Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Kurdish Wedding in Izmir, Turkey

Dan Russ, director of the Center for Christian Studies, writes:

"This summer Kathy and I (pictured above in Grand Bazaar) traveled to Istanbul and Izmir, Turkey, to attend the wedding of our oldest child, Elizabeth, to Sabri Ates, a colleague of Libby on the faculty of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. Sabri is a history professor and Libby teaches Spanish. He comes from a Kurdish heritage in west central Turkey, but his family moved to Izmir, a port city of over two million people, when he was 10 years old so he could get more than an elementary school education. He completed his Ph.D. at NYU in Middle Eastern history.
Libby and Sabri met us in Istanbul, where we stayed in a small hotel with a view of the Marmara Sea and the Bosporus. We toured a number of mosques and the Grand Bazaar that contains over 4,000 shops (see photo), took a ferry ride on the Bosphorus, enjoyed coffee at the largest and most beautiful Starbucks we have seen—sits right on the Bosphorus—ate fish, walked the night district, and collapsed in bed at the end of the day. We left the next day for Izmir for the Henna party and wedding, where we witnessed the beauty of Kurdish dances both nights—boy can they dance for hours on end. It was an outdoor wedding with a seated dinner for 350 adults and 70 children. There were fireworks at the entry of the bride and groom, we danced, they pinned money on Libby and Sabri, we danced, ate, danced, ate, danced. . . .

We finished our trip back in Istanbul staying at a hotel built into the walls of the Topkapi Palace with a view of the Hagia Sophia. We toured the Palace, the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Bascilica Cistern, ate the fresh and delicious Turkish food, and came home wonderfully exhausted.

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