12 October, 2007

İyi Bayramlar

A few photos posted over at Flickr....

The city was far from deserted today with the holiday. However, I was able to stroll leisurely across the six tight lanes of Cumhurriyet Avenue outside of the crosswalk, which is rather remarkable.

I stopped in to the New Mosque at about the time for the Friday service and decided to stay. I got annoyed at having to sit behind a screen, especially because I ended up next to a woman who decided to give me a full lesson on proper prayer technique a la Turk. Since we quickly figured out that my broken Turkish wouldn't do, she simply took to yanking my various parts into the proper position. At one point I really longed to know the phrase, "Give it a rest, Bob Fosse," in Turkish. She left before I could thank her. I must say that Yeni Cami smelled distinctly more like feet this time around, but it could have simply been the presence of thousands of them around me.

I paid my first visit to the Rüstem Paşa Mosque, layered in blue Iznik tiles. It's upstairs from the street filled with vendors, which means the traffic is far less than at other mosques, which is nice. The cool blue and white of the tiles and the cozy size, not to mention a very friendly caretaker, make it one of my favorites.

I wandered up the hill to the Süleymaniye Mosque, which is lovely, with deeply colored jewel-like windows and beautiful circular tile works with Arabic script flanking the mihrab. The main dome is either being painted or restored with a jewel motif covering most of it. I tried to walk in with my shoes in hand, as is usually done, only to have the guard at the entrance try to tell me otherwise in broken English. He was a bit embarrassed when I responded to him in Turkish, told him not to worry and that I live here. We shared a smile and he shrugged, as if to indicate he'd had a long day of directing first-time mosque visitors. I wished him a good Bayram when I left and he wished me the same.

Karaköy was empty, save the cats. As I stood photographing a doorway to a church, listening to Max Roach on my headphones, I completely missed the young security guard that had walked out of his building to see what I was up to. Seeing him in my peripheral vision made me laugh as I jerked a bit. We had a perfunctory, but pleasant, conversation before I headed towards the ferry docks.


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