The City: Η Πόλη
Penelope is keeping her promises and there you are, I’m posting some more photos from my latest trip to Istanbul/Constantinople -or the City/H Πόλη as the past generation of Greeks was calling it. Strangely enough, it was my first time that I visited this city. And I’m saying “strangely”, because I have quite close ties with the city. My grandfather had spent all his youth there, as a boarder in one of the schools, and I had heard so many stories from his mouth, set aside all the glorious Greek history: Byzantine empire, Agia Sophia etc.
Constantinople/Istanbul was one the centre of the Hellenism and the Greeks were a vital component of the city’s growth.During that time the city was bursting with life.The trade and culture were at its highest. But it seems to me that city has gained back already its old glamour. At the moment, it’s a cosmopolitan city with an obvious upward curve of development.Constructions everywhere,tourists, shops with good customer service, foreigners -including Greeks- as white collar workers. Greeks are not foreigners,they are an integral part of this city. In the shops, there is always somebody who speaks greek to serve you. A nice feeling to experience after this overwhelming “Englisation” of the world. Istanbul’s development comes in contrast with the recession of the rest of Europe at this particular moment, but from one point of view it’s not surprising at all, taking into consideration Turkey’s past as a big empire. Other reason of this phenomenon- Turkey as super power -can be justified by Istanbul’s position in the map regarding the trade. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the trade reassumed again through Bosphorus-the only passage between black sea and Mediterranean. And the third reason, which links all the above, is the good leadership. Turkish people have a charismatic leader. No matter how religious and perhaps autocratic Erdogan is, he has convinced, even his enemies and the sophisticated Istanbulians, that he can do the job. Because money and welfare of the citizens matter, at the end of the day.
I couldn’t ever believe my entrance to Agia Sophia will be so emotional. All this history and the stories from mouth to mouth made me overwhelmed by feelings. As they say “by travelling you don’t learn so much about others as much about yourself”.
The great market of Istanbul. If you want to find touristy and expensive things go to this market.
The strait of Bosphorus forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. This big mansion belongs to the Asian side.
Τhe above mansion belongs to Europe. Interestingly enough, the houses in the European side are more expensive than those of the Asian side.And the location is more desirable among the Turkish high society (see Turkish soap operas).
One of the houses in Bebek- the posh part of Istanbul-with character. Exactly behind and up to the hill is my grandfather’s school, the famous Robert College
Robert College established 1863.I got this picture from its website, because it was pouring down with rain all day when I visited it.