Susan and L. and I went to Eyup the other day to look at a new-ish (180-something year old) mosque on a very old holy spot, surrounded by a lovely, very old graveyard that’s cut into the side of a steep hill. At the top of the hill is a complex of buildings that look like German-ski-village-as-imagined-by-Disney, including a boutique hotel, several cafes with stunning views, and a pay toilet that was my first experience with the kind of commode that’s set into the ground.
It was my first experience sight-seeing in Turkey. As a general rule I’m not big on sight-seeing. I find lines and crowds wearying. I find it somewhat stultifying to look at a bunch of big, pretty shit that was built by poor people for rich people. I’m as big a sucker for being around Really Old Stuff as the next person, but I find Turkey to be such a thoroughly modern city that when I come across piles of mouldering rocks with faint scultptural detail shining through, it’s hard to get lost in the “man, this is so OLD!” reverie because chances are there’s a bus whizzing by a foot and a half from me, or a loud family coming out of a 70’s apartment building right next door. Also, I find that the really important things that you just HAVE to see in any given city are generally short on shady spots.
My pictures of the mosque didn’t come out terribly well, but the graveyard was lovely, and in my opinion, more interesting.
The day we did this was the first day of the Kurban Buyram, which is, we think, like Christmas for Turkey, but with less Santa Claus and more animal slaughter. As the sun set in Eyup, L. and Susan ducked into a Vodofone to ask questions about internet service and I snapped a picture of a cow going to glory.
After the sun set we got on the ferry back down the Halic. Both sides of the inlet were ferociously well lit- lights glared down from the hills on both sides of us and in front of us disappeared out into the sea, but behind us there was one swath of hill that was dark and loomed black against the sky, where the dead lay.