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A folk hero or national hero is a type of hero, real, fictional, or mythological. Find out more about some of the most popular Turkish folk heroes: Nasreddin Hoca, Karagoz and Hacivat, Yunus Emre, Koroglu.


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. This presence in the popular consciousness is evidenced by mention in folk songs, folk tales and other folklore.


Nasreddin Hoca is a 13th century humorist, sage and folk hero of the Seljuk period who was born in Sivrihisar and lived in Aksehir. His witticisms are known throughout Turkey and often appear in conversation.

Nasreddin Hoca was a philosopher, wise, witty man with a good sense of humor. 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. The International Nasreddin Hodja fest is celebrated between 5–10 July in Aksehir, Turkey every year.


Koroglu was a 15th century folk poet, a role model for his contemporaries and a 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.


A jester, said to have lived in Bursa in the 14th century and now immortalized as two folk heroes of Karagoz shadow puppet theater.

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.


Yunus Emre is an Anatolian folk poet and mystic who transcended his period. This 13th century philosopher poet is one of Turkey’s national treasures. His basic theme was universal love, brotherliness, friendship and and divine Justice. His simple and pure writing is relevant and thought provoking to this day.