February 23, 2000
Karagoz and Hacivat aren't real people; not anymore, anyway. As you can see from the pictures, they are puppets. But these puppets are special: they are based on two men who lived a long time ago, in a city called Bursa. These men worked for the Sultan, who was the ruler of a great empire. The Sultan wanted to make Bursa, which was the empire's capitol city, as wonderful as he could. He hired Karagoz and Hacivat to help build a beautiful new mosque for his city.
Karagoz and Hacivat wanted to be good workers, but they just couldn't seem to keep out of trouble. They fought and joked around so much that the other workers would stop to watch them. Wouldn't you watch, too? A clumsy hunchback and his clever friend, bumbling everything and making jokes all the time. . .watching them sounds like a lot more fun than working!
Today, people in the city of Bursa can still laugh as Karagoz and Hacivat clown around, even though it's 600 years later! All they have to do is go to the shadow puppet theater, where they can watch a play that is based on stories and songs that have been passed down from generation to generation. Shadow puppet theater is a big tradition in Turkey, and it helps to keep the stories of people like Karagoz and Hacivat alive, so that people like us get to hear about them, too!
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