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Polish Traces in Turkey - Adam Mickiewicz Museum in Istanbul

November in Poland is the month of two interesting holidays: All Saints' Day, celebrated on the 1st of November and Independence Day, celebrated on the 11th of November. For this reason, and looking for Polish traces, Tortoise Language Services went to Istanbul. It is here, in Turkey, that Poles who fled the country after partitions were seeking for a shelter. After Paris, Istanbul became one of the main places of refugee for Polish émigrés during the Great Emigration in the 19th century.

The life of Poles concentrated along the Grande rue de Pera, in the European part of the city, inhabited by Levantines, a term referred mainly to the non-Muslim residents, traditionally Europeans, though, the term itself changed its meaning with time. There, Poles owned their cafés, shops, and they would meet to organize Polish legions. Now this street is one of Istanbul's busiest streets full of fancy shops.

Near Pera, in the district, now infamous, called Tarlabaşı, there is the Adam Mickiewicz Museum, where the Polish great poet lived and died. The house itself is a replica because the original house got destroyed at some point in time. In the museum, you can admire, among other things, the poet's temporary burial, a symbolic grave located in the place where the poet's body once lay for a short time.

On the same side of the city, there is also the Pangalti Catholic cemetery, where the Levantines, including Poles, were buried. A participant in the Hungarian campaign of 1848-1849, second lieutenant Jan Dewocki, was buried there among others.

And here is my photo report from this fascinating journey.



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