Istanbul, Turkey

Where East meets West, Turkey Seeks its Way


Islamic silhouettes
Shade of domes and minarets of the Suleiman mosque stand out from the twilight.
basilica, mosque, again basilica
Grand and peculiar structure of the Hagia Sophia basilica with one of the minarets added by the Ottomans after the conquest of Constantinople.
Grand Bazaar,
Vendors and customers meet at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world.
fishing friends
Two of many fishermen try their luck in the waters of the Golden Horn, from the Galata bridge.
human swirls
Dervish dancers twirl under the guiding gaze of the figure of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish homeland.
right to the scarf
Young Turkish women in chador admire an exhibition in a gallery of the Yerebatan cistern.
Hagia Sophia
The great basilica of Santa Sophia, built by Emperor Justinian to be the largest monument in the world, later adapted by the Ottomans as a mosque.
Carpets & Co.
Carpet sellers wrapped in their store's flagship product at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.
Bosphorus snack
Grilled fish vendor awaits more customers with the Galata tower in the background.
grand mosque
An unusual view of Suleiman's mosque, one of the largest of Istanbul's nearly 3000.

An emblematic and grandiose metropolis, Istanbul lives at a crossroads. As Turkey in general, divided between secularism and Islam, tradition and modernity, it still doesn't know which way to go

The cold is so cold around the Bosphorus Strait that we would not be surprised if we were still treated to a completely snowy Istanbul as we had only appreciated on posters and postcards.

Indifferent to the icy wind, dozens of fishermen coexist leaning on the Galata bridge and attentive to the lines dipped in the Golden Horn.

Without expecting it, countless muezzins they activate their sacred voices and create a diffuse call to new prayer that is far from pleasing all Istanbulites, whether Muslim or not. The most attentive international press even reported that the dissonance of some of the religious singers was such that certain residents got used to using ear plugs and filed complaints with the competent religious authorities. These launched a special program to fine-tune those responsible, which alleviated the problem.

Like Turkey, and thanks to the ideological force of founder Kemal Atatürk's reforms, Istanbul is still officially secular. Even though in the overwhelming Muslim majority, its huge urban population – rivals London for the title of the largest in Europe – has many believers of other faiths, as well as atheists and agnostics. On the political spectrum, it is divided mainly between Kemalists – the followers of Atatürk's reforms – and Islamists. 

The abolition of the calls that we hear echoing five times a day from the countless minarets of the city would not do a good part of the first ones.

But Tayyip Erdogan, Istanbul's former mayor, now hotly contested but still all-powerful Turkey's president, is an outspoken Sunni and supporter of Islam's guiding role in the nation's life, something the army has also been opposing.

Among other offenses, Erdogan was accused of anti-Semitism, corruption, manipulation of elections, despotism and media censorship. From several attempts to stifle freedom of communication and press, the recent case of the social network Twitter stood out, which prevailed because Google offered the Turks a free DNS server, whose code 8.8.8.8 was graffitied on the city walls by angry residents with the arrogance of the president.

On the other side of the bridge and the strait, we heard a local guide praising the merits of Istanbul to a Spanish group: “My friends, forgive me for being bold, I know Iberia has an unbelievable civilization and incredible cities but don't take me it would be bad if I confess to you that there is no city in Europe as grand as this one”. In their visitors' etiquette, the Spaniards remain silent, consent and follow their way to the peninsula full of monuments and history that we came from.

Night falls in three times. On the advice of Ari, an equally or more proud colleague who supported us in our wanderings, we pointed to the Galata neighborhood. We went up steep streets and stairs and entered the homonymous tower, where he assured us that we would have a divine meal, enlivened by a traditional Turkish variety show.

Energetic drummers open it, but the audience only goes wild when a belly dancer comes into action far more naked, seductive and contagious than most young Islamists who, like President Erdogan, continue to try to circumvent the constitutional ban. Turkish use of chador. Consistent with his conservative positions, Erdogan made a point of declaring recently at a feminist conference in Istanbul that women can never be treated like men. And he accused most of the audience of rejecting motherhood. 

