July 2, 2015

Istanbul through my lens

This trip to Istanbul last summer was a special one. A gift to my son for his sixteen birthday from my family, he, my sister, and I had four unforgettable days in one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Spread over two continents, home to more than 14 million people, Istanbul is a vibrant city, offering a wealth of history, interesting scenery and distinguished cuisine. Colours, colours, lots of colours, sounds, fragrances and flavours will instantly set you in a hubbub of locals, tourists, vendors, shoppers, restaurant owners, retailers, fishermen, drivers, street dogs and hungry cats. Mosques, churches, palaces, markets, bridges, towers, boats and water, water, lots of water will surround you just to prove to you that you are walking in one of the world's great places – a crossroad of civilizations, religions and cultures. So, we had a lot to do and a lot to see here... and we did it, walking the streets of Istanbul from early morning to late at night. From the Sultanahmet district (our hotel was located there) with the open-air, Roman-era Hippodrome, the iconic magnificent Hagia Sophia and the impressive Blue Mosque, through the Grand Bazar (I didn't really enjoy it), Galata Bridge and the fantastic 17th century Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar) to a pleasant cruise trip through the famous Bosphorus Strait, we immersed ourselves in every possible sight of this place. We visited the kitschy, in my opinion, Dolmanbahce Palace with its fantastic garden and my personal favourite the beautiful Topkapi Palace. We literally ate our way through the city – simit, gozleme, baklava, kunefe, watermelon, white cheese, roasted chestnuts, rice pudding, turkish delight, the famous dondurma (ice cream cone on a stick, sold from a street vendor who teased us performing awesome tricks with the ice cream before finally giving it to us). We ate kebaps and pilaf at a wonderful roof terrace with a spectacular view, but nothing could compete with the freshly caught fish sandwich on freshly baked bread with pepper and tomato straight from the grill of a man and his wife who skilfully prepared this delicious dish on the waterfront promenade right in front of the arriving boats. We drank tea, turkish coffee, ayran and boza. We experienced the most warm pouring rain and the most magnificent sun set over the beautiful skyline. But most of all, we enjoyed the extraordinary cultural experience that lies around every corner of the city. I felt Istanbul foreign and at the same time so very humanly close – unpretentious, hospitable and beautiful in its unique way.  

What are your plans for this summer, dear friends?

Sharing at Wow us Wednesday


  1. Oh, Sylvia.....I've never been to this part of the world, but what remarkable history and people, colors and sounds you have experienced! And as always, your pictures really tell a story. You ask what I am doing this summer? We spent our first 10 days of summer away by the beach, but now we are home. I am going to spend the rest of my summer here at the house, reading and writing AND working on my photography. My goal now is to capture humanity in stillness, as you have so powerfully done here. I've never thought of taking photos of people, only flowers, buildings, etc....but I love how you caught that one man sitting there (with no other "white noise" around him) who is looking at his phone.....all around him is the texture of the culture, the gorgeous old and interesting art, and there he is, a modern man on his phone....that tells a story. So for me, this summer, I want to start telling a story through my lens.

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend of relaxed beauty! Anita

  2. Your pictures are extraordinary, Sylvia. This is a very different part of the world for me and you've brought it to life with your photos and prose. And what a great adventure for you and your son...you are amazing! How did you choose Istanbul, I'm wondering? I can see now through your account, but really, in the first place.

    Bravo to you!

    Jane x

  3. These are wonderful, a real feel for this city. I felt I was there, Europe is just marvelous.

  4. Your photo's make me want to go to Istanbul Sylvia. So inviting! What a beautiful city. We are heading for the UK shortly. To the Peak District and the North York moors.

    Have a good week!

    Madelief x

  5. Dear friend...you are a BRILLIANT writer, photographer, and human being...you cannot imagine how much you've enriched my day.
    Every photo is more gasp-worthy than the next. There is nothing more exciting to me than seeing other cultures...and the humanity that unites us all. What a gift to your dear son...and of course to you and your sister...
    Brava, dear Sylvia...Brava!

    And yes...our darling Anita has encouraged me to use instagram, but I'm still learning the ropes... :)
    LOVE seeing you there...
    And I'm sending you love, beautiful soul... :)
    Enjoy the sweet summer days!
    - Irina

  6. Beautiful photos of this intriguing looking city. Each one tells its own story! Rich in color and history

  7. I am mesmerized by your photography! Stunning!


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