Ladder Windows Arches

•November 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

An old house in the village of Kurecik, Malatya, Turkey. In a region where it’s still not hard to find abandoned church buildings a century or two old, the arches over these windows belie an architectural tradition older and higher than a square stone Turkish village house might normally be expected to reflect.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-400, f/11, 1/200 sec.

Village Wedding 15: Confetti Shower

•August 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

As the bride arrives at the groom’s home, still veiled and accompanied by her maid of honor, Eren stands above with his best man and showers confetti on her.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/13, 1/100 sec.

History In Tarsus: Ataturk At Cleopatra’s Arch

•August 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Cleopatra’s Arch in Tarsus dates from Roman times and is supposed to mark the place where the Marc Anthony and the notorious queen first laid eyes on each other. A pretty good pedigree for any structure, but here as many other places in Turkey, the arch takes a back seat to a Turkish flag and the inspiring figure and words of Ataturk.

On the left hand stone, one of Ataturk’s famous quotes: “Turk, plan, work, and trust.” On the right hand stone, and even more inspirationally: “O Turk, son of the future, the power you need is present in the blood in your veins.”

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/13, 1/125 sec.

Village Wedding 14: Bringing Home The Bride

•July 27, 2009 • 1 Comment

Bringing Home The Bride, originally uploaded by Josh and Julie.

Mehmet and Fadimana, proud parents of the groom, escort Ayşegül out of the bridal car and down the hill to the doorway where Eren waits.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/13, 1/200 sec.

For Old Times’ Sake

•July 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

Not everything in Anatolia’s history is mountain villages and Middle Eastern traditions. In the early 1900’s and the days of Ataturk, Ankara was just beginning to embrace the Western styles of the day prevalent throughout Europe, and especially France. Decades later, Ankara and Turkey now can be, when they want to, as thoroughly modern as anyplace Western Europe has to offer. Meanwhile, recalling the early days, this disused carriage sits outside a cafe down the hill from Ankara’s Museum of Civilizations.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/5.6, 1/50 sec.
Overlaid texture: American handwritten family records ca. 1880

Village Wedding 13: The Trousseau Chest

•July 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Trousseau Chest, originally uploaded by Josh and Julie.

As Mehmet and his wife return with Ayşegül to their home where Eren waits, they must wait for the bride’s trousseau to precede her into the house. This chest, filled with the greatest samples of crocheting and lacework produced by the bride throughout her life, will be waiting in the bridal suite and accompany the couple the rest of their life.

Naturally, I wasn’t present at the girls’ henna night the previous evening (the tamer Turkish equivalent of a bachelorette party, it happened while the men were dancing), so I will turn to other sources here for more information on the henna night and the trousseau. Traditions vary even within central Anatolia (a friend from near Ankara told me their traditional weddings don’t feature a trousseau chest), but I think this account from the “Your Guide to Turkey” site is pretty close to my experience in Eshenler:

On the day the henna night is to be held, or a few days earlier, the trousseau is taken from the girl’s home and brought to the man’s, and the bridal chamber is prepared. The trousseau is sometimes exhibited to the guests for a few days in the girl’s home before the wedding, and in the man’s home during and after it. It is a widespread tradition that someone sits on the trousseau chest, asking for a tip as it is taken from the girl’s home. In addition, in the early hours of the day the henna night is to be held, a group of women from the bridegroom’s family take the henna that will be placed on the bride’s hands and feet, her clothes and the food that will be offered to the guests to the girl’s home, again to the accompaniment of great festivities. The women who gather in the girl’s home on the henna night have fun for a while, but later try to make her cry by singing sad songs. Henna that has earlier kneaded with water is brought in on a tray surrounded by candles and placed in the middle of the room. In some places, the henna is first put on the hands of the bride and then distributed to the guests; in other areas the henna is first distributed to the guests, and only after everybody has left is it placed on the bride’s hands. If the woman so wishes, henna can also be placed on her feet and hair. Considerable attention is paid to charging a woman with a happy marriage, called the “basi bütün” (meaning “whose head is complete”, In a sense, this describes her as someone who has a complete family with husband and children and whose marriage is whole, not separated by divorce) to knead and distribute the henna and apply it to the girl’s hand. The woman places the henna on one of the bride’s hands, and a young girl places it on the other. Before the henna is applied, coins or gold are also placed in her hands.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-400, f/13, 1/320 sec.

Corner Door In Stone And Sepia: Goreme

•July 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Corner Door, Goreme, originally uploaded by Josh and Julie.

Just another beautiful arched doorway, intricately carved from the Cappadocian stone that carves so easily. Göreme sees a lot of tourists, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t back streets worth your time if you look hard enough.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/10, 1/200 sec.

Green Door And Turkish Rug

•July 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Green Door And Turkish Rug, originally uploaded by Josh and Julie.

Bright color is always appreciated in Turkey. The colors of the çicim-style woven rug displayed for sale on this Ankara wall are nearly surpassed by the aqua green of the door a foot away.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/4, 1/125 sec.

Village Wedding 12: Inside The Bridal Car

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Inside The Bridal Car, originally uploaded by Josh and Julie.

Riding with Ayşegül on a careening trek through the mountains at the head of a chain of honking vehicles, leaving the village briefly before returning to the groom’s house, are her maid of honor and a family relative in the front seat. The relative takes the place of Ayşegül’s father, whose death to leukemia about two years previously makes the occasion bittersweet for the bride and her mother.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-400, f/8, 1/200 sec.

Village Wedding 11: First Steps As A Bride

•June 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Here Comes The Bride 2, originally uploaded by Josh and Julie.

While Eren and his best man wait at his father’s house, Mehmet sets off on the (traditionally) epic journey to secure a bride and bring her home to his son. In this case, the journey is not all that epic, since Ayşegül lives not in a distant village but just down the hillside in Eshenler, and she is not being bought, captured or traded for but rather going happily, of her own will, and fully prepared to start her new life with a fiance that she has known personally for some time now. But just as anywhere else in the world, today’s ceremonies are the reflection of yesterday’s realities, and traditional Turkish village weddings today always incorporate the triumphant journey of the bride from her parents’ home to her husband’s.

All the women in attendance are present at the bride’s departure; by contrast no men participate except the head of her family and the father of the groom. The other men attending the wedding are around the corner where the bridal car waits, ready for Ayşegül to finish her journey.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/13, 1/200 sec.