Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bicakci Petri | Murder Number 3

1874 Petri gunned down Kelopedi a ruffian in Galata at a sailors dive (meyhane/tavern)

The meyhane culture has been present in Istanbul since the latter half of the 15th century and, surviving through periods of Prohibition and gone through changes, still remains an important part of life in the city. It is said that Istanbul’s meyhanes of the late 15th century were widely known also outside the Ottoman Empire. According to Evliya Çelebi, an Ottoman a travel writer of the 17th century, there were over a thousand meyhanes in Istanbul and about 200 in the Galata area alone at the time of his travels. Other Istanbul areas where many meyhanes were found included Kumkapı, Unkapanı, Fener, Ortaköy, Kuruçeşme, Arnavutköy, Kuzguncuk, Üsküdar and Kadıköy, all of which were also neighbourhoods with large non-Muslim populations. As a general rule, in those days the owners of meyhanes were indeed non-Muslims, mainly Greeks and Armenians.

Originally the drink served in meyhanes was not rakı but wine, but later on the former started gaining popularity and in time replaced wine as the most popular meyhane drink. Rakı is distilled from different fruits in different areas, but the most commonly used one is grape.

No comments: