At the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkey). I loved this situation: I was taking some photos around the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Uskudar – a conservative district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. After his pray, I noticed this man lacing his shoes, when a cat came to him and get some caresses. Immediately, a cute smile “blossomed” on his face, and he remained several minutes to play with the animal (while behind him, other believers were praying out of the mosque).

There are many articles explaining the relationship of Istanbul with cats. And I’m talking about street cats, living on sidewalks or populating small courtyards. The first characteristic is – for sure – their conditions: they are loved by people, which cure and feed them as if they were the owners. The origin of this respect is most probably in a popular saying which, in Turkish, should be (if I remember well) “Bir kedi öldürenin günahının affolması için tüyleri sayısınca cami yaptırması gerekir” meaning something like “if you’ve killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God“: in fact, it seems that a cat saved the prophet Muhammad when was a baby, killing a poisonous snake that was entered into his cradle.

Even Hagia Sophia, one of the most important touristic attraction in the world, hosts a large group of cats: they are free to move in and out the prestigious building, and tourists frequently are much more interested in observing them, then in knowing the history of this church / mosque / museum.

I wish Istanbul could be an example for many other cities in the world: long life to cats!


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Couple At Suleymaniye Mosque

Istanbul (Turkey). In the past days, Istanbul has been interested by an exceptional wave of bad weather, with very severe snowfalls. I wasn’t there unfortunately – and it’s a pity because Istanbul under the snow is something of unique – but I remember when exactly one year ago I was walking around Suleymaniye Mosque, and I noticed this couple through a window. It was a very romantic scene, with snowflakes falling down and the man protecting his lady on their way to the mosque…

Istanbul. Nei giorni scorsi Istanbul è stata interessata da un’eccezionale ondata di maltempo, con forti nevicate. Non ero lì purtroppo, e mi dispiace erchè Istanbul sotto la neve è un qualcosa di unico; ma ricordo quando esattamente un anno fa stavo camminando attorno alla Moschea di Solimano e ho notato questa coppia attraverso la finestra. Era una scena molto romantica, con i fiocchi di neve che cadevano e con lui che proteggeva la sua signora mentre si dirigevano verso la moschea…


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Ticket Window of Haydarpasa

Istanbul (Turkey). Haydarpasa Gar was the major train station in Istanbul and was serving the Istanbul – Baghdad and Istanbul – Medina lines, as well as the Istanbul – Ankara one. It was built in 1909, and it became one of the busiest rail terminal in the entire Asia. Today, Haydarpasa Station is a very silent place, almost unrealistic: no people – except for a couple of tourists – and commercial activities completely closed (I just saw a barber shop and a restaurant open). Probably, the Haydarpasa Station will become the Ankara – Istanbul high speed train line station; others say that the entire building will be transformed in a luxury hotel. I don’t know: it’s not easy to have information about the official master plan. I can only hope that Haydarpasa will not cancel its heritage to become something completely different. It would be a big loss for Istanbul.

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