Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Jewish Cemetery in Bodrum


My first visit to the Jewish cemetery in Bodrum had to be aborted - It was 2012, the graveyard was in a very neglected state, the grass so long that the gravestones couldn't be seen and there were two camels tethered below the graves.  I was a young pup and became hysterical at the sight of these strange animals - camels are still on my list of 'most hated' just after thunder, helicopters and birds.  It is interesting to note that the word camel comes from the Greek word kamelos and is of Semitic origin.


By 2014 the graveyard had been tidied up and, after a walk by yesterday,  I can confirm that the cemetery is still being looked after.
A famous educator, Avram Galanti, was born in Bodrum in 1873 and from his 1945 book - 'Bodrum History', we know that in 1894 from a total Bodrum population of 6003, 3608 were Muslim, 2264 were Orthodox, 86 were Jewish and 45 were 'foreign'.  When the law was passed that made Turks take surnames, Galanti chose Bodrumlu.

If you'd like to know more about this under-researched aspect of Bodrum life,  'The Bodrum Jewish Cemetery' has just been published, written by Siren Bora with photography and translation by C.M. Köseman, detailing all the graves and giving an insight into the lives of the Jewish community in Bodrum.

To visit on foot,  take the exit road from the main bus station, turn right into the narrow road behind Migros supermarket, walk past the entrance to the High School and the cemetery is on the corner of 1804 Sokak, Yokuşbaşı.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Mandarin Festival

Snow is falling in Istanbul again and the knock-on cold snap hit Bodrum at mid-day. While I'm shivering I like to remember that Sunday was a warm sunny day and the castle square was filled with citrus fruit. It was the Mandarin Festival week end. 

I cozied up to a few stall holders, got a few strokes in return ....

....but only jam was on offer as a freebie, no one would give me a bun. 

I don't like eating mandarins but if my boss (it makes her happy to think she can tell me what to do) spends too much time at the computer, I sneak a mandarin or orange from the fruit bowl and start to pat it around the Afghan rug.  If this doesn't stop her typing, I scratch the sides of the rug and start to bury the fruit - that usually makes her jump up.

In view of this I thought she might buy me one of these knitted mandarins but no - I'll have to make do with the juicy squashable kind.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

On Temple of Mars Street

Spolia (Latin, 'spoils'), the repurposing of building stone for new construction, or the reuse of decorative sculpture on new monuments, is an ancient and widespread practice whereby stone that has been quarried cut and used in a built structure, is carried away to be used elsewhere.

This post has been delayed because my mistress couldn't remember a word.  It happens a lot these days as she is in need of a brain reboot. Usually the forgotten word comes to her a few hours after she realises that she's forgotten it and she has a note book beside her bed to record all the mislaid words, but this word has been irretrievable for a couple of weeks.  Then on Friday she went to a talk on Bodrum architecture and managed to ask several architects, archaeologists and historians, who all scratched their heads until one said he was sure the word began with 'sp' and then ' spolia' was re-found to much relief. I could have done without the word as I know that the door step I sniff daily was once adorning a temple, well over 2,000 years ago. 

I'm allowed to sniff but not lift my leg as my mistress says it takes her back 40 years to when she sat listening to Dr Ken Wardle, learning about egg and dart relief in her first year Classical Greek Architecture lectures at the University of Birmingham. I show respect and wee elsewhere.


I'm pretty good at recognising spolia now - it is everywhere I walk

The castle is the perfect example of reused blocks - there is a very good chance that the lion on The English Tower was part of the Mausoleum decoration, it certainly pre-dates the castle construction by a couple of millennia.  I will remind my companion to take her camera on our walk tomorrow and post some more pictures of spolia before we forget the word again.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

A week is a long time in paw licks

I'm extremely glad that I'm a dog. I don't have to worry about constitution-changing votes in parliament or the Turkish Lira losing value by the day. My life is measured in walks, dinners and cuddles.  One week is 21 walks - 7 dinners and hopefully 100s of cuddles.

My daily perambulations do lead me to notice that the weather is odd. This is the longest cold spell in my 5 winters but at least we have only had ice to contend with, not deep snow like my furry friends in the rest of the country, and it's good to hear that many shopping centres and individual stores have been letting stray animals shelter inside during the bad weather.

I'm very lucky on the cuddle front, apart from those I get at home, I'm stopped two or three times a day on my way around Bodrum and given a cuddle by complete strangers, usually accompanied by a selfie shot or two - it's a bit embarrassing being addressed as 'my sweet', 'my sugar' or 'my dear' all the time but I prefer that to being called a sheep, which is a daily 'joke' at the taxi rank.  I've barked back a response a couple of times but we have to keep on the drivers' good side in case I ever need to take a taxi.
Thank you to everyone who said that I looked handsome in my rain coat and suggested I get a hat - I've never seen a sheep in a hat and coat so I might consider this as a remedy to the taxi drivers name calling.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Paws for thoughts

Me, pausing to think.

I thought you all would like to see some snaps of me looking windswept and interesting. I admit the first photo is posed and has been edited and tarted up to add to the drama, but I think I look splendidly handsome and when the time comes, I will choose it as the cover of my first autobiography - working title 'Paws for Thought'. 

Cheryl Martha and us dogs
The second two photos were taken without my knowledge but sum up a good morning's walk. My two-footed companion had told me that I would be spending the day with a couple of good-looking lady dogs and I'd occupied a few hours working out some chat up lines. She failed to mention that one of the ladies was a 45 kilo Kangal and that I would be sharing MY back seat with her, or rather, as it turned out, I would be squashed into the corner of MY back seat with a Kangal's bottom pressed to my head - well there are worse ways to pass a 30 minute car journey. When we got to Gümüşlük we were joined by two more leashed canines and a couple of street dogs tagged along too. All of us are in the picture above - no prizes for guessing which is Peri the Kangal. (Only a human with a GSOH would name a Kangal 'Fairy').

Bob and me in contemplative mood

Those of you who read this blog regularly will notice something wrong with the three photos - the ground is brown - in January it should be green with an early wild flower or two sprouting through the long grass. Alas the expected October, November and December rain didn't fall - but it is falling now and more should come next week, which is good for the land but bad for me because I have to wear my dratted raincoat, I'd rather get wet but she who must be obeyed (but rarely is) insists. 

This photo will not be in the autobiography

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

A New Year

It falls to me, Jake the dog, to pen the first post of 2017. My two legged companion has been silenced by the massacre in Istanbul on New Year's night.  After hoping for a peaceful new year, having one's hopes dashed less than 90 minutes into 2017 will take some getting over.  We are both also sad that our friend Şenol Captain is in a coma in Aydın hospital after suffering a heart attack.

Despite looking after a dozen golden retrievers in his bus, he always had time to give me a cuddle and we are both hoping he'll be well enough to return to Bodrum soon.  His dogs are still together, being cared for in great comfort by a kind-hearted volunteer.

Hopefully your usual writer will be back in harness soon, but until that time I shall bring you photos of my days in Bodrum...

The everyday ones...

and the slightly strange ones...

with a bit of archaeology thrown in for good measure.

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday to BacktoBodrum Blog - 5 years old this week.