The beautiful people of Old Istanbul and their professions

Rita Ender has collected her interviews she held with non-Muslim (mostly) profession experts in Istanbul over the past two years and published in Agos newspaper, into a book. The title of the book is “More Power to Your Elbow: Professions and Places.
The beautiful people of Old Istanbul and their professions
Jirayir Özgür ve Ender


Hat seller Katia Kiraci, tuxedo seller Levon Kordonciyan, gramophone repairman Mehmet usta, hammersmith Gabi Usta, tap house owner Yorgo Okumus were among the people Ender interviewed. With these interviews, Rita Ender not only brings the almost extinct professions to light, but also reveals Istanbul’s changing face.


Even though the title is Professions and Places, Ender, in her book writes about the old Istanbul from Kadikoy to Beyoglu, from Galata to Grand Bazaar, from Moda to Vefa. Each interview opens up to a new world. Vicinage, humanity, love of profession, respect to masters, loyalty, great effort, honestly earned money, productivity, finesse and taste are the indispensable qualities of those people’s life philosophy. Since some of the professions have no successors, their lifecycle is bound by their present master’s life. Also, some of the places mentioned in the book are either doomed to change their identity or totally disappear due to urban transformation.


The book that starts with the owner of Kelebek Corset Store Ilya Avramoglu, continues with funeral musician Marko Palaci, tuxedo seller Levon Kordonciyan, tap house owner Yorgu Okumus, hammersmith Gabi Usta, hat seller Katia Kiraci, umbrella seller Olga Okay and many more craftsmen and artisans and ends with sexton Yani Hutu. The book sheds light on Istanbul’s cultural structure and history.  


The book published by Iletisim Publications features Reysi Kamhi’s paintings and Berge Arabian’s photos.


The book in which the author Rita Ender portrays vivacious characters and highlights important issues is a significant contribution to Istanbul’s social history.



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