Mustafa Effendi

Mustafa Effendi was born near Brusa

Mustafa Effendi was born near Brusa in Asia Minor, but for forty-two years he has held the office of chief muezzin at the Mosaic Mosque, on which all his thoughts seem centered. He speaks English a little, and has an almost inordinate sense of humor. As he pointed out the mosaics to me with his wrinkled hand he abounded in comment, and more than once his thin voice was almost overwhelmed by ill- suppressed laughter. He seemed specially entertained as he drew my attention to two birds on the wall—“Monsieur Peacock and Madame Peahen”; and he was obliged to abandon all dignity and to laugh outright when we came to a company of saints and angels.

The most sacred mosque in Turkey lies outside of Stamboul, at Eyub, far up the Golden Horn and not very distant from the “sweet waters of Europe.” In it, on their accession, the sultans are solemnly girded with Osman’s sword instead of being crowned. Eyub is a place of tombs. Chief eunuchs and grand vizirs sleep near the sea in great mausoleums inclosed within gilded railings, and some of them surrounded by gardens; on the hillside above them thousands of the faithful rest under cypresses in graves marked by dusty headstones leaning awry.

The center or heart of Eyub

The center or heart of Eyub is a pleasant village, which gathers closely about the mosque, and is full of a quietly cheerful life. Just beyond the court of the mosque is a Turkish bath, where masseurs, with shaven heads and the usual tuft, lounge in the sunshine while waiting- for customers. Near by are many small shops and cafes. In one of the latter I ate an excellent meal of rice and fat mutton, cooked on a spit which revolved in the street. If you stray from the center of the village toward the outskirts you find yourself in a deserted rummage of tombs, of white columns, white cupolas, cloisters, rooms for theological students, mausoleums of white and pink marble. No footsteps resound on the pavement of the road, no voices are heard in the little gardens, no eyes look out through the railings. As I wandered through the sunshine to the small stone platform, where the Sultan descends from his horse when he comes to be girded with the sword, I saw no sign of life; and the only noise that I heard was the persistent tap of a hammer near the sea, where his Majesty is building an imperial mosque of white stone from Trebizond.

Advertisements