Friday, March 26, 2010

a day's end

Grand Bazaar closing 4

The Kapalı Çarşı and I have had a long relationship— I've been getting lost in its labyrinthine alleys since I was seven years old. I know almost every street, every shop, and yet if someone were to ask me where that shop that sells the marvellous Afghan bracelets is, I would have no clue of how to get there.
I know the façade, I can see it and the faces of the shopkeepers clearly in my mind, but where it is— well, you just have to end up there.

I met Spanish sketcher extraordinaire Javier de Blas at the Bazaar for coffee and a swapping of sketchbooks. Javier is a professor of drawing for designers at the Escuela Superior de Diseño of La Rioja in Spain, and has come to Istanbul with fifty of his talented students to explore and sketch. While we chatted and sketched, the Bazaar slowly dimmed and grew quieter, as shops shut down for the night. Never, in my years of intimacy with this maze of delights, have I ever seen it close. Tourists vanish like vapour, shopkeepers systematically and precisely relocate their wares from outside their shops to in, and the resident pigeons fluff up on their wires.

Grand Bazaar closing 2
Outside the Kapalı Çarşı, night falls, and hungry people hurry toward cafés and meyhane.


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