An old village bakery in Bogazköy
Or: Taking the old road to Nicosia
When years ago I first came over the mountain pass coming from Girne and looked down onto the Mesaoria, or Mesarya, it was in May when the first barley of the year stood, white, a yellowish white in the mystic plain. This year in 2009 we are late, the tender spring green came late because the rain came late; the young trees planted along the highway are dead, thousands of them. It hurts.
Once a month I turn off at Bogazköy to get our fresh supply of village bread. You take the old road to Nicosia and after about 500 m on the left there is a small hut with lots of fire wood next to it. I have come here for many years and at whatever time of the day, the bread is warm and right out of the oven. In the early mornings the baker is preparing the dough and filling it into the bread boards and when they have doubled in size, he places them in the big red glowing mouth of the oven. He also makes small sesame breads, or filled with hellim or olives; I usually take three or four big loaves with a brown crust and since I know myself only too well I take some small sesame breads as well because otherwise I would break off chunks of the temptingly smelling big loaves. They also sell home made hellim, honey and fresh eggs. Grandma is no longer there, I have not asked yet whether she is still alive.
Enjoying bites of the fresh bread, I usually continue the road down to Gönyeli. It is just a week ago, one afternoon, that I took this road again, and there was spring all over, dark purple and grey clouds hanging over the wavy plains which glowed in a greenish yellow between the rocky ribs. Mustard flowers. I had to stop and take some pictures. Gönyeli today is a sort of suburb of Nicosia, but has always been a proud independent Turkish village. There is my hairdresser, right in the middle of the village, next to the mosque, Sevil Kuaför, a ladies’ hairdresser, a very good one. In my case she cuts my hair with a knife which is very seldom. We talk about small things and so I learnt that she is a true Gönyelian. She has her picture as a bride published in the new book by Ahmet Ömeraga “Costume Album 1900-1980”. It is in Turkish and English and although the English makes one smile, it is a good source of information. It is said that the Gönyelians are small people that is because for years they have intermarried. Today they mix more easily because of that. It is a funny village, proud and full of stories. Mustafa Gökceoglu, the writer and researcher, is one who told me many of them. He is a true Gönyelian too, he is a great man with short legs. My interview with him will be in the book to come “Art and Creativity – Volume II” which will be finished by the end of 2009.
Copyright 2009 Heidi Trautmann