Category Archives: Art & Architecture

Yerebatan Basilica Cistern

It’s hard to believe now, but the Yerebatan Basilica Cistern, once the major water supply of Constantinople, was lost to Istanbul until the 16th century. As recorded by Ogier de Busbecq, a visitor to the city heard rumours of locals … Continue reading

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Kuruçeşme – beauty on the Bosphorus

Another small suburb tucked away on the edges of the Bosphorus is Kurucesme (Kuruçeşme). The name translates as dry fountain, and it is believed to have been named for a 17th century fountain attached to the Tezkireci Osman Efendi Mosque. … Continue reading

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Osman Hamdi Bey – Jack of all trades, master of all

Istanbul has long been known for its historical collections of art and antiques, such as the overwhelming wealth of jewels in Topkapı Sarayı and the priceless Hereke silk carpets in Dolmabahçe Palace whose gigantic crystal chandeliers reflect the waves of … Continue reading

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Dervish Traditions – Turkish Tombs II

Another of the Dervish tombs I love is in a suburb called Merdivenköy, also on the Asian side of Istanbul. Today this is a heavily built up residential area but the suffix köy, meaning village, points to its history. During … Continue reading

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Arnavutkoy – a village on the Bosphorus

Named after the Albanian (Arnavut) builders brought to Istanbul by Sultan Abdülmescid in the 19th century to lay sidewalks in the city, Arnavutköy is home to beautiful wooden houses, many of them lining the Bosphorus waterside. The original population was … Continue reading

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Yeldegirmen Kadikoy – A Hidden Gem

On my way back from taking photos for my post on Turkish tombs I rediscovered the wonderful neighbourhood of Yeldegirmen Kadikoy. In the year since I last came here, the area has undergone a complete makeover. What were once sad … Continue reading

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Turkish Kara Mizah – Black Comedy

Turkey has a long tradition of using black comedy or satire, known as Turkish kara mizah, to express opinions not readily sanctioned by those in power. Generally it is concerned with serious topics such as murder, death, illness, politics and … Continue reading

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Dervish traditions: Turkish Tombs I

One the quirky features I love about Istanbul are tombs dedicated to dede or senior dervishes that turn up in the most unusual places. A dervish is a member of a Muslim religious order who has taken vows of poverty … Continue reading

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Ara Guler and My Istanbul

In a recent interview with world famous Turkish photographer Ara Güler in Today’s Zaman (Nov 14, 2014) he said, “The Istanbul that I lived in wasn’t Istanbul. Actually, I didn’t see Istanbul either. Istanbul was already over. And Pera is … Continue reading

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Istanbul Churches – the Armenian history of Istanbul

At least once a month I set off to explore Istanbul’s lesser known streets and sights. Armed with a vague plan to see at least one specific place, I often come across unexpected delights. The day I headed to Nısancı … Continue reading

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