“Drama Köprüsü" (English "The Bridge of Drama") is a popular Turkish türkü (folk song) and a legend on which the song is based.
The song refers to the Drama Bridge. The town of Drama, which was then a part of the Ottoman Empire, is now in the East Macedonia and Thrace region of Greece. What is called a bridge in the song is actually an aqueduct between the villages of Nikiforos (Turkish: Nusratlı) and Karyafiton (Turkish: Kozluköy). When viewed from the valley the aqueduct looks like a bridge.
On 17 April 2010 Nikos Latsistalis, a member of a refugee family from Adapazarı as well as the Chairman of Drama Asia Minor Refugees Association and a Turkish refugee from Drama to Bursa collaborated to pinpoint the location of the “bridge”. The families of both men had been effected by the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey of the 1920s, when Turks from Greece had been sent to Turkey and Greeks from Turkey were sent to Greece.
The song is based on the legend of Debreli Hasan (Hasan from Debre), who lived at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. He was a soldier who killed his superior after a quarrel and was jailed in Drama. He escaped from the prison to hide in the mountains where he lived as a bandit. He was more or less like Robin Hood of English folklore. He robbed the rich and supported the poor. Before becoming a bandit he had been engaged to be married. Judging that life in the mountains would be too difficult for his fiancé, he broke his engagement, but continued to send her presents even when she married another man. According to the legend, he was later pardoned by the sultan.
The anonymous song emerged in the early years of the 20th century with the title “Drama Köprüsü”. Like many folk songs of the time, several versions exist. The most common first and the last couplets are:
Drama köprüsü bre Hasan dardır geçilmez
Soğuktur suları Hasan bir tas içilmez
At martini Debreli Hasan dağlar inlesin
Drama mahpusunda bre Hasan dostlar dinlesin
Drama bridge is narrow O Hasan, it can’t be crossed,
Its water is so cold Hasan that it can’t be drunk.
Shoot your rifle Debreli Hasan, let the mountains groan,
Let the friends in Drama prison listen (to the sound).
The first couplet is a further proof that the bridge is actually an aqueduct. In the last couplet, the word martini refers to a Peabody-Martini-Henry rifle. In some versions of the last couplet, the word Karakedi, code name of Hasan’s friend, replaces the word dostlar (friends).
Photo of a married woman wearing the costume of Gidas, Imathia, Macedonia
Early 20th century
©Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation, Nafplion, Greece
Nikola Tesla wearing Serbian national costume.
Be still, my heart.
The gusle (Albanian: lahuta, Croatian: gusle, Serbian: гусле, pronounced [ɡûsle]) is a primitive single-stringed musical instrument (and musical style) traditionally used in the Dinarides region of the Balkans (via wikipedia)
A guslar is a person who plays the instrument above. It’s an instrument not specific to just one country in the Balkans, but many in fact. I’m not sure where the picture above is taken, but somewhere in the Balkans.
Folk costumes in Banat, around 1860s
Detail of Embroidery of Macedonian folk costume
Ladies with hairs on their face are ugly and disgusting. The only certain and efficient remedy, which does not cause pain and which has been found to be chemically unharmful, permanently removes hairs from the face, root included. Price: 7 kroner.
advertisement from Zagreb, Croatia, 1906.
Spring and its glorious produce. Here is the Passover table, Sephardic style, of the gracious family that invited me to join them on the first night of Pesah.
And the line-up is:
1) Almodrote de berendjena (Eggplant tart)
2) Almodrote de espinaca (spinach tart)
Turkish troops on the Danube Front, 1854. Taken by Carol Szathmari.
The opening stages of the Crimean War occurred in the Danube area as the Russians moved into the Turkish sphere in 1853. Although theoretically the superior force, the Russian advance was slow going, and a year later, against stubborn Turkish resistance and the coming forces of the Western allies, the Russians were forced to raise the siege of Silistra, their furthest meaningful advance, and begin their retreat.
Spartan soldiers guarding a mountain pass on the Grecian border during the Greco-Turkish War, 1897.