If you live in or around Fethiye you can’t help but notice the nightly big bang that marks the end of that day’s Ramazan fast. But what is it that makes the big bang and who’s responsible?

If you live in or around Fethiye you can’t help but notice that the other noise factor during Ramazan (that is other than the dreaded drummers) is the nightly big bang that marks the end of that day’s fast. 

It happens in small towns all over Turkey and is called the ‘top’ in Turkish which means ‘cannon’.  Indeed, in some places an actual gun is still fired, though these days it doesn’t include an actual cannon ball.

In fact a debate over whether or not the Fethiye ‘top’ is a cannon or some form of firework originally sparked off this article. 

Cannon or Firework?

We were convinced a gun was being fired up by the Castle – but others thought it was as a firework.  So we went off to investigate.

And the firework proved to be correct but what a firework! 

Every evening three members of Fethiye Belediye’s Zabita team drive up to an area of waste ground just beyond the Kale Park Restaurant. 

Until a couple of years ago they had a fixed metal tube at the other side of the Castle from which they fired their ‘bomb’, but that proved to be too close to residents of Fethiye old town, who complained the noise upset babies and dogs. 

So now they have moved up the road to the site beyond the restaurant.

They set up a thick cardboard tube as a temporary firing vehicle – by wedging it vertical with a pile of rocks they have assembled for the purpose – insert the ‘bomb’ into the tube and leave the fuse hanging over the side.

One of the team has been firing the ‘top’ for nine years and told us that there are actually three ‘tops’ fired each evening: the one we were visiting up by the Castle; one in Patlangıc and a third in Catalarık. 

So the whole of Fethiye and several surrounding villages can hear the ‘top’ or bang to us.

Once the equipment was deemed satisfactorily set up, they grabbed bottles of water from their vehicle, and settled down to wait for the call to prayer from down below in Fethiye, which is their cue to fire the ‘top’. 

They are also fasting and, having signalled the end of the fast to all and sundry, they drink water but have to drive all the way home before they can also eat.

Up, Up and Away

As soon as the first ‘Allaabu Akbar’ drifted up from Fethiye, the fuse was lit and the men from the Zabita sprinted away to safety – we had already been moved to a point they deemed safe. 

The bomb flew up from the tube and exploded over our heads producing the daily ‘bang’ and puff of smoke with which everyone here is so familiar.

With their job done for another day the Zabita men drank water and headed for their truck to drive home and eat their meal.

Other fireworks are also released in other neighbourhoods in Fethiye too. Keep an eye our for the flash and bang in the sky just around sunset.

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