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Photographer's Note

This is from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey with a recorded history since at least the 4th century BC.

Here is a larger version.

Since 1984 the official name of the city and the province is Şanlıurfa, meaning approximately "Glorious Urfa". The city was renamed by the Turkish parliament in recognition of the local resistance to the French occupying forces during the Turkish war of independence 1919–23.

When I took this photo in July 1971 it was still just Urfa.

I know it's a rather terrible scan, but the original colour version was even worse. I could not get the colours acceptable, and the noise was even more disturbing than here. So please take it for what it is: an old photo taken with a very simple camera.

In my diary for that day that I had described taking this photo. It's from a wall of the ancient castle on a hill above the city. The history of the castle goes back at least 2000 years, but what remains today is largely from the 9th century AD. When I saw these men watching the city in the mild afternoon light, I asked them for permission to include them in a photo. I noted in the diary that I managed to convince them to keep on looking at the city, not into my camera, which had been their first reaction.

I thought I made a good composition and I had great hopes for this photo.

I was such a young and inexperienced photographer!

Today I would have sneaked a photo without anyone noticing it. And I would have used a better camera.

The diary helped me recall that I had a very nice day in Urfa, seeing places with possible, or mythical, connections with the Old Testament, and meeting lots of friendly and helpful people. I was also "picked up" by a rather sinister looking man who insisted on showing me the city, but he suddenly disappeared when we were approached by a policeman who asked me if I was all right. Would I have been robbed otherwise?

In the WS is a photo of equally low quality from one of the narrow alleys in the old part of Urfa. Both photos were scanned from Agfacolor CT18 slides.

By the way: In 1971 Urfa had about 100 000 inhabitants, today the population of Şanlıurfa is close to six times higher.

There have been two similar changes of city names in Turkey, and for the same reason of bravery during the war of independence, when parts of Turkey were occupied by foreign forces after the break-up of the Ottoman Empire in WW1.

Already in the 1920's the city of Antep was renamed Gaziantep (approximately Veteran Antep). In 1973 Maraş became Kahramanmaraş (Heroic Maraş).

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9993 W: 519 N: 19263] (85015)
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