January 23, 2011

Istanbul residents keep watch on Beyazıt Tower for weather updates

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The first fire pump in Istanbul was built in the 18th century, but the most effective tool in the fight against the city’s devastating blazes was the Beyazıt Fire Tower, constructed in 1828. The tower is no longer used for fire watching, but residents can turn to it to learn the next day’s weather thanks to a forecast system using colored lights


Bringing back a system that was last employed during the 1960s and 1970s, residents of Istanbul can now look to the tower, which is located on Istanbul University’s campus in Fatih, to learn the next day’s weather: red, means snow; yellow means fog; blue means clear skies; and green means rain.

For the forecast, the first letter in the name of the color in Turkish corresponds to the fırst letter of the expected weather pattern; as such kırmızı (red) = kar (snow); sarı (yellow) = sis (fog); yeşil (green) = yağmur (rain); and mavi (blue) = an obscure Ottoman word meaning clear skies.

Beyazıt Fire Tower has a special place among the dozens of symbols that represent Istanbul; for centuries it served as an observation post for firefighters under the Ottomans and into the modern era. With the city’s growth and advancing technology, firefighter eventually left the tower, allowing it to serve its meteorological function, which continued until 1995. The tower was then restored starting in 1997.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Istanbul residents keep watch on Beyazıt Tower for weather updates

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