Δεν ξέρω αν ταιριάζει εδώ…Είναι ένα κομμάτι από μία μελέτη για τα καφενεία της Πόλης. Παραθέτω και ολόκληρο το κέιμενο:
Social Activities in the Coffeehouses of Istanbul
Despite political and religious persecutions, neighborhood coffeehouses reopened in
1640 and continued to grow in popularity in Istanbul where eventually they were considered an acceptable substitute for the Islamic prohibition of alcohol (Gannon, 1994). By the end of the second half of the sixteenth century they were cultural settings that had become a part of the daily life where common social activities took place between people from different levels of the society. “Turkish” coffee became synonymous with a way of life (Merani, 1980). Socializing was a part of this way of life and was encouraged in the coffeehouse by offering music and dancing, card games, live theaters, plays and, story telling (Roden, 1977).
Music was important among the activities in the coffeehouse. The sixteenth century
music listened to in urban areas was what is known today as the classical Turkish music.
Classical Turkish music is an educated and conscious type of music arranged according to set
rules (Bayraktaroglu, 1996). Music was perfomed by a small orchestra of men with instruments like the tambourine, drum, bag-pipe and reed-pipe (Garnett, 1909). Among these accompanying instruments was the ud, known as the lute in Europe (Bayraktaroglu, 1996).
Dancing in the coffeehouse was not a continuous leisure activity like music. From time
to time travelling gypsies would visit and perform dancing. The coffeehouse would gain even
more importance during religious festivals. Local people would prefer to spend their time with others during long nights in the coffeehouse watching the gypsies or participating in singing and dancing (Dwight, 1915).
A constant source of entertainment was playing card games, backgammon, dominos and
chess and it is said the game of bridge originated in the coffeehouses of Istanbul (Birsel, 1991). Opera, theater, along with comedy and dramatic plays added exciting entertainment at times (Jacobs, 1935). The opera and plays were usually performed by Greek or Armenian women, a significant minority in Istanbul (Roden, 1977). The theater would usually take place during holidays, especially in large coffeehouses that accommodated large crowds. The most popular type of theater was a marionnette theater known as Karagöz.
Neighborhood coffeehouses maintained their importance as a community center, but in
the seventeenth century the coffeehouse began to organize according to different social classes, cultural interests and ethnic backgrounds. They also began to organize according to special interests such as those of the troubadours, janissaries, firemen, and musicians. The troubadour coffeehouses, known as the asik kahvesi featured story telling, a tradition that goes back beyond the coffeehouse. The coffeehouse was the perfect setting to tell stories, for there would always be a group of listeners. The troubadours, in other words, the story tellers would frequently visit coffeehouses and give monologues on legends and past experiences, introducing their own customs and manners (Dwight, 1935). Book reading was another featured attraction that came with the appearance of asik kahvesi. Usually one person would read out loud and the others would listen. Both story telling and book reading became an important means of communication with the general population (Birsel, 1991).
At the same time the formation of another coffeehouse type occurred known as the yeniseri kahvesi which were gathering places for the Ottoman janissaries (Isin, 1995). The janissaries were an elite force that formed the core of the Ottoman army. Every city in the Ottoman Empire had its contingent of janissaries who over generations had established their own closed community, with its separate zone within the city. By the seventeenth century the janissaries had integrated with the local communities becoming a part of the urban social life and participating in local coffeehouses (Wheatcroft, 1993). Eventually they opened their own coffeehouses which operated in a military discipline. The social activities of these coffeehouses were strongly influenced by the asik kahvesi since both types developed in the same period. The janissaries’ direct involvement with politics influenced the social environment within the yeniçeri kahvesi where heated political conversations took place.
These coffeehouses eventually became symbols of social unrest towards the government. The yeniseri kahvesi existed for nearly two centuries until the janissaries were discharged from the Ottoman military in 1826 (Isin, 1995). In the nineteenth century an important social figure in Istanbul was the tulumbaci (touloum-ba-jhi). The tulumbacis were the early firemen who were localized in every neighborhood (Birsel, 1991). When the yeniseri kahvesi ceased to exist after the abolition of the janissaries the tulumbacis inherited and transformed it to the tulumbaci kahvesi). These coffeehouses operated in nearly every neighborhood in Istanbul until 1876 (Isin, 1995). The tulumbacis would spend most of their time in the coffeehouse until they were called for duty. The influence that the asik kahvesi had on the yeniseri kahvesi also passed on to the tulumbaci kahvesi. Toward the end of the nineteenth century this influence turned into a marriage of the two in forming the last of the historic coffeehouses known as the semai kahvesi or in other words musical coffeehouses. Although traditional activities such as story telling continued to take place, these coffeehouses were also the first to perform scheduled events which included Turkish and European music. The semai kahvesi continued to be active in the urban life of Istanbul until their demise towards the end of 1920s ( Ciraci, 1990).