkey as he is an inspiration for future generations of aviators.

Modern era[edit]


  1. ^ Çelebi, Evliya (2003). Seyahatname. Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat Yayıncılık, p. 318.
  2. ^ Wilkins, John. Mathematicall Magick or the Wonders that may be performed by Mechanicall Geometry. In two books. Concerning Mechanicall Powers and Motions, London 1648, 204; also see a reprint of the same book in The Mathematical and Philosophical Works of John Wilkins to which is prefixed the author's life and an account of his works, 1802, vol. II, 201

External links[edit]