Nasruddin Hoca

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a well-loved character in the turkish oral prose tradition; protagonist of humorous anecdotes told from the balkans to central asia.

Known as Nasr al-Din in Iran and as Juha in Arabia, Nasruddin Hoca appears in some stories as a wise folk philosopher or a witty if unconventional preacher. In others, he is naive and uninformed, the butt of youngsters' pranks, a figure of gentle ridicule who shows great resilience. However foolish he may seem, he survives all disasters and, having the last word, often turns the tables on those wielding power over or making fun of him. Although a village near Sivrihisar in central Anatolia is claimed as Nasruddin's birthplace and a mausoleum in Akşehir is said to be his 1284 burial place, a connection between the stories and any historical person is questionable.

The earliest Ottoman manuscript collections about Nasruddin Hoca are dated to the early sixteenth century and contain fewer than 100 stories. The first printed edition of 125 stories appeared in 1837; later publications present a body of several hundred items, and translations have appeared in many Western and Asian languages.


Başgöz, Ilhan, and Boratav, Pertev N. I, Hoca Nasreddin, Never Shall I Die: A Thematic Analysis of Hoca Stories. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

Walker, Warren S., and Uysal, Ahmet E. Tales Alive in Turkey. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966.

kathleen r. f. burrill
updated by burÇak keskin-kozat