Turkish Bazaar - Expo Vienna 1873

Turkish Bazaar at the Exhibition Expo Vienna 1873

Between the oriental circle and the Turkish café rises a low building painted in garish colours, under whose arcades a strange animation and movement unfolds.

The façade of the building bears the inscription Turkish Bazaar and Turkish Tobacco. The possible and the impossible are sold there: Turkish carpets, Persian shawls, scarves, daggers, rosewood cassettes, flaming torches, rose oil, pipe stems, Kabyle rifles with disproportionately long chiselled stems, and gold embroidered slippers; in a word, the East has gathered all its treasures into a space of a few metres, to offer them to the prosaic West, which pays for them in contemptible paper.

But the mos emim, with their fez and turban, no longer have the fatal laziness that distinguishes them from other peoples. If, in Istanbul, a visitor enters a bazaar, he almost always finds the merchant seated on a cushion, smoking his chibouk, which occupies only one of his hands, the other grasping a long stick which enables him to reach the object desired by the purchaser, but, for all the world, he would not get up to take down the goods. In Vienna, the Turk is bustling within his four walls; he never tires of boasting about the good quality of his goods, in French or Italian jargon.

In the tobacco shop, it is only the fez that indicates the nationality of the salesman, for he speaks very correct German and actively sells his small two-batch packets allowed by the state.
At the back of the shop are a few real Turks, busy cutting tobacco; the Turkish shop is not confined to the bazaar alone; in the Oriental quarter one meets at every step poor street vendors who display their exotic crosses, crescents, rosewood and mother-of-pearl bracelets, placed on the ground, and these people do very good business, for there are few visitors who do not wish to bring back from the Exhibition an Oriental souvenir.

©L’Exposition Universelle de Vienne 1873