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BEST BEFORE

8 November 2014  |  0 comment  |  Zeynep Bakir

Scribes in front of the post office.

Build a post office, you create an economy... Even in the streets! At least, that was the case back in 1890s...

Scribes in front of the post office.

The street leading from the Great Post Office to Nuruosmaniye is one of the most characteristic streets of Istanbul, for it forms the busiest thoroughfare between Galata Bridge and the Grand Bazaar. This was also the case at the Constantinople era. This was also a place preferred by Greek and Armenian dentists. But the street was really dominated by scribes.

“In the neighborhood of the post office, the public scribes sit all day long in the shade, grave and impassive as sphinxes, and ready to lend their skill with the pen for the correspondence of the unlettered. Their customers are chiefly Turkish women, who generally veil themselves more closely than usual while dictating in low and confidential tones the messages they themselves are unable to write. It is worth while to linger a moment and catch a glimpse of some of those faces as they bend eagerly over the scribe's table, watching the swiftly moving reed pen,” says Francis Marion Crawford.

Near this spot is Yeni Cami, a place used as a shade in those days as well. People used to sit on the steps, watch people passing by and buy beverages from the soft drink sellers around. Today, sitting in the shade of that mosque’s steps is an indispensable pastime of those who pass by Eminönü on hot summer days.  

Kaynak: 1890’larda İstanbul / Kültür Yayınları

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