The highest structure in the city when it was built by the Genoese, in 1348, the Galata tower began to be used by the Ottomans, from the mid-XNUMXth century, to detect fires between the houses below. Like all those who access the conical top, we don't leave you without appreciating the lights that dot Istanbul and its reflection in the darkened waters of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus.

The next day dawns with more pleasant weather. We took the opportunity to explore the area between the neighborhoods of Topkapi, Unkapani and Yenikapi, which concentrates the most sumptuous historical and cultural heritage in the city. 

At the hippodrome, we struggled to decipher some of the hieroglyphs carved on the Obelisk of Theodosius that once adorned the Egyptian temple of Karnak. We converted to the gray grandeur of the mosque and also to that of another sultan, Ahmed.

From the top of this blue mosque, the view over the Basilica of Hagia Sophia, which the Byzantine Emperor Justinian aspired to be the most striking monument in the world, which should surpass the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, delights us. 

With an entrance nearby, we let ourselves get lost among the Corinthian columns of the underground cistern of Yerebatan and look into the eyes of the jellyfish heads that support two of them, without, as the myth claims, turning us to stone. 

In Topkapi Palace, we covered a large part of the history of the Ottoman dynasty, who ruled vast territories on three different continents for 600 years.

We do not shy away from another of the customs of those who are discovering Istanbul: the visit to the Byzantine fortress of Rumeli, followed by the road crossing of the Mehmet Bridge that links Europe to Asia. 

Along the way, aboard a mini-bus full of passengers of various nationalities, nobody gets away with showing a traditional singing from their country. With the Old World already behind us and some quiet time, the analogy that Erdogan and, whether you agree or not, the Turks in general also abandoned the opportunity to join the European Union family, due to the policies and rigid ideologies of the current leader.

In 2010, Turkish authorities closed their ports to Cypriot vessels. They have been disrespecting basic civil rights such as freedom in the most different ways. They are slow to act on discrimination against homosexuals, torture in prisons, forced marriages and violence against women, among other issues that not even the most open-minded Eurocrats would ever give in to accept what, overwhelmingly Muslim, would pass. be the third largest population in the Union.

Back in European Istanbul and now in the company of Ari, he remains committed to surprising us with the richness of Turkish culture. We got on the subway and, after returning to the surface, walked a few minutes to a demure historic building. "Well, let's see what you think of this."

We enter and find a dance hall filled with an esoteric troupe in white mystic costumes. "Have you heard of the dervishes or not?" asks us further Ari, delighted to provide us with the experience.

Lights dim. Soon after, an oriental soundtrack that combines simple percussion, strings, wind instruments and ceremonial voices takes over the hall. It sets the tone so that, in a growing trance, the Sufi dancers develop their countless meditative rotations.

Like the rest of the spectators, we let ourselves be hypnotized by the subtle beauty of those white swirls. Until the spiritual storm ends and we are thrown back into the night ice of multifaceted Istanbul.

Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Jerusalem, Israel

Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

In Jerusalem, while traveling the Via Dolorosa, the most sensitive believers realize how difficult the peace of the Lord is to achieve in the most disputed streets on the face of the earth.
Jerusalem, Israel

A Festive Wailing Wall

The holiest place in Judaism is not only attended by prayers and prayers. Its ancient stones have witnessed the oath of new IDF recruits for decades and echo the euphoric screams that follow.
Mount Sinai, Egypt

Strength in the Legs, Faith in God

Moses received the Ten Commandments on the summit of Mount Sinai and revealed them to the people of Israel. Today, hundreds of pilgrims climb, every night, the 4000 steps of that painful but mystical ascent.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Safari
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal,

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Bay Watch cabin, Miami beach, beach, Florida, United States,
Architecture & Design
Miami beach, USA

