Thursday, October 30, 2008
Turkish Republic Day
Two days ago was the 29th of October, which is Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayrami) here in Turkey. It is the day that the Turkish constitution was amended (in 1923) an act that abolished the Ottoman Empire and brought the Turkish Republic into existence. So, basically, it's the Turkish 4th of July.
As on the 4th in America, there was a fireworks display here in Istanbul. They were shot from the Bosphorus bridge, between Europe and Asia. Several of us living at the Center met up on the roof terrace to watch the show, but discovered when it started that a building next to ours was just tall enough to block our view. So, we climbed a spiral staircase that goes up off the roof (to nowhere, actually) and watched from there. It was a bit of a precarious perch, which is why my pictures and video of the fireworks are shaky -- I had to hold the camera with one hand while holding on to the pole in the middle of the staircase for balance.
The show was incredible. The fireworks were continuous and huge. One of the Turkish Fellows said he had read that the show was put on by the same company that did the fireworks for the opening of the Sydney Olympics, and that they cost 5 million Lira! There was a lot of red (the color of the Turkish flag of course), and so much smoke was generated by the constant explosions that at some points we couldn't even see the fireworks anymore. It was almost like the finale of most U.S. Fourth of July fireworks shows, but it went on for 15 solid minutes. I have attached a video here, under the pictures, which is something I have never tried before. It looks like a regular picture except it has a bar at the bottom with a play button. This was not the most impressive part of the show, but it was the only one of the three videos I took that was not too large to attach. To play it, you should just have to click the forward arrow at the bottom left of the square. Please let me know if you can or can't see it!: