Karagöz Shadow Play

Karagöz shadow play, has an important place in Turkish cultural life. According to the research, Karagöz shadow play is originated in Bursa. Also both Karagöz and Hacivat - the protagonists - are from Bursa, and the creator Şeyh Küşteri is also from Bursa. For this reasons, international shadow play festivals are held in Bursa. But it can be assumed that Karagöz shadow play, matured under the influence of many cultures and reached a synthesis in the Ottoman lands.

It is Sheikh Küşteri who invented the game. Some stories say that Karagöz and Hacivat were two persons that lived in Bursa. The most known story is is that Hacivat and Karagöz were workers in the construction of a mosque in Bursa during the time of Sultan Orhan or Sultan Bayezid the First. After the death of Karagöz and Hacivat, Sheikh Küşteri made leather puppets of Karagöz and Hacivat, set up a curtain, and made a show repeating their jokes and consoling the sultan. Nowadays, the Karagöz shadow play is played behind a white curtain stretched into a frame. Figures are shown it in front of a light source that casts a shadow on the screen.

This light source, which used to be a torch candle, has now been replaced by electric bulbs. Karagöz shadow play that was born centuries ago in Bursa is inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.