Istanbul is a city that once you have breathed its air into your lungs and have tasted its water, you would return to it wherever you go.
You go to Europe to trace after a glorious civilization. You see renaissance, romanticism, art. You visit Collessium in Rome, Twin Towers in London or have a coffee break along the Saint River or Sacre Coeur, but you long for Sultanahmet and you return to Istanbul.
You go to America to witness the New World’s cultural mosaic. You get surprised to learn that New York used to be called New Amsterdam. You listen to the history of the French colony in Canada. You see that each individual is from another root, another culture. You remember your hometown with a picture of Spice Bazaar. You remember that Turk, Kurd, Greek, Armenian, Jewish, Circassian, Laz, Georgian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Bosnian, Arabian, Persian, Pharisee, everyone has a contribution and you return to lstanbul.
You go to Latin America, to the place of friendly people. There is a music you here from everywhere and your surrounding become full with people dancing. A smile on everyone’s face invites you to their tables. You get amazed of the Taco’s taste in Mexica and the meat’s taste in Argentina. Suddenly you remember your friend that insists on tastes and you return to stanbul.
You go to North Africa and the smell of spice drags you to the public market. Its spice, tobacco, muslin, tea and rosary The call of prayer accompanies the sellers’ voice trying to sell their products. Then suddenly the picture in your head changes and you find yourself in Grand Bazaar. The smell of the apple tea, the sound of the call of prayer in Sultanahmet and you return to lstanbul.
You go to Far East and you get fascinated by the incense coming from everywhere. The pureness and quietness of the Buddhist temples on one hand, the liveliness and exoticness of Hindu temples on the other hand. Just as you breath in this mystic air, your surrounding confine with tolerance. You find yourself walking to the Mevlivihane from the Galata Tower and you return to lstanbul again.
You go to the Northern Europe and you watch the fishers patiently casting a nest and catching some fishes. Some have whipped from the coast, some have sailed with a boat and some have left behind a over. Then, suddenly remember Halic. People from all ages with their fishing lines in their hands and buckets on their arms lining up at the bridge as the day starts to get warm early in the morning. You watch them quietly and you return to lstanbul.
You go to Far East, for instance Hong Kong. You want to breath among those high straight skyscrapers and you run to the sea side Then you hear the sound of a boat and seagulls. You feel like you are feed with the bagel in your hand between the two big continents and you return to stanbul.
lstanbul makes you miss her. Waking up early in the morning, the rising sun from the Bosporus bridge, the sound of the craftsmen opening their shops, the siren of a boat, the bagel eating seagulls competing with the boats, the bagel alongside the tea served in a slim waisted glass, the creak of the red tramway in stiklal Street, the “fresh fresh sounds calling from the fish market, the silhouette of Galata Tower completing all of the city, coffees after a long day.
You miss Istanbul. You cannot go without missing lstanbul.
Wherever you go around the world, whichever culture you mix in, you’ll find a trace from Istanbul. No matter how much of a traveler you are, no matter where you go around the world; if lstanbul has a place in your heart, you will definitely return to lstanbul.
by TUĞÇE YILMAZ