Just kidding! I’m sure he is a devout Muslim and would never think of such a thing. The circular design behind him just looks a lot like a rising sun to me. I imagine a person could get desensitized to the brilliant patterns after hanging around these things all day long for years on end … you know, like teenagers playing violent video games. Of course, in other ways, repairing Turkish carpets is nothing at all like playing violent video games. I admit the analogy is limited.
Whatever else the carpet repairman’s job may or may not be, there is one thing it is for sure (at least, wherever I’ve seen it being done): a man’s work. In the same way that I’ve never seen a Turkish man sitting at a loom weaving a carpet, I’ve never seen a Turkish woman sitting in front of a shop repairing one. While I’m sure there are exceptions, the roles in my experience seem clearly defined. My best guess at the explanation is that in traditional Turkish village society (which bore the weaving tradition to the present day), women more generally are responsible for work done in or around the home, whereas men are more often responsible for work done someplace else, such as at a shop or office. As Turkish society becomes more modernized, of course, in many places these sorts of divisions (and skills?) are beginning to disappear.
Looking over the outskirts of Antakya (Antioch), Turkey, near the Syrian border, as the sun sets in May.
“One city does not greet another, but one man greets another.”
– Sumerian proverb from Ur, c. 2000 B.C.
This proverb, quoted in Rory Stewart’s excellent book The Prince Of The Marshes, does a pretty good job of explaining how I think relationships are most genuinely formed on the international stage. In our case, we usually leave the greeting to our children. These pictures should give you an idea of the scene a year or so ago when we went on a walk with our kids through the historic Ulus neighborhood in downtown Ankara. Kaya is the little blonde two-year-old in the picture above; at that age he was still loving the attention and hadn’t gotten sick of it yet, whereas his older brother Moses (in the stroller below) was starting to develop some reservations. Perhaps it’s just a personality thing – international diplomacy can’t be every preschooler’s job.
The deserted, rock-cut village now called Açıksaray (Open Palace) is a fascinating place to explore, in my opinion one of the more interesting and relaxing in Cappadocia, and made more so by the small number of visitors. When we were there in October, we found probably about eight people besides ourselves in the entire site. The village, just outside the Turkish town of Gülşehir, dates to the 10th or 11th century and covers about a square kilometer, containing chapels, kitchens, mushroom-shaped rock formations, and dwellings, probably for monks. This is the facade of the largest complex.
This picture was taken in the Ulus neighborhood, just down the hill from Ankara’s historic castle, which was really the only part of the city to speak of before Ataturk made it the capital of the new Turkish Republic. The castle area has been protected from development for tourism-related reasons and can sometimes seem like a village in the center of the city, which is of course now a modern metropolis with four and a half million people living in it. Meanwhile, the streets around the castle have experienced an increasing proliferation of carpet and antique dealers, including this gentleman offering kilims, cicims, and suzani along with knotted-pile hali carpets, just down the street from a row of copper workers.
A Catholic souvenir shop within Jerusalem’s old city.
Murat and Servet’s wedding in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş was a typically chaotic celebration with plenty of dancing, attended by just about as many people as could comfortably fit on the (very large) dance floor. The entire town is often invited to a wedding in Turkey, and the more people come the greater the honor for the father of the groom.
Hiking through wooded farmland in one of the small villages around Kürecik, near Malatya in southeastern Turkey.
This picture was taken from within the Dominus Flevit chapel on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, commemorating the site where Jesus is said to have wept over Jerusalem, and gives a pretty good ecumenical overview of the city that is central to the three great monotheistic world religions. The cross silhouette visible in the window latticework in the foreground gives way to Jewish graveyards at the base of the east wall of the temple mount, where Jewish belief expects the Messiah to one day enter the city. Behind these rise the shining domes of the temple mount’s current occupant: the architectural marvel of Islam’s Dome of the Rock.
This hatter in Ankara, like basically every other shopkeeper in Turkey, is a proud Kemal Ataturk fan. I guess that’s not enough to keep him from displaying an Ottoman-style fez, outlawed at one point by the great reformer of modern Turkey. At least it’s red so it matches the Turkish flag inside the shop, and as a photographer I appreciate that.