Friday, February 24, 2012

Strolling Through Istanbul... Soon

I’ve been reading Strolling Through Istanbul, a book so detailed with descriptions of palaces, museums, mosques, Turkish baths, sultans and conquerors, that I’m pretty much totally overwhelmed by the city’s amazing history, dating back to when it was the capital of the Roman Empire 330-395. 

From 395-1204 Istanbul was the capital of the Byzantine Empire, then the capital of the Latin Empire from 1204 to 1261, then capital of the Byzantine Empire again from 1261-1452, then capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1453 to 1922. Finally, in 1923, Ankara, not Istanbul, was named the capital of the newly proclaimed Republic of Turkey. 

I’m getting a sense of the city from this book. Such as when the author talks about one of the streets in the Bazaar: “But today the street is mean and squalid, although always crowded and picturesque.” Is that like saying “I wouldn’t go there, but if you do it’ll be interesting one way or another”? 

The author is talking about the Secondhand Clothing Bazaar, where the poor sell one another clothes. He continues “It is said, if you are clever enough, you can stroll through this bazaar, sell all the clothes you are wearing, and buy them back farther down the street at a small profit.”