June 26, 2015

Istanbul Scenes

A selection of images from in and around Istanbul during my visit there this past February.  A sprawling city spanning two continents,  it is a interesting mix of historic and modern.   The cafe life is a big part of the culture and the many pedestrian only streets are a nice respite from the traffic clogged city.

Fish stand in the Beşiktaş district.
Patrons eating outside a lokanta in Beşiktaş district.   A lokanta is a popular type of eatery where customers select prepared food at the counter cafeteria style.
Cooks in the window of a lokanta preparing food for the lunch crowd.
Many street cafes and coffee shops have short stools and seating with the popular backgammon games.  As with everywhere socializing has become a silent affair with a smart phone. 
A fish stall in a pedestrian district of Kadıköy across the Bosporus on the Asian side of Istanbul.
A spice and traditional medicinal vendor on the street in the Kadıköy district.
A fruit seller in the pedestrian district of Kadıköy on the Asian side of the Bosporus.
Bread shop in Kadıköy.
A young man on a pedestrian street and friend of the Turkish coffee brewer at cafe in Kadıköy.  He wanted is picture taken so I couldn't say no.   
A typical bustling pedestrian street lined with shops and cafes as night falls in Kadıköy .
Street scene as night falls in Kadıköy.   This is my favorite time of day to make outdoor photographs when the sky turns cobalt blue just after the sun sets.

Historic street car that runs the length of İstiklal Cadesi, one of the most visited pedestrian streets on Istanbul. It connects Taksim Square with the Karaköy district on the European side of Istanbul.
Turkish Delight window display on İstiklal Cadesi pedestrian street.
The Galata Bridge crossing the Golden Horn is lined with fishermen dropping their multi-hooked lines into the water below, hoping to catch small silver fish. 
Small silver fish caught from the Galata Bridge sit in small plastic cups waiting for a buyer.
Vendor selling roasted chestnuts to the after work crowd as dusk falls over Eminönü on the Golden Horn.
I can't come up with anything to say about this scene and almost didn't included it.  It was a bit disappointing to see the amount of litter here.   I did find it visually interesting with all the people just hanging out in the midst of it.  A main transit hub in Eminönü with the new Mosque (Yeni Cami) in the background.
Morning tea time in Sanyer on the Bosphorus.
Tea is ubiquitous in Turkey.  It is quite strong and served piping hot in an hour-shaped glass.
Playing backgammon in Rumeli Kavağı district on the Bosporus near the Black Sea.
A man sitting on the Bosphorus with prayer beads.
Stray dogs wait outside a butcher shop door hoping for some scraps in Rumeli Kavağı district on the Bosporus near the Black Sea.  Stray dogs roam around Istanbul and are tolerated as such. 

The burial site of the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.  He died in 1588 and was a prolific architect designing many mosques and public structures around the Ottoman empire.   This cemetery is across the street from one of his great achievements in Istanbul, the Süleymaniye Mosque.
A shirt seller just outside the Grand Bazaar blends in with his display.
Crossing the Bosphorus on a ferry to Kadıköy on the Asian side of Istanbul.
View from a ferry crossing the Bosporus. The historic Galata Tower is on the left edge of the image.
A passenger watches as the ferry approached the dock in Kadıköy on the Asian side of Istanbul.
A crewman throws a rope to a ferry dockworker to secure the vessel for disembarking in Kadıköy.
Fishermen socialize on a boat in a small marina on the Bosporus.
A young boy feeds the pigeons at a park on the Bosporus while a stray dog takes in the sun.
Two men sit on the Bosporus enjoying one of the few sunny and days during this time of year.   Physical closeness between men is part of the culture in this region of the world.   Friends walking arm in arm or with a hand on a shoulder is not uncommon to see.
On one of the many ferries that criss-cross the waters of Istanbul.
Women reading their tablet devices sit on the ledge of an overlook with sweeping views of Istanbul and Bosporus.
Istanbul reflection.
Shadows of three women walking on a street near the Zeyrek Mosque.
The New Mosque (Yeni Cami) at dusk across the Golden Horn with the Hagia Sophia Mosque behind in the distance.
Sun setting on over a rising Istanbul across the Bosporus from the Asian side.

June 22, 2015

The Mosque - House of Worship in Istanbul

Istanbul is a city that seems to have a mosque on every corner.  They are grand structures that dominate the landscape of the historic center. Most mosques of Istanbul were built during the Ottoman era and often as a vanity piece of the ruling sultan. During that era, many also provided charitable services such as hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, baths and accommodations for travelers. One of the most significant components of the mosque is the minaret from where the call to prayer is announced over loud speakers.  With all the competing mosques announcing the call to prayer, it sounds a bit like a riot going on.
An Ottoman-era mosque completed in 1665, New Mosque (Yeni Cami) is a majestic structure that dominates the skyline as you cross the Galata Bridge to Eminönü.
A man performs Wudu, a ritual cleansing at the ablution fountain before entering the mosque for prayer.
Waiting for dusk prayer to start at the New Mosque. The ritual Islamic prayer Salat is prescribed five times daily: 1) Fajr – the dawn prayer, 2) Dhuhr – the noon prayer, 3) Asr – the afternoon prayer, 4) Maghrib – the sunset prayer, 5) Isha'a – the night prayer.
Shoes are removed before one enters a mosque.  These shoes sit outside the entrance of the New Mosque.
A man outside the mosque entrance holds a set of prayer beads called tespih in Turish.  They are designed for a type of dhikr (remembrance) to keep track of silent prayers glorifying Allah.  The tespih consist of 33 or 99 beads to represent the 99 names of God in Islam.
Small lamps hanging from a section of a large circular frame are suspended above the prayer carpet in the mosque.
The interior of the New Mosque during dusk prayers.  Only men are allowed to pray at the front of the mosque.  Women who go to mosque pray at the back behind a wooden lattice partition or to the side behind a wall.
Men perform Wudu, an ablution (cleansing ritual) before entering the mosque.   Called abdest in Turkish, it includes a specific sequence and repetition of washing different parts of the body.  
Wooden Arabesque panel door on the main entrance to mosque.
The courtyard of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) and ablution fountain. 
Garments worn by the imam during prayers hang on the wall in a mosque.
Prayer beads left on the carpeted floor of mosque.  The angle of the carpet pattern aligns with the direction of Mecca.   All Muslims are required to face Mecca during prayer.   
Worshipers and tourists pass through the entrance to the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) inner courtyard.
A woman exits the mosque past a heavily padded curtain hung across the main entrance to the mosque.