Istanbul is a densely populated city sprawling over both banks of the Bosphorus Strait. It is a metropolis full of highrise apartments and office blocks. Nonetheless, Istanbullu (people who live in Istanbul) value their green spaces and make good use of them. In the event of an earthquake, these open spaces would be the only safe places to go. Here are some of the parks that make it onto my list of favourite Istanbul views.
Fenerbahçe Park in the 1950s. From the Yapi Kredi collection of photographs taken by Selahattin Giz, exhibited at the Caddebostan Kultur Merkezi, September 2012.
Late afternoon swimming in the Sea of Marmara off Fenerbahçe Park
Cooling down with a refreshing drink at Romantika Cafe
Göztepe Park – these are real fish
Whirling Dervish topiary in Göztepe Park
Özgürlük park, which means Freedom Park in English, is my favourite park. In summer it plays host to Turkish music nights, traditional puppet shows, theatre performances and other special events. Year round there are weekly organic markets and people exercising, jogging and walking their dogs. At the moment local high school students are holding a three day event to remind us how valuable these green places are, to make it clear they believe the parks belong to the people.