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Wittman, William: Travels in Turkey, Asia Minor, Syria and across the desert into Egypt, during the years 1799, 1800 and 1801. London, Richard Phillips, 1803.


Easter amusements at the cemeterey of Pera


Constantinople, 1799

On the 21st the weather was oppressively warm. I walked to the cemetery withoutside of Pera, and was there witness to a very pleasing and novel scene. It being the Easter of the Greeks, amusements of every description were exhibited; and the colours and variety of the costumes displayed by the immense crouds of persons collected together, rendered the spectacle highly interesting. There were wrestling matches, stalls filled with sweetmeats and sherbet, and groups of persons seated on the grass, playing at different games of chance, while others were engaged in dancing in rings, to the music of an instrument not unlike our bagpipe. This scene reminded me of a country wake in England, to which it would have borne a still stronger resemblance, if a considerable number of rying pans had not given it somewhat the odour of our Bartholomew fair. They were employed, not for frying sausages, but liver, lights, &c.


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