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Istanbul (2)

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The Source:

Henry Carnoy and Jean Nicolaides:
"Folklore de Constantinople - Légendes et Traditions Locales"
in: "Collection Internationale de la Tradition" vol.XII-XIII
Emile Lechevalier, Paris, 1894

The Case:

So far we did not find an awful lot of Turkish cases. So it was a nice surprise to find this vampire legend from Constantinople.

"A l'endroit dit Zeyreck-Pachi, dans une église consacrée au nom de Saint-Jean, il y avait une grande grotte d'ou chaque année, pendant les rigeurs de l'hiver il sortaient des vampires, ou femmes magiciennes, qui montaient dans des voitures et se promenaient par la ville jusqu'au point du jour. Ces vampires disparaissaient au point du jour et rentraient dans la grotte."

Which more or less amounts to the following:

At the place called Zeyreck-Pachi, in a church consecrated to Saint John, there was (or used to be) a big cave. Every year, during the hard times of the winter, vampires or sorceresses came out of the cave, who climbed into vehicles and went around the town until daybreak. At that time they disappeared and went back into the cave."

The Date:

No date has been given except the date this story was published: 1894. The tale could be many Centuries old, but for the moment I think it is best that we file it as "Before 1894".

The Place:

Zeyrek is a neighbourhood on the European side of what used to be Constantinople and now is Istanbul. You should have no trouble finding it on a map.

Possible Follow-Up:

Zeyrek Mosque (Molla Zeyrek Camii) is made up by two former Eastern Orthodox churches and a chapel, dedicated to Christ Pantokrator, and was converted into a mosque sometime during the 15th Century. I have no idea if this is our church. Although it seems very likely that if the church still exists it has been turned into a mosque. I guess the best we can do is look for a church or mosque in the Zeyrek area that has or had a cave inside. I have downloaded an awful lot of material about Constantinople. Maybe I will find something about our vampire church. In the meantime you could check out the book by Henry Carnoy and Jean Nicolaides. And see what else you can find.

© 2015 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed January 2015

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