Extract

Kastamonu: The Painted Mosque

The Kasaba Mahmut Bey Mosque

The jewel in Kastamonu’s crown is a mosque in Kasaba, a tiny village with a flock or two of sheep, guarded by shepherdesses, in a sea of wheat fields. Built in 1366, the Mosque of Mahmut Bey is a brilliant relic of the golden age of the Anatolian beyliks, the warring principalities that flourished when the great Byzantine and Seljuk empires were in decline. Photographs by Solvi dos Santos

The sleepy village of Kasaba is at the end of a country lane that follows gently rolling hilltops dropping to a leafy valley ten miles from Kastamonu. You cross a bridge, then ford the river and pull up in front of a crumbling mansion. Opposite is the mosque, a sturdy barn of a building. The windows are small and few. There is no hint of the cabinet-maker’s dream within. But Kasaba gives its past away: it is a nickname, and means town – the old name was Ilısu. In the 17th century, 25,000 souls lived here: now there are at most 400.

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Issue 45, 2011 Painting the Orient
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Other Highlights from Cornucopia 45
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Issue 45, 2011 Painting the Orient
£8.00 / $10.66 / 41.78 TL
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