Friday

In the decade we’ve had a place on this hill, I’ve never been to the other side of the valley. There are various paths and lanes on beyond our house which lead that way, but the prospect of running into wild animals (bears, boars, snakes) or a guard dog has always made that trek more that a little daunting. However, as it’s Friday today, and I am working from home, I thought it was time to visit the village mosque for once.

The mosque in question, you might just be able to make out on the crest of the hill in this photo taken from beside our house. It’s the white building with the green roof and stone minaret.

It sits in an elevated position, above the road there, its front door reached up a flight of stairs. It’s only a small building, of one room, but then the congregation is hardly huge. Only the first two rows were filled for the jummah prayer this lunchtime.

To its rear is the Black Sea. Immediately below it, the new fishing port. Prancing through those tea fields ill-advised, for there’s a steep drop down tall cliffs to a four lane dual carriageway below. I stopped here with the other mosque-goers just long enough to listen to another amusing conversation, as my companion introduced me as an İngiliz Müslüman to gasps of confusion and surprise.

From the pavement outside the mosque, you can just about make out our house back in the other direction. I don’t think it’s really as far as my camera lens suggests; my eyes are far better resolution than my ageing smartphone’s. Studying Google Maps, it looks about 500m as the crow flies to me; I’d estimate about 1km by road.

Better, the view of the hill which stands behind us, which we can’t see from our house. Apparently there’s an ancient hill fort at its summit, which our patriotic neighbour has visited to wave his Turkish flag.

I wasn’t able to take any photos inside the mosque, as the congregation was still praying their sunnahs when I departed for the journey home, but it was a very plain and ordinary building. No tiles or calligraphy, just drab painted walls and a modest wooden mimbar. A humble cami (jami) for a humble jammat, presumably. A nice enough experience for me, with my limited comprehension, in no way pretentious or excessively devout. Just right.

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