A painted window shutter at a Christian bookstore in Jerusalem’s old city.
A Muslim man performs the namaz prayers on a rooftop in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Many people in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir are religious, especially the older generation. Part of being religious usually means faithfully performing the daily prayers at the sound of the ezan from the mosque minarets. Although performing the namaz at the precise time of the call to prayer is not required, doing it five times a day is. When a Turkish person wants to say someone is religious, he might often just use the expression, “he does the namaz five times.” The elderly gentleman in this picture seems to fall into that category.
Pictures of Mary mix with crucifixes and rosaries on a street in Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter.
Religious postcards for sale in the Christian quarter of old Jerusalem. I’m not certain, but I’m going to guess that guy in the middle is an Eastern Orthodox priest, maybe named a saint by the church. The narrow streets leading up to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are full of both Orthodox and Catholic shops, selling crucifixes, little bottles of anointing oil, pictures like this, and many, many long thin candles for visitors to light in the church.
An Assyrian Orthodox priest walks through the courtyard of his church in Mardin, southeast Turkey.
Kayakoy, in the Mediterranean hills of southwest Turkey, was populated until the first part of the 20th century, when changing world events saw all Greeks depart for the western side of the Aegean Sea. Greek settlements like Kayakoy became ghost towns, their religious buildings empty monuments. The Lower Church shown here was built in the 17th century; frescoes of saints and carved crosses preside over crumbling plaster and a congregation long gone.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-400, f/10, 1/15 sec. (handheld, 18-200 Canon IS lens @ 18 mm)
Standing in front of the groom’s family’s house for the first time as man and wife, the bride symbolically kicks over a bucket of water in front of the door, demonstrating the cleansing of the house.
This custom, along with the custom of spreading butter or oil over the door frame as the couple enter the house for the first time, is not exclusive to Muslim villages in the Middle East. These cultural traditions, as far as I have seen, are not only dictated by religion; they are also found in historically Jewish or Christian areas.
Wedding celebration in a Turkish village near Konya.