Little Raven

The area we’re staying in while in Istanbul is known as “Kuzguncuk” which means “little raven” in English.

It didn’t take me long to understand how Kuzguncuk got its name as these winged fellows are everywhere.

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The ravens here are unusual in that they have grey feathers covering their backs; but like birds everywhere, they don’t take kindly to cats invading their space.

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Kuzguncuk is a traditional Turkish neighborhood located in the Uskudar district on the Asian side of Istanbul. It’s a reminder of Istanbul’s past and testimony to what I like most about this city — the warmth of its people.

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Brides love the backdrop of the 19th century, Ottoman houses in Kuzguncuk for wedding photos. I’ve counted 15 wedding parties so far. On numerous occasions, we’ve opened our front door only to interrupt a photo session like this one.

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I’ve seen some magnificent dresses! Saturday seems to be the favorite day for weddings, and thus, photos.

Kuzguncuk was once home to as many as 10,000 Jews. Greeks were long established here as is evidenced by the Church of Hagios Panteleimon which was built in 1821 on the site of a church dating back to 550 during the reign of Emperor Justinian.
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Armenians began moving into the area in the late 18th century. In fact, there were so few Muslim Turks living in this area that there was no mosque here until 1952.

Unfortunately, a wave of nationalism turned violent in 1955 when riots engulfed Istanbul. The riots were fueled by a false rumour that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, which was also the house in which Ataturk (Turkey’s George Washington) was born, had been bombed. Greeks and other minorities were attacked in their homes, businesses and churches, resulting in dozens of deaths. The city’s Greeks, Jews and Armenians began to emigrate en masse and Kuzguncuk underwent drastic change.

Today, the main street, Icadiye Caddesi, is lined with cafes, restaurants, art galleries and a park where residents can test their green thumbs.
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The warm hospitality, the inherent friendliness of the Turks is prevalent in Kuzguncuk. The old neighborhood has opened its arms and graciously welcomed two travelers who have found temporary harbor here on the shores of the Bosphorus.

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2 Responses to Little Raven

  1. cherylmac77 says:

    Awesome! We have just completed reading all your blogs!!! We love the pictures and the stories. We all agree – we are exceptionally grateful to live in the United States where we are free and girls/women, races, and religions are treated equally!

    • hikenwrite says:

      Glad you and boys and girls at Hasty Elementary are enjoying the blog. John and I are enjoying Turkey. The people are very hospitable and we have felt welcome here. It is definitely more progressive than other Muslim countries when it comes to women, but not as progressive as the U.S. in that regard.

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