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Turkey

Waiting for the Ferry to Leave

Istanbul (Turkey). This photograph was taken some weeks ago: while waiting for the ferry to leave from Besiktas to Kadikoy, this man isolates himself from the rest of the world. I think it gives perfectly the sense of loneliness that you can experience in Istanbul – which is ironic, if you think about the several millions of people living there. As I always say, Istanbul is a city of contradictions, and this is one of them

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The Bosphorus Bridge

Istanbul (Turkey). An unusual view of the Bosphorus Bridge with the city’ skyline, taken during the Istanbul Marathon – the only day of the year when the bridge is closed to traffic and exclusively open to pedestrians. Starting in Asia and crossing the Bosphorus to land in Europe, the Istanbul Marathon is the only marathon in the world that touches two continents.

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Sunset Behind The Bosphorus Bridge

Istanbul (Turkey). Here we are with another typical contrast of Istanbul, something that I love and that has a positive effect on my soul: at the end of a chaotic and hectic day, the sun goes down behind the first Bosphorus Bridge, giving a sense of quite and calmness to the Turkish metropolis.

This is Istanbul, a place that is always surprising… The photo has been taken from the Asian side, in the district of Cengelkoy.

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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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Being a Commuter in Istanbul (Winter is Coming)

Istanbul (Turkey). Sometimes I should post my photos without writing my thoughts: not because I’m lazy, or because I’m overwhelmed with my work. More simply, because some photos speak for themselves.

Before reading below, please take few seconds and think about what this photo is saying. You can keep it for yourself or write a comment if you want: it does not matter; the goal is to make you watch something without the usual rush.

Why I’m doing this? Because this what usually happens when you are a commuter in Istanbul… You are always, constantly in a hurry, and thousands of people around you are in the same situation: most probably, you will have to take a bus, then a boat, then a metro and finally maybe a taxi or a “dolmus”… However – here I’m coming with my message – if you can find the time to “think about what you are doing”, then you will realize that the frustration of “being a commuter” can develop into the consciousness and – let me say – emotion of “being a commuter in Istanbul”.

I took this photo some years ago, and it is still one of my favorite one: I was waiting for my boat, but I was so hypnotized by the situation, that I remained on the side of the Bosphorus for a long time watching this scene. What for everyone – me included – was something of absolutely normal (even boring or, as I said, frustrating) was slowly becoming unique. The ferry (in Turkish they are called “vapur”, keeping the old name of steamboats) was slowly leaving the dock from Uskudar to bring people to Besiktas: the sky is grey, the city’s colors are totally erased. A group of seagulls is following the boat, and people are feeding the animals with small pieces taken from their “simit”. In the background, the Galata Tower interrupts the skyline made of old houses and some mosques.

Now, think about it one more time: how is being a commuter in Istanbul?

 

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