Tag Archives: Istanbul

Circumcision Parties Are A Rite Of Passage In Turkey

Photographer Bradley Secker journeys to Istanbul to document the traditional ceremonies surrounding sünnet, or male circumcision.

On a Sunday morning at the Sünnet Sarayi (Circumcision Palace) in Istanbul, groups of 7- and 8-year-old boys are paraded around in glitzy costumes reminiscent of Ottoman sultans. Excited and nervous, they are preparing for their circumcision. The ritual is considered the first step in the passage from boyhood to manhood, and on this day each boy is a little sultan in the eyes of his admiring family.

The Sünnet Sarayi was established in 1976 by Kemal Özkan, one of Turkey’s most adored traditional figures. Özkan claims to have circumcised more than 125,000 children during his lifetime, more than half of which he did without charge for local councils and municipalities throughout Turkey.

Yahya Kemal Ãœnal after his circumcision in Sariyer, a town on the Bosphorus coastline north of Istanbul. Bradley Secker

Before the knife cuts, the children dance for their families, get entertained by a clown, and are given a ride on a football-shaped train. Parents sit at large tables around the room and cheer for their kids.

When the time comes to perform the operation, the mini sultans are seated in a large red velvet throne opposite of the late Mr. Özkan’s son and his assistant. Families gather around, looking through excited and nervous eyes. While the ceremony takes place, a religious leader recites verses from the Qur’an to add the religious element to the celebration. After the procedure, which lasts a few seconds, the boys are catapulted onto the dance floor below to celebrate with their parents.

The finer details are performed shortly afterward in a medical facility backstage, where the boys are checked over by a doctor. During the checkup they are given an iPad to entertain them. Once the checkup is finished, the surreal clash of past and present traditions is over.

Parents of participating children and entertainers help the boys to feel relaxed and excited before the circumcision takes place. The Circumcision Palace in Istanbul claims to have performed more than 100,000 operations. Bradley Secker

Bradley Secker


Erken (left) and Yigit Huseyin (right) after their traditional circumcision in Sariyer, a town on the Bosphorus coastline north of Istanbul. The boys dress in costumes of Ottoman sultans on the day when they are seen as stepping into manhood.

Families of the young participant eagerly watch the circumcision taking place in Kemal Özkan’s Sünnet Sarayi in Istanbul. Bradley Secker

Bradley Secker


Mehmet Karakum after his traditional circumcision in Sariyer. Bradley Secker

Families of the young participant eagerly watch the circumcision taking place. Bradley Secker

Bradley Secker


Yekta Selami Ãœnal (left) and Can Umut (right) after their circumcisions.

A mufti recites a religious verse while the boys, dressed as Ottoman Sultans, take a break to let the local anesthetic take effect at the Circumcision Palace in Istanbul. Bradley Secker

Bradley Secker


Berat Ayan after his traditional circumcision in Sariyer. Bradley Secker

During the religious element of the sünnet ceremony the female guests cover their heads. Bradley Secker

Bradley Secker


Eren Alp (left) and Umut (right) after their traditional circumcisions.

After having the quick operation the participant children dance with their relatives in celebration of moving into manhood. Bradley Secker

Bradley Secker


Baris Can Giçi (left) and Gencay (right) after their traditional circumcisions.

Arda (left) and Yizit (right) after their traditional circumcision. Bradley Secker

Bradley Secker


A patient uses an iPad as a distraction while he is being checked over by Dr. Levent Ozken before leaving the Circumcision Palace for his coming of age sünnet day. Bradley Secker

Ali Girgin after his traditional circumcision. Bradley Secker

Bradley Secker is a photographer based in Istanbul. To view more of his work, check out his website at http://www.bradleysecker.com/.

The Optical Illusion Street Art That Just Appeared In Istanbul Is Beautiful.

Spanish street artist Pejac recently visited Istanbul and, of course, left behind some new pieces in the Uskudar district on the Asian side of the city. Collectively, the three pieces are called “Lock, Poster and Shutters.”


The three new pieces were placed closely together. They are each surreal interpretations of windows. Their realistic style makes them appear, at first glance, to actually be features of the wall they’re painted on.

Pejac uses acrylic paint, pencil and sandpaper to create the designs. He uses colors similar to their surroundings for a natural, unassuming look. The illusion is all in the technique, which is known as trompe l’oeil. The term is French for “deceive the eye.”


The creation of Poster

The pieces each depict windows, or at least some version of them. Pejac explains that he chose windows as his subject to explore the concepts of the “perception and illusion of freedom.” He chose to use the trompe l’oeil technique specifically for this project. He described it as a “trap” and said, in a press release, “in the case of these three windows the trap works in both directions: from outside to inside and from inside to outside.”


Via Colossal|Complex

Pejac has been making a name for himself in the street art world, and if you’re interested in his work, you can follow him on Instagram and Facebook.