Sunday, 23 September 2012

Turkish Delight - Here be were-rabbits?

Having left Istanbul we found ourselves in Beypazari. Never heard of it? No neither had we but it is the centre of the Turkish carrot industry.

Where most towns have a statue of a local dignitary or historical personage,  in the centre of the town Beypazari has ...

..... a giant steel carrot.

If you want to sample carrot flavoured Turkish Delight or drink carrot juice then this is the place to do it.

They also do a very nice line in baklava  with 80 layers of  filo pastry rather than the usual 40  - can definitely recommend this.

Joking apart, Beypazari had a few surprises in store. One of which was the museum. It's a "living history " type of place where they are trying to preserve some of the old beliefs and customs of Turkey before they are swept away by the influx of modern global culture.

One of the ubiquitous symbols of Turkey is the "evil eye" or more accurately a talisman to protect against it. How do you know if you have been afflicted by the evil eye? Like this

The person to be diagnosed sits covered in a white sheet  whilst the wise woman hold a bowl of cold water above their head. A ladle of molten lead is  then thrown into the water.

This results in a loud bang, a cloud of steam and water everywhere.  


The shape formed by the lead is then examined and a pronouncement made. In this case, yes our volunteer was afflicted by the evil eye and a prescription to cure it given.

The museum is housed in what was one of the grandest houses of the town. The owner would have been very wealthy and the house has been maintained to give a flavour of how they would have lived. 

 Multiple generations would have lived under the same roof. This room belonged to the eldest son and his wife so it is one of the bigger ones and has a nice double aspect. They would have eaten slept and lived in this one room with the bedding taken up during the day time.

but they did have en suite facilities. 

Beypazari is famous for its old houses. Much of the old town still consists of these old homes. In many ways it was like going back 3 or 400 years with the people living above the animals. Very quaint but I wonder if those who seek to preserve the nature of the town would be prepared to live in such conditions themselves?

The final picture this week is looking down over the town itself from one of the rocky outcrops that surround it.
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