by my friend in love with Istanbul
“If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.” Alphonse de Lamartine, French poet and politician
I could not find a better introduction for sharing my impressions on Istanbul. For me, Istanbul has a very special meaning and I was in love with it before getting there. All the pictures I have seen and every article I have read about it brought me closer.
A few years ago I was imagining Istanbul a colorful mixture of West and Orient, being skeptical on the order of things and modernity. Then, a change happened in my mind when everybody who got there before me told me that it is a very beautiful place with an infuse of modernity.
I must honestly admit that when I got off the bus from the airport in the middle of Taksim Square I felt as if somebody had just dropped me in the middle of another world. I was confused of the world that opened in front of me. Where was the modern and chic Istanbul I was imagining? And all those people…where were they coming from?
My journey in discovering Istanbul started with a coffee on a terrace to allow myself to melt into the new world, because Istanbul is indeed different and a whole new world in itself. But this city revealed itself in front of me beautifully the next days and simply got me head over heels with it. There is nothing compared to seeing the impressive mosques and thinking how they stand there tall and magnificent for centuries. I love mosques…I am overwhelmed by how their simplicity and grandeur are combined into something that brings me peace.
Losing yourself on the streets of this old city is an adventure that leads you to discover a far far-away world, full of history and enriches you with a mystical feeling. At one moment you are lost on a street walled by old and abandoned houses, just to discover how Galata Tower is revealing in front of your eyes at the next corner, as if it were the most natural thing that could happen. Next you find yourself again in a modern world that only gets you to see from the top of a narrow street how Bosphorus is peacefully following its normal course. Colorful bazaars, fish fried on a boat, noise and crowded places, everything is perfectly mixed in this old city that feels so young and full of life that instantly energizes you.
I am sure that living there may get one longing for a peaceful afternoon. And surprisingly, I found this feeling one day on the shore of the Bosphorus, when the time stopped for a moment just to listen the call to prayer, to admire the clean and dark blue waters and the seagulls flying over.
Istanbul is a very romantic place. The sunset on Bosphorus and the purple-orange light on the silhouette of the Süleymaniye Mosque sketch a fairytale view that simply seduces anyone. I have left places unseen just to have an additional reason of returning there, as if I really needed another reason to justify my visit to Istanbul other than love…
Next time I want to discover for sure what Istanbul has to offer to the people who live there and how this city is modern and traditional at the same time, because “Istanbul harika” (Istanbul is fabulous).