“If the world were a single state, then Constantinople (Istanbul) would become its capital” (Napoleon Bonaparte)
I have repeatedly confessed my love for Turkey and have published many articles about this wonderful country. But, for a long time I ignored Istanbul – a city that I adore, to which I am ready to return again and again.
Istanbul leaves no one indifferent. It always evokes strong emotions. It doesn’t have to be positive. Istanbul is either loved with all its heart, or not accepted with all his heart. But I do not know a single person who would say: “So-so city, nothing special.”
So much has already been said about Istanbul. One of my favorite quotes belongs to E. Safarli: ” Istanbul does not repeat itself. Here beauty coexists with ugliness, prayer with debauchery, logic with absurdity – imperfect, therefore, alive”
My first impressions of Istanbul were drawn in small strokes, not large strokes.
The image of the city was formed from peeped moments:
- A woman, all in black, only her eyes from the slits openly look at the world, throws pieces of bread into the air and cheerfully cheers on the seagulls, grabbing them on the fly.
- An elderly man, frail in appearance, in a dark, dusty jacket several sizes too large, wields an axe. Nearby, a rooster, chased by a red cat with a cunning squint, jumping nervously, runs into the yard
- Wooden houses with broken windows and rickety doors suddenly come to life, releasing clouds of smoke from the chimney.
- The smell of burning wood mingles with the aroma of roasted chestnuts, the cries of seagulls engage in an unequal battle with the songs of muezzins
- The dog sits motionless on the ruins of an ancient Byzantine wall. Neither the noise of passing cars, nor people are worth her attention, silently she follows the stream of life with her eyes. Guardian of Time
Every city is unique but Istanbul is more unique than any other I have visited
Istanbul cannot be confused with any other city. It is unique. From time to time something from New York or Paris slips through it. But it is worth looking a little closer and you understand, no, just an obsession.
Cats are the true masters of Istanbul. If I were appointed responsible for the rebranding of the Turkish metropolis, I would have renamed it Catstanbul or Catstantinople.
Cats are everywhere in Istanbul. They build houses for them, scratch their backs when they run past. They are photographed even more often than world-famous sights. People put bowls of food on every corner and take them under their care.
In one of the hotels where I lived, there was a foster cat named Merkush. Merkush, an anthracite handsome man, was wearing a collar with a bell. Every day he reclined on a velvet mat, lazily following the visitors with his eyes.
You can keep coming to Istanbul endlessly. And every time Istanbul finds something to surprise you. And beware: Istanbul is addictive.