21 November 2008

Cats of Istanbul - Part 2

The British explorer, archeologist Charles Fellows encountered nomadic Turkish tribes on many occasions while traveling in southwest Turkey in 1840. In his book Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, Fellows described a typical procession of them:

An old man, and generally his wife, head the clan, which consists of several generations...His son, the master of the flocks, follows with his wife; she is often seated on a horse, with a child in her arms...Asses are allotted to the younger children, who are placed amidst the domestic stores, and never without a pet cat in their arms...
The association of the Anatolians with cats probably goes back many centuries and is still an ongoing affair as revealed by the abundance of cats in Turkey.


I saw this man, sitting amidst the prayer beads and the flags he was selling and the cats he was keeping, in the Sahaflar district of Istanbul. After giving me permission to take photographs, he started complaining of the abuse his cats would sometimes get from unappreciative strangers. The sleepy felines looked good, though.


Part 1 was here.

More to come.


Beste said...

I love your photos. Couldn't be more Turkish-tea and cats...

Simla said...

Wow, I only just noticed how thickly he's dressed...I remember I was in a t-shirt and very thin knit sweater that day. This man is wearing three layers plus a winter coat!!! Wasn't it aoubt 20 degrees?? What is wrong with these people???!!!??