Just back from Istanbul where I managed, through a Turkish friend, to take some pictures of jewellery craftsmen working in a basement workroom in a courtyard in the Grand Bazaar.
This is not costume jewellery, they are working in precious metals and stones
The Grand Bazaar is huge and locked into a maze of streets full of wholesalers, beyond which is the traffic locked endless city and the waterways of Bosporus and The Golden Horn. It takes two hours during the morning commute for a car to cross one of the bridges over the Bosporus a distance of 1175 yards.
This is the archway into their workplace in Zincirti Han. You enter a little room where they have a glass counter where they produce trays to show you what they have for sale. No security, an open door, stairs go down to the cellar work room.
It’s a tiny space, four men work down here, each absorbed in his own task. There is that making calm even though they are so cramped. They have made themselves comfortable, you can see the Turkish coffee pan hanging by the cloths and the empty tea glass.
I am not sure health and safety would adore the rigged wiring, nor the fact that you can only stand in the centre, but everything is most conveniently to hand.
They work form nine till six, six days a week. I don’t know what they earn, it would have been too crass to ask. But to me they are four contented craftsmen working in the best materials, peacefully among other men of equal skill.
This is the cobbled courtyard outside. The film makers of the Bond movie From Russia With Love used it as the location for the KGB’s Istanbul Station.
Ali Baba and the three cats.
The name of the courtyard is the Zincirti Han, and it is marked above on the map of the Grand Bazaar.