UNESCO City of Music

since 2019

The city of Kirsehir in the heart of Turkey is known as a music hub in the region with more than 2.000 professional musician. The main performers namely Abdals (the term of “Abdal” refers to a specific group of local folk musicians in Middle Anatolia), are one of the most important communities in terms of Anatolian Musical Heritage with their specific ways of expression. Their special and distinctive lifestyles, social relations, religious views, values and ideas created in their spiritual realms are the main sources of their authentic art. They have a unique way of passing the music knowledge. It is inherited from father to son, master to apprentice without any formal education or musical note. The most popular representative of this music culture, Neset Ertas, was designated as a Living Human Treasure by government (UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Specialization Committee) in 2008, accepted as a genius of art with his products and reed-vocal techniques.

The local music called “Bozlak” is a distinctive singing form identifies with Kırşehir and Bozlak songs reflect love, bravery, manhood, separation, expedition, relations between tribes and saturninity. This type of singing has become popular in the national music industry with increased recognition of the city nationwide.

In Kırşehir, local music is well adapted to social life and people find it easier to express themselves with music throughout history. Music can be seen in most of the social activities such as wedding ceremonies, dinner gatherings, national days, national and international events organized by the city and it is also the main source for local folk dance groups. The dancers and the Abdals work together during events and organizations.

As local music has been performed in every event and ceremonies in social life, this has kept the music industry in the city alive with musical instruments production and private music education institutes. Kirsehir has been using traditional Turkish music instruments but also adapted western musical instruments to enrich musical sounds for three centuries. Especially “saz” and violin are played together only in this region.

Ministry of Culture and Tourism has launched music heritage programme. Under this programme, Ministry recruited 15 Abdals and created Kirsehir master’s music and folk group aiming to provide local musicians to perform their art coordinately. This group has performed at national and international levels including Germany, Japan, Belgium, Holland, and Austria and demonstrated their music and danced in these events.

Organizations and Facilities

Neset Ertas Culture and Art Festival is organized every year by Kirsehir Municipality in the city. This three-day program includes many concerts.

Kirsehir Ahi Evran University Fine Arts Faculty is the main establishment for the candidates who wish to perform local music professionally.

BEGEM (Youth Center of Kirsehir Municipality) serves to young people who are interested in music and who wish to take part in performing musical instruments.

Neset Ertas Culture and Art Center, four public education centers, Family Living Center, National Education Ministry Science and Art Center also provides music courses to youth and vulnerable groups.


Director of Kirsehir Municipality Cultural Affairs
UCCN Focal Point
+90 386 213 10 23

Officer in the Directorate of Foreign Affairs of Kirsehir Municipality

+90 386 213 10 23

Facts and Figures

Kirsehir is located in central Turkey. The present population of the city is approximately 242.000.

Ottoman Era of Turkish music begins in the Anatolia region which includes the harmony of Middle Asia and Mesopotamia. According to handwritten book registered as Suppl.Turc. 1424 at Paris Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the history of Kirsehir’s music goes back to 1411 with Yusuf Kirsehri who was a Turkmen musician. Meanwhile, Abdals who created original folk songs called Bozlak, lived in the Middle Anatolia including Kirsehir region. After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, Abdals settled down in Kirsehir.

Kirsehir is also very rich in terms of literature, especially poems. Throughout history, many famous poets lived in the city including Yunus Emre and Asik Pasa. Asik Pasa is one of the most important poets that helped the Turkish Language spread to Anatolia in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Latest Music Projects

Kirsehir project

Conversation with Music

Kirsehir project

Kirsehir International Music Festival

Kirsehir project

Cultures Meet Concert-Kirsehir (Helebis Nights) and Sanliurfa (Sira Nights)