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Golden Horn

Photographing Galata from Eminonu

Istanbul (Turkey). This is one of my favorite places in Istanbul, and I could stay here for many hours watching and photographing the city around me. This photo has been taken at Eminonu, just at the end of the Galata Bridge (or at the beginning, approaching it from the old city of Sultanahmet) and where – in a ray of few meters – there are so many things to see and to do!

Take a map, pin this place (here you are the exact coordinates: 41°01’05.6″N 28°58’15.7″E) and follow my virtual tour: at south-east, there’s the “Yeni Cami” (or New Mosque, definitely one of my favorite one); proceeding clockwise, there’s the “Misir Carsi” (literally, the translation is “Egyptian Market”, but it’s mostly known as “Spice Market” – although spices are not so good anymore in my opinion); just on the top of the hill, it’s possible to admire the stunning Suleymaniye Camii (Mosque of Suleymaniye) dominating large part of the city; continuing to move, at my left there’s the most popular (and commercial, though) place in town to have a typical “balik ekmek” (in English, fish burger); few meters after, there’s another jewel, the Rustem Pasha Mosque; and – finally, in front of my eyes – there’s this nice view of the Golden Horn (Haliç) and Galata, with its unmistakable tower.

And I could not find a better moment to capture this image: it was at the beginning of the year (probably the 1st or the 2nd of January 2016), it was cold, snowy and cloudy. Being at mid-afternoon of a day without the sun, there were very few colors: but some rays of light – the last ones of the day – suddenly illuminated the district of Galata, its tower, its roofs covered with snow, and made more “gentle” the contrast between the old traditional houses against the modern buildings. All around my viewfinder, seagulls were flying begging fishermen on the bridge for some fresh fish.

These are the moments that confirm – as if it were necessary – my deep love for Istanbul.

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Landscape from the Golden Horn (Haliç) Metro Station in Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkey). Although its position – which is not very efficient, being in the middle of the bridge crossing the Golden Horn – the Haliç Metro Station is an amazing observatory for capturing great photos of the Sultanahmet skyline.

The bridge crosses the Haliç fiord between the Galata Bridge and the Ataturk Bridge, just in correspondence of the Suleymaniye Mosque (here in the background). The metro line is the one going between Yenikapi and Taksim (proceeding to Levent and Haciosman).

My favorite moment of course is at sunset, when the sun goes down toward Eyup and the beginning of the Golden Horn: the water surface looks like covered with a layer of gold, and the Sulymaniye Mosque gets colored first with orange tones, and then becomes pinkish.

When the Haliç Bridge was built, there was a tough debate among politics, experts and citizens, mainly because its shape (it is a cable-stayed bridge) and its dimensions were compromising the landscape of Sultanahmet historical area, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The risk was in fact the possible consequent cancellation from the UNESCO list, a big shame for such an important place. It was the typical and tough trade off for cities – like Istanbul – between the preservation of the cultural imprinting and the efficiency required by the urban development. As far as I know, the situation is now stable and – according to UNESCO website – Sultanahmet is not at risk of cancellation.

However, it must be said that in the last years, Istanbul improved significantly its public transportation networks. The city is huge, and it is not easy to move from a point to another given the traffic at every time of the day and the night. The metro is expanding its lines and stations, is clean and efficient. And most important, is safe.

So, for those who are going to visit Istanbul, I recommend to include a walk on this bridge in the “to-do” list, bringing a sturdy tripod to mount the camera after the sunset.

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Landscape of Istanbul from the Suleymaniye Mosque

Istanbul (Turkey). I’m a bit worried: maybe I’m sick?

Ok, let me serious, since my parents and relatives could read this sentence and get scared… I’m joking of course! And I’m perfectly healthy – I have some kilos to loose though, perhaps I spend too much time blogging my photos and I do not run enough. Anyway, the point is that out of 8 posts in January (including this one), 7 (some 90%) are about Istanbul! So, the conclusion is only one: I’m sick of Istanbul, meaning that I’m totally crazy for this city and I’m loosing control in photo-blogging about its places, landscapes and situations… This is my problem, and I do not want to find a cure 🙂

Probably the two snowfalls that hit the city this January are responsible for my situation, but I found that everything – including places where I have been several times before – when covered with snow was irresistibly beautiful!

This one posted here, for example. I have seen this landscape of Istanbul from Suleymaniye Mosque an uncountable number of times: I love these small domes of the former “preparatory school” (in Turkish, mülazim) gently degrading down toward the sea; and I could stay hours watching the Galata Tower dominating the Golden Horn (Haliç) and the Karakoy peninsula. But the scene is covered by the snow, it’s completely different – not to mention the fact that all around is silence (but – I’m sorry – photography cannot represent noises yet).

The weather forecasts bulletin says it’s going to snow again: I recommend all photographers to prepare their cameras and lenses, and to include the Suleymaniye Mosque in their photo-tour around Istanbul…

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