Sunday, December 16, 2007

The City of Passion

'' there, God and human, nature and art are together,
they have created such a perfect place
that is valuable to see ''
Alphonse de Lamartine

Lamartine's poetic line reveals his love for Istanbul, describing the embracing of two continents, with one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe. So Istanbul is the only City in the world to exist on two continents. Ancient and modern, religious and secular, Asia and Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here. This thriving metropolis connects not only continents, but also cultures and religions.

Istanbul is split by Bosphorus (Turkish: Bogazici), the narrow channel that separates Europe from Asia while connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and on the Aegean. In some places, it is over two miles wide, in others, only one-half mile. Depths range from 150 feet to 300 feet. It is twenty-one miles long. Overshadowing Istanbul's traditional architecture is one of the world's largest suspension bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge.

As seen in the photos above, its shores offer a delightful mixture of past and present, grand splendor and simple beauty. All of the beautiful wooden waterfront houses, palaces, imperial lodges, rustic stone fortresses, small palaces, and detached houses and mansions left from days gone by, that line both sides of the Bosphorus. Those glorious residences constitute a wordless, but nonetheless eloquent testimony to a truly magnificent past.

During the summer season, on nights during the full moon, residents of the village of Rumeli Fortress, on the European side, at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus, sit beside the sea or on their balconies, so they can watch the moon rising slowly into the sky from behind the hills on the Asian side. As you imagine, you can actually see the moon move upwards, and it has a deep orange color that casts an uncanny glow. I should say that a Bosphorus cruise on a night of the full moon is a never to be forgotten experience, because the Moon Angel is very close indeed on nights like that!

''The Romantic City'' Istanbul has the power to inspire souls and lift hearts like no other. A world within a world of its own...

Come summer come...
The Bosphorus is the only place I want to be!


  1. What an interesting fact about Instanbul. I'm stunned at how little I really know about the geography of your area. I'm so grateful for all you are teaching me.


  2. wow, I did not realize that Istanbul is the only city on two continents. I had thought that Russia extends on both Europe and Asia side, but perhaps it does not have a city that is on two continents. You have posted beautiful photos of Bosphorus.

  3. @ Darla: You are welcome, and tks for your nice comment as usual.There's a good saying by Mark van Doren, an American writer and educator, that summarizes perfectly: ''The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.''
    Believe me that each day I, too, learn more 'new' things than I write/teach here, and it's the fact that there are so nice personalities behind those blogs:)

    @ Hyderabad: Is it? Shame on you;) Maybe I'm not a famous worldwide like Bill Clinton, or Madonna... However Istanbul is very famous with its feature placed on two continents.

    Now your ears please. Istanbul is often described as the ''Crossroads'' of Europe and Asia. Consequently, the country Turkey as well. Not only Istanbul, but also Turkey has got a very strategic importance of the geography in the world. Turkey with its Istanbul is so ''Special''! This is the point:)

  4. Nihal your explanations around Istanbul are so interesting that seems to be there.
    ciao ciao

  5. Indeed shame on me, nihal. Also, I now understand why your blog is called 'crossroads'. :)