Jumping the Tracks of Daily Routine

Hanging carpet threads

In the last week, I've been drifting from my usual routines and finding happy surprises on the other end- coming upon a han I'd never visited before, popping into the Hagia Sophia unexpectedly, lounging at a music festival on a Sunday, and finally diving in and purchasing a Turkish rug, something I'd wanted to do for ages, but had felt intimidated by. Stepping out of my usual track has given me renewed appreciation for the small nooks of the city and the poetry that there is to be found here in daily life- the steam coming from a kestane truck as the vendor turns them over, an earthy rainbow of carpet threads hanging waiting to be woven, and the way the setting sun gives the Midas touch to buildings along the Bosphorus, turning them into flickering candles on a birthday cake. It is refreshing to know that no matter how many times I tread these streets, one slightly different spontaneous turn can bring unexpected newness. 

One afternoon, Gabby and I headed to the Tavuk Pazarı on the outskirts of the Grand Bazaar to purchase some chain. Walking back through the square in Çemberlitaş, we spotted the opening to a han we'd never been to, whose name we didn't catch. We had another errand, but decided to veer from the plan to peek inside. The layout of the han was similar to most of the other ones we've visited, but was a lot more spacious and open, with wider arches and higher ceilings. A lot of the workshops were closed, though we did see a new jeweler's table on one end and a set up loom on the other end of the second floor arcade. Soft-colored threads hung from a pipe on the wall and a well-worn rug hung from a rafter. The atmosphere was still and incredibly peaceful and we resolved to come back here to sketch on another day.

Our next stop was Noah's Ark's carpet shop in Sultanhamet, a place that Gabby has been to many times. I was a little nervous about buying a carpet- mostly about the process of the vendors pulling out all of their wares and then feeling pressured to make a decision, but I was pleasantly surprised. The vendors at Noah's Ark were courteous and mellow, gave a lot of information about each rug they showed, all in a no-pressure environment. It was clear that they were very knowledgeable about carpets: their different origins, designs, and significance. One çay later, I had found one that suited me- a saddleback meant for a camel with a symmetrical diamond shape and was very happy with the experience.

We were soon joined by Özgür and strolled to the median between the Hagia Sophia and the Sultanhamet Camii- Blue Mosque, where we lay in a patch of quickly receding sun in the grass. When it got a little chilly, I headed home, carpet in tow, happy at the results from a break in routine.

Hanging at the han



Hagia Sophia

Everyone say, "Sut misiiiiiiiiiiir!"


Hagia Sophia

Under the large chandelier, Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, detail

Hagia Sophia mosaics

Harvest Festival, Istanbul

Hagia Triada, Taksim

Hagia Triada, Taksim
Backlit flag

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