Whispers of history

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In the older neighborhoods of Istanbul, one often finds these heavy doors, tightly locked and decorated with crosses or Hebrew inscriptions. But no matter how many times you circle the walls, there is no church or synagogue in sight, only a an enigmatic wall enclosing an apparently abandoned lot.

I always feel a bit spooked by it, like I’ve seen a ghost or a corpse. When did these churches close up and bolt their doors? What was the community like that used to sustain these places of worship? Where did those people go, and where are they now? What kind of property dispute might still be going on for the land behind those walls?

Doorways, inscriptions, fountains, walls, fragments… Istanbul is replete with whispers of past history that are not audible on a cursory visit. Being able to hear them, as haunting as they are sometimes, has been one of the most rewarding parts of living here.

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3 thoughts on “Whispers of history

  1. UM August 5, 2014 / 3:03 am

    I like this

    Like

  2. rotziundbaerchen August 20, 2014 / 9:58 am

    I’d love to see Istanbul, but I never related it to a jewish community. Apparently the community before WWII was relatively big, but decreased due to insecurity towards the turning of the war, a so called “wealth tax” and, later on, the creation of the State of Israel which favoured emigration.
    Btw: I love these pictures =)

    Rotzi

    Like

    • C. Puls August 20, 2014 / 3:05 pm

      Yes definitely, Istanbul used to be even more diverse than it is now. Thanks for reading!

      Like

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