The city feels like a crumbling dreamscape. Seemingly fictional structures rise above its hills and its streets feel old and full of history. And yet, in the corners it crumbles underfoot. Its denizens walk monochromatic and hardened through its streets and over its rivers, smoking and sneering. Its cats and dogs are more friendly and almost more kept, evidence of a warm Turkish heart not worn near the surface.
Here, the atmosphere is palpable–fifteen centuries on display. The structures are syncretic, built on top of many layers and formed from as many cultures. Christians stand on top of pagans and then there are the Ottomans casting their long shadow, but not blocking or erasing what came before. Instead, the city is a collage. This is evidenced in newer quarters too, where the Asiatic flavour of the city gives way to Western globalisation, uneasily. It is little wonder that such balancing acts lead to tension. Maybe that tension is what I see wrinkle people’s faces.
There is something intoxicating in this mixture and I can’t help but feel that Istanbul will inhabit my dreamscapes.