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x0x Come with me to Sadabad!

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    [See more about the area at: http://www.turkradio.us/k/sadabad ] Sunday, November 26, 2006 x0x Come with me to Sadabad! Sadabad, located in today s Kagithane
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 27, 2006
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      [See more about the area at: http://www.turkradio.us/k/sadabad ]

      Sunday, November 26, 2006

      x0x Come with me to Sadabad!

      Sadabad, located in today's Kagithane district, was
      popular in the Ottoman capital from the end of the 16th
      century until the 18th century as a place of
      entertainment Istanbul's metropolitan municipality
      seems to have taken Kagithane where Sadabad was once
      located to heart and has ambitious plans to turn the
      area into a modern entertainment center

      NIKI GAMM

      ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

      Can you imagine eating fresh shrimp from the Golden
      Horn? Or listening to poetry on the banks of that
      watercourse? Until recently you would have had to go
      back in time to the early 18th century and a very
      special era and place in Ottoman Turkish history -- a
      place that reminds one of the 12th century Persian
      poet Omar Khayyam's line about a loaf of bread, a jug
      of wine and thou. Sadabad on the Golden Horn, if he
      had lived in Istanbul at that time, undoubtedly would
      have been his address.

      But what was Sadabad? Actually a small mansion or
      pavilion located on the north end of the Golden Horn
      that gave its name to this particular area where two
      rivers emptied into that waterway. The place was also
      known as the Sweet Waters of Europe. The pavilion
      belonged to the sultan and its name can be translated
      as something like felicitous prosperity.

      We owe a lot to the description of the area to the
      17th century Ottoman travel writer, Evliya Çelebi,
      who wrote about the nights he and friends would party
      there during the month of Ramadan.

      He says that he would take 40 pieces of gold, buy two
      sheep and other things to eat and drink and then
      single out five or six of his best friends to take
      with him. They went to Kagithane, set up a tent for
      themselves and spent their time conversing, eating
      and drinking until it became impossible "to speak
      with their tongues and write with their pens."

      At the time, just as Evliya Çelebi could enjoy fresh
      shrimp from the Golden Horn wealthy people from all
      over Istanbul would come and set up tents -- as many
      as 3,000 tents with candles and torches at night,
      singing, dancing and otherwise enjoying themselves.
      The reason was the fresh air and clear water.

      The most beloved poet of the early 18th century,
      Nedim, wrote his famous poem about "Sadabad."

      Let us give a little comfort to this heart that's wearied so
      Let us visit Sadabad, my swaying Cypress, let us go!

      Look, there is a swift caique all ready at the pier below,
      Let us visit Sadabad, my swaying Cypress, let us go!

      There to taste the joys of living, as we laugh and play about,
      From the new-built fountain drink a draught such as Tesnim** pours out,

      There to watch enchanted waters flowing from the gargoyle spout,
      Let us visit Sadabad, my swaying Cypress, let us go!

      For a while we'll stroll beside the pool, and then another while
      Off we'll go to view the palace, moved to marvel by its style;

      Now we'll sing a ballad, now with dainty verse the hours beguile.
      Let us visit Sadabad, my swaying Cypress, let us go!*

      A painting from the 18th century shows the coast at
      Sadabad lined with houses of different sorts and
      sizes and some with openings where the caiques [large
      boats with rowers that ferried people about the
      waters surrounding Istanbul] could actually enter the
      house itself so you could disembark without exposing
      yourself to the weather. We can see the same
      architecture on some of the oldest of the yalis or
      wooden mansions on the Bosporus today. On the hills
      above there in the picture there are virtually no
      buildings and although it appears barren of trees,
      that is most likely because the artist wanted to show
      something of the landscape. Today's Sadabad is
      virtually bereft of lush foliage.

      This was a special place perhaps inspired by the
      embassy that Yirmisekiz Çelebi Mehmed Efendi headed
      in France in 1721-1722. He is known to have visited
      almost everywhere from Versailles, Trianon and Marly
      to theaters, opera, hospital and laboratories. He
      even posed for artists. It was also about this time
      that the chief gardener of the gardens at Versailles
      passed through the area and spent quite some time
      looking at the flora and fauna of the Middle East.
      Whether there was a connection isn't clear.

      There must already have been a movement in this
      direction and scholars point to the Treaty of
      Passarowitz in 1718 as a decisive point. It was a
      treaty that led to peace between the Ottoman Empire
      and Austria/Venice, after the latter had chipped
      significantly and successfully away at Ottoman
      provinces in the Balkan region.



