Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On tombs

Okay, I've never thought I would write anything on graves but here I am. As you know, I have been visiting the places that were significant to me at some point in my life. My research is about identity and literacy but I observe these bizarre things that are not related to my research but interesting nevertheless. I'm beginning to think that my blog entries, which usually include things that I will not use in my dissertation, will end up being much more interesting than the dissertation itself.
Anyway, this observation is about tombs. When I visited my old neighborhoods I realized that there were tombs in the middle of sidewalks. Don't get me wrong, I didn't go looking for tombs or anything. It's just that they happened to be where I was. When I lived there I didn't find this weird but going back there after so many years made the familiar strange. You don't see these graves in newer neighborhoods in Istanbul and I haven't seen these for a very long time. I guess people just don't want to disturb the graves so they remain where they are. Here are some examples




Most of them are single graves but I also saw ones like the one below, with multiple graves. These must be much older because the writing on the tomb stones used the Arabic alphabet not the Latin alphabet we use today.

 I found this quite interesting, but maybe you think I'm a little weird for doing so. What can I say, you're probably right.

And this isn't all I have about graves. When I was in the US one of my American friends was interested in genealogy and once Engin and I joined her in her search for her relatives' graves. I was so surprised when I saw how different the cemeteries were compared to the ones in Turkey. 
This was in the US and compare this with the ones below from Turkey. The order and chaos of these graveyards show a stark contrast. I think this contrast also applies to other aspects of American and Turkish cultures. But I'm sure there are other types of cemeteries both in the US and  Turkey.









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