Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On the Streets of Istanbul:

Walking through the streets of Istanbul: a city whose streets were not necessarily enticing, nor inviting, nor overtly dangerous, either. Seeping in ample amounts of history, its buildings look as if their once grand days are nothing beyond a distant memory; painted façades seemed to be faded, with those same buildings' wooden trim also in need of repainting. That is, those buildings with wooden trim; skyscrapers of glass and steel directly abut houses with tin roofs; transparent meets the opaque in Istanbul. Mosques dot the city's skyline, in place of more familiar types of towers–such as the church steeples of Amsterdam–to my eyes. Old meets new and young meets old in Istanbul; the secular confronts the religious and the religious defends the secular. Advertising shouts to those on the streets below, offering up an ideal image of beauty that, in some instances, seems to escape its conservative context. How to define beauty, within this sprawling metropolis, at the crossroads of the world's cultures? Does Istanbul look West, or East–and with which is the city most comfortable? I'm not sure that the city even knows itself; which is, of course, half the fun of visiting Turkey.