Ramadan in Istanbul

Human Landscapes:

It’s at night that Ramazan becomes palpable to the nonobservant, and that’s one of the reasons I love it. The whole city becomes as nocturnal as I, by disposition and habit, already am. The streets are lively well past midnight: people stay out late, strolling on the shore, filling sidewalk teahouses in the warm night air. Children are up late too—they don’t fast, but in summer there’s no need to wake for school in the morning, so they’re out and about, walking with their families and playing on the sidewalks. There’s something of a fairground atmosphere: cotton candy and ice-cream and street vendors selling cheap plastic toys. But the gaiety goes hand-in-hand with marks of piety, like the low, continous sounds issuing from the mosques—Qur’an recitation, prayers, ilahi—and the lightbulbs strung between their minarets.

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