On request from my old friend Owl, I republish my old post.


Today is Russian Old New Year, and I send my best wishes to all readers.

This Christmas, I had an unexpected gift: some film makers from Argentina, working on a UNESCO-sponsored documentary A Loaf of Bread, discovered on the Internet two my photographs of traditional breadmaking in Cappodocia. See them (1, 2) in the context on David Pierce‘s website, and read David’s historic commentaries.

I also place the photographs directly into my post:

The photographs had been taken in the village of Ayvali, Cappodocia, Turkey, on 8 January 2006, a day after Russian Orthodox Christmas. Cappodocia was one of the sites of uninterrupted Orthodox Christian tradition, where monks and hermits lived since Early Christianity in dwellings carved in rocks, surrounded by a fantastic landscape which looked as a if it came from a Bysantine icon. The arc above the oven is the entrance to a Christian church, carved in the rocks centuries ago, but now desecrated and destroyed. The whole village was carved that way and had housed well-to-do Greek Christians, until they were all shipped to Greece during the population exchanges of the 1920s. Now the village is populated by Turks (descendants of refugees from Greece) — who offered me and my co-travellers an exceptional and warm hospitality.

But bread remains bread, and I agree with the filmakers and with UNESCO that bread is a poignant symbol of the very continuity of the humanity’s life. I am more than happy to allow my photographs beeing used in the film (moreover, I place them in the public domain). I will remember with warm gratitude the bread (astonishingly tasty!) which was offered to us as a gift by the breadmakers of Ayvali.

As far as my previos remark that the monks might feel that they lived inside of an icon, compare a photograph of one of the monks’ dwellings in Paşabağı, one of the valleys of Cappodocia,

with an icon Положение во гроб: