Saddler Abdullah Usta
We are passing through authentic mosques remained from Aydınids (or Aydınid dynasty) in Tire district of İzmir. We are looking over stone houses while we are breathing smell of saddle inside the historical bazaar. We visit Abdullah Usta whose shop is placed on the left side when moving to Paşa Mosque. He started his own craft, which was inherited from his father, in 1962. We are speaking a 54-year saddler Usta.
When we ask “How is your business?”, he says “Ramadan…It is too hot and there is no customer. The villagers don’t come to the town.” Actually, he seems to be glad of his own situation. Even if he appears to be alive, he takes pleasure from resting for a while and chatting with us in these warm days. We are chatting for a while because I am native of Tire and has visited to Usta’s shop since my childhood. We mention my naughtiness and the friendship of Usta with the grandfathers.
Then he begins to talk about his saddles:
“In the past, I made two saddles in a day. We are unable to work anymore, I can do just one, but Thank God! There are our customers from three cities like Aydın, İzmir, Manisa. There is still the demand, but it has reduced, of course.”
It is said that the apprentice cannot be trained anymore. “Everyone attempts to receive an education and then they become unemployment, because they cannot find any job,” he says. “We learned this craft from our father, though. I don’t have a son, so I couldn’t train someone.”
Suddenly, the sounds of prayer calls are rising from Leysezade Mosque, the reminiscence of Mevlana Leysi Çelebi from 15th century. You can experience 1400s within the old bazaar in a while when you’re fascinated with the Ottoman architecture and engineering. Abdullah Usta generally perform Friday prayers in this mosque and he adds: “This mosque was built so skillfully that you cannot do it with today’s opportunities even if you want to do it again”.
Abdullah Usta uses felt, sack, rope, wood and ornament materials for his saddles. He remembers the durability of old structures while speaking of the bazaar. As you know, there is the time of settlement for stone just like the handicraft of Usta. Usta begins to speak about the situation of more than 20 historical mosques and tens of inns, hammams in Tire only half in jest: “The mayor is always digging and digging. He likes digging tools and treasury activities. It is said that there is gold under these lands. Recently, it was found on Ali Efe Inn, with a pouch.”