day 70_Istanbul

Just like the mosques in the old parts of the city, the new high-rise towers are clearly identifiable figures within the city fabric, redefining Istanbul's skyline.

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day 68_Istanbul_the Bazaar

"The Bazaar! The worst horrors are to be found in there... It is a labyrinth, a maze of arcades, without a glimpse of sky for several kilometers. It is closed in, suffocating, and secluded. Here and there tiny windows pierce the low barrel vault, and yet it is well lit. It is deserted at night and frenzied during the day.One does not enter a shop, one is sucked and shoved in; once inside the great machine, the ‘hustle’ begins. The verbiage is insane, shouted by five or six who have almost dismembered you alive. There are several others who scream dreadfully. Of course they know what you want even before you do." Le Corbusier in Journey to the East

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day 67_Istanbul_cohabitation

east and west together
east and west together

Bosporus Bridge (one of the two bridges connecting Europe and Asia):

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As many developing cities that have rapidly outgrown their ancient cores and exponentially expanded their (nowadays ambiguous) boundaries, Istanbul fights a daily battle with traffic. The city has grown more or less in a linear fashion, but today there are only two bridges across the Bosporus channel connecting the east part of the city to the west.

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Iconic mosques and modern office/residential towers are sprinkled throughout the dense fabric of the old city:

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day 66_Istanbul_inner world of mosques

Not only urbanistically mosques act as focal points within the city, but their intricate interiors are separate worlds on their own. They are true urban enclaves with their own atmosphere (I cannot stop thinking about Hagia Sophia's mystical light filtering through the windows), their own unique colors and ornamentation (the harmonious dialogue of the blues, reds, and gold in the Blue mosque was stunning) and many times their own courtyards and other structures serving other needs, such as schools and hospitals (Süleymaniye Mosque, for example).

Blue Mosque (1609-1616):

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Hagia Sophia (547-1475) :

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Süleymaniye Mosque (1550-1558):

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Iftar (the fast-breaking meal during Ramadan). The entire street in front of the mosque turned into a giant dining room. Needless to say, sharing a meal with the locals next to a mosque designed by the most well-known architect of the Ottoman empire - Mimar Sinan - was an experience of a lifetime.

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day 66_Istanbul_city of ruins

"Gustave Flaubert, who visited Istanbul 102 years before my birth, was struck by the variety of life in its teeming streets; in one of his letters he predicted that in a century's time it would be the capital of the world. The reverse came true: After the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the world almost forgot that Istanbul existed." Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul, Memories and the City

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day 65_Istanbul_first impressions

I did not expect the hilly terrain. Obviously it was not as extreme as in Hong Kong, however, it still resulted in very interesting spatial conditions in the older parts of the city. The way the buildings carved into the slopes of the streets, entrances half-submerged into the ground... as if the architecture was growing straight up from the city’s hills.

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