So this is a little creepy, but probably not creepier than that song. Santa Claus was watching from both of these windows when we visited Ellicott City, Maryland. Ellicott City is a place that has plenty of Americana feel to it, plenty of antique and vintage stores, but it was still strange to see this in the windows … in the middle of May.
The outer wall of an abandoned warehouse in Belington, West Virginia features a helpful list of all the things they used to sell there.
A car parked on a sloping cobblestone street in front of a mosque in Ankara’s old district.
Shofars (ram’s horn trumpets) are displayed for sale in front of a closed shop door in the Christian Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem’s center.
An Orthodox Jew walks through the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem.
In the southeastern Anatolian countryside around Malatya and Kahramanmaraş, the small motorbike with a sidecar for your friend to ride along is a pretty common sight. Same goes for the artistic expression on the sidecar – similar to the painted slogans Turkish truck drivers use to decorate their vehicles. This picture comes from a midweek afternoon at a Turkish teahouse like any other, near the site of mountain springs that continuously produce bubbly mineral water. It’s said to be good for kidney stones, but I should give fair warning – it tastes like rotten eggs.
Window shopping in Ulus. The hatter is probably frequented by older Turks for whom the hat is part of the standard winter uniform while taking their daily constitutional from home to the tea house; The shoes and lamps are nostalgic reminders of medieval times, bought by tourists and more modern Turks to decorate their homes.
Here’s a selection of shots from a recent trip to Jerusalem, featuring Christian, Muslim and Jewish sites, mostly focused around or viewed from the Mount of Olives. In future posts I’ll try to put up some shots from the Wailing Wall (or Western Wall) of the Temple Mount, as well as some of my best attempts at street photography from one afternoon in the city. Enjoy!
“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.
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.