      The Ottoman Tulip Period:

      Ironically, this first part of the 18th century
      became what has been called the Tulip Period. It
      wasn't just because of the overwhelming interest in
      building Sadabad but because tulips had become all
      the rage in Europe and especially in Holland. This
      flower was first introduced into Europe by the
      Austrian ambassador who took bulbs from Turkey back
      to Vienna. From there they went to Amsterdam. The
      Dutch took to them with a passion, buying, selling,
      trading and finally speculating. The bubble burst and
      many people lost fortunes in the deal.

      However, the terms Sadabad and the Tulip Period
      continued to define the extraordinary burst of
      poetry, art and entertainment in Istanbul apparently
      with women being able to come and enjoy themselves.
      Contests and sports, poetry competitions and singing,
      torches to light the gardens by night and turtles
      that walked about the garden with candles on their
      backs. We don't have any stories of anyone catching
      fire.

      Sadabad lasted as long as Sultan Ahmet III was on the
      throne but it was eventually wiped out during the
      revolt of Patrona Halil, a Janissary soldier, in
      1730-1731. Sultan Ahmet III was forced to abdicate.
      In the course of the revolt not only was Sadabad
      destroyed but the mansions and palaces of many
      dignitaries and wealthy people. The sultan had his
      grand vizier who was so much a part of Sadabad
      strangled in the hope that he himself would be able
      to survive. Well, he lived on for another five years
      but not as sultan.

      Sadabad was for all intents and purposes dead
      although Sultan Abdulhamid II turned it into a park.
      Dorina L. Neave, in her book "Twenty Years on the
      Bosporus," says of her visit there at the beginning
      of the 20th century: "In fact, they insisted on my
      accompanying them to the Sweet Waters of Europe,
      which is a river formed by the upper reach of the
      Golden Horn where I had never been before. Here
      society gathered in carriages, especially in the
      early spring, when very few caiques were in use ...
      it was more like taking the part of a caged animal in
      a circus parade. I drove with my Turkish friends in a
      closed landau, with the curtains drawn for fear the
      police noticed a European lady was sitting inside. At
      the pace of a funeral procession we drove along the
      side of the river, catching glimpses of the occupants
      of the other carriages that drove past, but never
      allowed to show any sign of recognition even to the
      ladies. This was considered one of the bright
      recreations suitable for a Turkish lady's life, but I
      have seldom found any excursion more trying."



      The future of Sadabad:

      Today Istanbul's Metropolitan Municipality wants to
      revive this unique area and has focused on cleaning
      up the Golden Horn and ensuring that there are more
      and more places for people to visit such as museums,
      art galleries and so forth. Among all of the
      projects, there seems to be none closer to the
      municipality's heart than that at Kagithane where
      Sadabad once reigned supreme.

      The area had two streams that flowed from the hills
      above into the Golden Horn and they must have been
      the cleanest of the clean to be referred to as the
      "Sweet Waters of Europe." One was at Alibeyköy and
      the other at Kagithane. The latter known as the
      Kagithane Stream traverses a 2.5 kilometer stretch
      through what is now an official district called
      Kagithane. It is this waterway that is being repaired
      and reconstructed.

      From there on the plans become even more ambitious. A
      green park area is in the works and trees of all
      different sorts planted in the meadows so that all
      year round there will be green foliage. However,
      everything is to be kept within what is known of the
      historical characteristics of the area. Plane,
      linden, chestnut, oak, laurel and plants that grow
      from bulbs and animals that don't attack humans
      including squirrels, peacocks and waterfowl are part
      of this plan. Restaurants, coffeehouses and walk
      paths will greet the future visitor.

      Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas recently proclaimed
      Sadabad as Istanbul's cultural base as he inaugurated
      three new salons this season in the Sadabad Theater.
      He additionally pointed out that serious investments
      had been made in culture and art over the past
      two-and-a-half years. Given that Istanbul had been
      named the European Cultural Capital for 2010, Topbas
      announced that the goal for 2007 was to raise 100
      million euros.

      Well, we probably won't visit Sadabad in the style in
      which sultans and members of the harem once went but
      the completion of the Sadabad project will give
      everyone a chance to feel as if once upon a time he
      or she might have been just that.

      -----------------------

      *Penguin Book of Turkish Verse.

      **A river or fountain in Paradise.

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