Sunday, January 27, 2013

The train to Küçükçekmece

On the train to Küçükçekmece, an older, impeccably dressed gentleman sat across from us, staring out the window with a faint smile on his face, lost in thought. At some point, he came out of his dream and realised I was up to something. His smile faded. I was concerned that perhaps I had offended him, but decided to nervously show him his portrait when we got up to leave the train. The smile returned, wider than before, showing off a row of pearly teeth and a twinkle in his blue eyes. He nodded his head and searched the train for any notice our interaction. I thanked him, wished him a good day, and hopped off onto the platform. As the train rolled on, I waved a quick goodbye, and turned away.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tahtakale Hamamı, Edirne

  Edirne şehrinin tarihi, MÖ 7. yüzyıla uzanmaktadır. MS 2. yüzyılda Roma İmparatoru Hadrianus Edirne'ye stratejik önemi nedeniyle şehir statüsü vererek kendi adını koymuş. Romalılar zamanında Edirne, Hadrianoupolis olarak anılmış. Romalılar'dan Bizanslılar'a geçen kent Haçlı Seferleri sırasında birçok kez yağma edilmiş. 1361 yılında Murad Hüdavendiğar tarafından Bizanslılar'dan alındı ve Osmanlı topraklarına katılmış. Osmanlı İmparatorluğunun ikinci başkentidir. İstanbul'un fethine kadar 92 yıl boyunca Osmanlı başkenti olmuştur. Edirne 1900'lü yılların başında Bulgaristan tarafından işgal edilmiştir. Bu işgal sırasında birçok tarihi yapı yıkılmış ve zarar görmüştür.
  Tüm bunlara rağmen şehirde birçok tarihi yapıyı görmek mümkün. 3 gün önce bir iş için Edirne'ye gitmiştim. Ne zaman Edirne'ye gitsem çizim yapmak için bir konu mutlaka buluyorum. Bu sefer Saraçlar caddesinden sadece kubbesi görünenen yapı dikkatimi çekti ve daha iyi görebilmek için etrafından dolaştım. Sonradan Tahtakale Hamamı olduğunu öğrendiğim bu yapı, 1435'te II. Murat tarafından Darü'l-Hadis Camii'ne vakıf olarak yaptırılmıştır. Edirne'nin çifte hamam planında en büyük hamammış. Saraçlar caddesine bakan kısmı günümüzde restarona dönüştürülmüş.
Tahtakale Hamamı, Edirne Edirne'yi daha önceki ziyaretlerimde çizdiklerimi aşağıda görebilirsiniz.
 UntitledUntitledBlack Train in Edirne, TurkeyMeriç Köprüsü, EdirneEdirne Karaağaç Gümrük KarakoluSelimiye Mosque

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl: Istanbul

The 38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl had place this last Saturday — which led me and Samantha to the lively fish market of Kumkapı. After two laps around the market trying to find the most appealing stand (with a stop to dispatch a balık ekmek while some showers persisted), evaluating where to stand sketching for a while without disrupting the flow of trade, appreciating the diversity being offered for sale, we finally settled for one stand that had an interesting variety of large fish hanging, and where we could stay as unobtrusively as possible.

Kedi balığı (Scyliorhinus canicula) Sand Lahoz (Epinephelus aeneus)
For roughly two hours we sketched among fishmonger cries, splashes of water, peeks of curiosity (at one time I spotted Samantha surrounded by five curious fishmongers, discussing among themselves who we were and what were we doing there). One old man came to me and I lowered the sketchbook so he could see. He looked, nodded and without saying a word did that fine gesture of appreciation with his hand (fingers joined pointing upwards, up and down, up and down). The blue of the sky turned to gold and that too faded to darkness, and our tired legs and eyes were by now quite ready to leave. Showing the sketches to the fishmongers and thanking once again, we left in search of a hot çay somewhere nearby.

Hoşgeldiniz, Rahman!

USk Istanbul is happy to introduce our newest member, Rahman Ketenciler! We are now a party of three, representing the only city in the world on two continents. Rahman is a primary school math teacher in Keşan, Turkey, with some fine drawing skills. He blogs over at Rahman Ketenciler'in Çizim Blogu. Welcome, and hoşgeldiniz! We can't wait to see what you draw.

at the fish market

It was a grey day on the 38th SketchCrawl— cold enough for your fingers to lock around your pencil, and your nose to be in constant need of a tissue. In between showers of icy rain, we split our time watching gulls and sketching fish, much to the delight and surprise of the burly fishmongers. They took turns bellowing "BUYRUNBUYRUN!" at potential customers, and hovering behind us tsking, and making hand gestures of approval.

We stood for nearly two hours, each of us working on our spreads, and I couldn't help but think that sketching demands a certain amount of toughness. I could feel my knees protest, and goodness, it was cold— but then the sketch would absorb me, and I forgot. Every so often, a fishmonger would yell "Abi!" at PeF, wave at him to move, then hurl an arc of seawater on his fish— the tail end of the arc landing where PeF once stood. I was routinely bumped out of the way by customers, and narrowly avoided getting drenched by a sheet of water being emptied from a bowed awning.

Every other street in Beyoğlu has a guy with portable stand of stuffed mussels— portable, because apparently they do not have a permit to sell these bivalves— or so I've been told. Yet there are so many of these guys that I wonder how true this claim of illegality is. People ask me whether they should indulge in eating these tasty treats (and I love stuffed mussels), and while I doubt they're too harmful, I am reminded of how the mussels arrive in the back of a truck and are sitting around all day... sometimes in the summer sun... but who knows?

I got my midye dolması— my stuffed mussels, at a fish shack by the Marmara Sea in Menekşe. The rice was delicately spiced, and with a squeeze of lemon, they were perfect.