World Sign
Vol. 57: Suspended Overhanging Signs in Turkey

After completing my tour of Turkey last summer, I returned from Istanbul to Japan on August 15. Only two days later news came in of a mammoth earthquake which had hit Turkey. I was so surprised that I felt almost as if I had become embroiled in it myself.

Wherever I went in Turkey, I found the people kind and talkative. As I took a walk in the morning, on several occasions I was invited to join a group of people chatting away as they drank their Turkish tea. I wasn’t able to join in the conversation, but I was fully able to join the warm atmosphere.

I was surprised to see how many small overhanging signs there are in Turkish cities. They are not of the intricate type one sees in Europe: most are simple affairs consisting of no more than lettering on a plate. I discovered an interesting principle underlining how they were erected. In Japan the method involves use of a bracket to project the sign from the outer wall, and the sign is then fixed from the side. However, in Turkey the signs are entirely suspended from a protruding arm

This method is of course used also in Europe, where the signs incorporate vine scroll decorations. The use of brackets in Japan may well be a safety measure intended to provide protection against the threat of typhoons.

I took this photograph on the sidewalk in Chanakkale. The proprietor of the shop was scattering water at the time and he thought I was taking the photograph of him, which explains his smiling pose.

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