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Istanbul is a woman journeying from primitive ages to the unknown future; she brings together all faiths just as it brings two continents together. Seeing elements of three religions in a photo in Kuzguncuk while Kanlica’s waterside houses wink from the Asia at its neighbours in Bebek, this is all a woman can do: hug all lovers such that she has no expectations but sacrifice in the heart.

One day she is an amazon rising above Levent, Kavacik, Atasehir or she comes at the sight of the architect who has just planned the construction of the world’s biggest airport. One can tell from the brilliance in her eyes that she holds the key to the future. She looks ahead, challenging many men with her strong will. She embroiders the future with her deep understanding of the past she has lived through.

She can make an appearance from any corner of this city with seven hills. She has not only witnessed the love of Beyazit Tower for centuries, but also the haughty look of Maiden’s Tower, remaining silent. Just then one understands lstanbul is a woman who is in love with the sun and the moon at the same time and whose love has become pure architect in the mind and work of Sinan the architect. She is the clank of the last cup of tea she has had in Pierre Loti. Her hair is just like the Golden Horn at the sight of the setting sun.

She looks so innocent with her white dress in the snow that one thinks she is a bride waiting for her groom to come. One recognizes her from the wind of a flying seagull. She is the voice of summer songs sang from Yenikapi pier One cannot utter words as if s/he sees the first love of her his love getting out of the Flower Passage tipsy.

At one time her cheerful laughters lose sound against the howl of a crowded mall. It is as if one holds a rare silk fabric in Grand Bazaar’s sequent shops or as if one shakes hands with all different kinds of people in Mahmutpasa.

She gives away her identity as a woman with her impatient hastiness. What echoes is the peace she gets upon hearing the peace called out loud by the morning prayer. One day her hands are shaky as the lights of Eleni’s candles lit in Aya Yorgi or in Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Buyukada; the other she becomes a fish caught by the fishman at the Galata bridge after driven by the south winds.

One is caught pretty bad at the sight of her One can never get over her any longer regardless of the distance. Redbud smells become what one will be missing forever if s/he has been to the ferries once, passed through the Bosphorus once, and drunk coffee the taste of which will remain in the tongue for long time. One will now always remember anywhere in the world Mevlana’s masterpiece saying “Come whoever you are”.

Only a mother can be so proud when looking at her children from Saray Burnu pier. When the evening lights are reflected upon the houses of Usküdar, the golden city becomes a poem recited by Orhan Veli

Her looks are so sharp that one cannot be amazed at the capability of bridging Asia and Europe under the water One gets used to the voices of the trams passing through the sea to Eminönü in only four minutes.

Basilica cistern whispers tales from under the water Many have fallen in love with this city at the first sight just like you have. One sees the secrets of the city buried under water It has tales challenging thousands of years.

Istanbul is the city which was mentioned as a gospel by Prophet Mohammad. It is the love of a brave 21-year-old for the sake of which he carried ships and soldiers on soil. as he conquers the heart of the city getting over with one age bringing forward the other.

She is the embodiment of all different kinds of disguises. Her fingers are like those of belly dances at an event at the Bosphorus. One can never get enough of her: not knowing it is the taste of the city itself but not kebab, fish or snacks.

If tasted fresh lstanbul simit alongside cheese once, no other taste can remove that taste from your mouth again.

Scents of the Spice Markets are just as the scents of your parents’ house. This woman has spices that are the cure for all different kinds of plights.

One cannot just grasp the happiness in her arms at first; but when away from it, her absence feels like the deeply increasing longing. One does not pay attention at first but then keeps wondering if the Black Sea is still mixing with the sea of Marmara.

Sails move like white butterflies in her coasts; and then one would think it is like the excitement of a teenagers’s first love. Ships move proudly as if passing through her heart; she tends to her wounds with the water of the Bosphorus having a solemn silence.

She takes utmost care to maintain her beauty placed at the centre of fashion and elegance always. Sometimes she wonders all day around a shop with her hands full with world brands. Without the scent of redbud, one can never tell it’s her who changes from one look to another so quickly. She blossoms suddenly without ever growing leaves like redbud trees. She embraces one taking him/her from the grasp of cold winter to the loving arms of spring. One can see her glowing as a jewellery: she is the moment when a golden necklace shines in the skin. Her rings are like the lyrics of an old folk song singing: “…”

She cries heavily on every February 10 looking at the Dolmabahce Palace. She is the woman who deeply suffers being unable to do anything as Atatürk slipped from her sight. Light shows at the republic day makes her forget about her lonely shame. She is the woman the republic is highly proud of She is just like the the girls who is hopeful of the future.

You know, she is the exact centre of the world. When she smiles the world gets to hear her, if she cries, the whole world is affected by her sorrow. Her voice can be heard from distants corners of the world just as she utters. It is because she helps the one in need; because she bears the motherly love; that’s why she is centre of the world.

lstanbul, therefore, is a woman, a mother and a beloved. She is the love at first sight, she is the lyrics one keeps mumbling always. Her tales can take keep you alive for 1001 nights. She is the one whom one will never forget once smelling the redbud scent of its.
by PINAR BULUT

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