Thursday, October 15, 2009

energetic istanbul



despite having only a little bit of time to wander and have a look around istanbul, i was overwhelmed by a sense that it had changed dramatically in the two years since i'd been here. there's a feeling in the air that turkey is a speeding, unstoppable train. i don't feel even a whiff of economic crisis in the air here.

in the cafés, which are full, everyone is sitting around with their trendy mini net PCs on the free wireless, sipping cups of sweet tea or strong coffee. there are very few women wearing muslim head scarves and those who are seem to be making a fashion statement rather than a religious one. although the pulse is undeniably exotic and byzantine, istanbul (or at least taxsim) feels decidedly modern and progressive and despite the occasional wail of the calls to prayer from the many mosques tucked here and there, it feels very secular.

the sounds and the pulse of the café-lined side streets are hard to convey in words. music pouring forth, the sound of voices, the sweet scent of the sheesha pipes, so many impressions hitting you at once, it can be almost overwhelming.

i have this feeling that turkey's desire to join the european union has given it an energy that feels unstoppable and dynamic. it feels to me like it would recharge the EU and give it a momentum that it seems to lack.

it's interesting how the ancient and the modern exist here side by side, giving a sort of dynamic tension that feels electric, vibrant and alive. even if you've only got a few hours, istanbul is worth the trip.

19 comments:

Georgie K. Buttons said...

Someday I want to go there.

Protege said...

Lovely shot of the street with the street car. We have similar street cars in Prague.;)

trinsch said...

it's a while since i was in istanbul, but when i was, i was totally smitten by that mix of western modern world and , the exotic eastern "old" world. such a cultural mix.

so fitting that the bosporus going through the city is the division between europe and asia, because not only geographically, but also culturally, istanbul really is in both world.

Polly said...

I've never been and I always wanted to go. Great photo.

dutchbaby said...

Wonderful post and photo. Istanbul is on my ever-growing list.

berfin said...

No way !!.... Are you here in my city now???
You have to call me and pop in for some tea and meet chocolate and thomas in person.. I am serious.
If you can't I would love to meet somewhere in Taksim with you.5324740431

urbaNiche said...

i so so want to go now!
i love the energy and the vibrance, i can almost feel it...and i love the pic...theres something so organic about cities hat grow over time one layer after another...and you can see that in the pic above...

i think i need to plan a vacation NOW!

Jelica said...

i love taxim square! it's one of the most vibrant parts of istanbul, where the modern and the old visibly cross paths. enjoy :)))

CatLadyLarew said...

I'm oh, so jealous of those of you living in Europe... ah, to be able to live in such lovely surroundings and be able to pop over to Istanbul would be lovely.

Christina said...

Amazing photo!

Abby said...

take LOTS of pictures! i wish i could travel as much as you do :(

Char said...

I can feel the buzz just looking at that shot

M said...

Julochka - I am so thankful to you for this post - you have conjured up my memories of the place. Mmmmm.... thanks.

spudballoo said...

Fantastic shot, I love that!!! x

The Redhead Riter said...

WOW! What a FANTASTIC picture! I love all the sewing machines on the pictures. Tooooooo cooooool! It is so great how you were ON the tracks. Sounds like so much fun! You lucky girl!

Just Jules said...

everyone come and play along on my blog today (I soooo feel like junk mail right now) but I am lonely on my blog lately ....sigh :)

one planet said...

enjoy your time my daughter spent 3 weeks in summer in istanbul

travelinistanbul said...

Hi!
Great article, I know very well what you're talking about... the sounds, the scents and the atmosphere of Istanbul are hard to convey in words, you're right. But with your blog you're doing a great work and it quite seem to be there!
Keep on writing!

kristina k said...

such a wonderful, atmospheric description of that city. you made me very curious now. i might have to go soon...