The Lord will their thirst slake they say, with a pure wine they drink, for the secret they give up their heads, a bouquet of roses are the Bektashis”. The words of the Bektashi poet Turabi Baba pay tribute and are an ode to the order he belonged, a group of men and women devoted to the teachings of the saint Hajji Bektash Veli. From Khorasan, Hajji Bektash traveled to the region of Rum, wherein he began a movement and established the order that would later take his name. Throughout history the Bektashi order has spread as far as Iraq and North Africa, and in the 1950’s the first tekke in North America was founded by Baba Rexheb Beqeri.

The Bektashi have faced enormous obstacles and have consistently suffered under persecution throughout history. The years during the communist dictatorship of Albania nearly led to the order’s end. Today they continue to rebuild and restore hundreds of years of tradition.

(Photographs by Massimiliano Fusari)