The Beach of All Vanities

Few coastlines concentrate, at the same time, so much heat and displays of fame, wealth and glory. Located in the far southeast of the USA, Miami Beach is accessed by six bridges that connect it to the rest of Florida. It is manifestly meager for the number of souls who desire it.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
Adventure
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
MassKara Festival, Bacolod City, Philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
Totem, Sitka, Alaska Travel Once Russia
Cities
sitka, Alaska

Sitka: Journey through a once Russian Alaska

In 1867, Tsar Alexander II had to sell Russian Alaska to the United States. In the small town of Sitka, we find the Russian legacy but also the Tlingit natives who fought them.
Meal
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines
Culture
Philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Sport
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Traveling
Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
amazing
Ethnic

Amberris Caye, Belize

Belize's Playground

Madonna sang it as La Isla Bonita and reinforced the motto. Today, neither hurricanes nor political strife discourage VIP and wealthy vacationers from enjoying this tropical getaway.

portfolio, Got2Globe, Travel photography, images, best photographs, travel photos, world, Earth
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Portfolio Got2globe

The Best in the World – Got2Globe Portfolio

bangka, lake kayangan, coron, busuanga, philippines
History
Coron, Busuanga, Philippines

The Secret but Sunken Japanese Armada

In World War II, a Japanese fleet failed to hide off Busuanga and was sunk by US planes. Today, its underwater wreckage attract thousands of divers.
Islands
Hailuoto Island, Finland

Fishing for Truly Fresh Fish

Sheltered from unwanted social pressures, the islanders of Hailuoto they know how to sustain themselves. Under the icy sea of ​​Bothnia they capture precious ingredients for the restaurants of Oulu, in mainland Finland.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Literature
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
São Miguel Island, Dazzling Colors by Nature
Nature
São Miguel (Azores), Azores

São Miguel Island: Stunning Azores, By Nature

An immaculate biosphere that the Earth's entrails mold and soften is displayed, in São Miguel, in a panoramic format. São Miguel is the largest of the Portuguese islands. And it is a work of art of Nature and Man in the middle of the North Atlantic planted.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
very coarse salt
Natural Parks
Salta and Jujuy, Argentina

Through the Highlands of Deep Argentina

A tour through the provinces of Salta and Jujuy takes us to discover a country with no sign of the pampas. Vanished in the Andean vastness, these ends of the Northwest of Argentina have also been lost in time.
Cilaos, Reunion Island, Casario Piton des Neiges
UNESCO World Heritage
Cilaos, Reunion Island

Refuge under the roof of the Indian Ocean

Cilaos appears in one of the old green boilers on the island of Réunion. It was initially inhabited by outlaw slaves who believed they were safe at that end of the world. Once made accessible, nor did the remote location of the crater prevent the shelter of a village that is now peculiar and flattered.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Characters
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Dominican Republic Balnear de Barahona, Balneario Los Patos
Beaches
Barahona, Dominican Republic

The Bathing Dominican Republic of Barahona

Saturday after Saturday, the southwest corner of the Dominican Republic goes into decompression mode. Little by little, its seductive beaches and lagoons welcome a tide of euphoric people who indulge in a peculiar rumbear amphibian.
Djerba Island of Tunisia, Amazigh and its camels
Religion
Djerba, Tunisia

The Tunisian Island of Conviviality

The largest island in North Africa has long welcomed people who could not resist it. Over time, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs called it home. Today, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities continue an unusual sharing of Djerba with its native Berbers.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
On Rails
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
Creepy Goddess Graffiti, Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, USA, United States America
Society
The Haight, San Francisco, USA

Orphans of the Summer of Love

Nonconformity and creativity are still present in the old Flower Power district. But almost 50 years later, the hippie generation has given way to a homeless, uncontrolled and even aggressive youth.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
Devils Marbles, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path
Wildlife
Alice Springs to Darwin, Australia

Stuart Road, on its way to Australia's Top End

Do Red Center to the tropical Top End, the Stuart Highway road travels more than 1.500km lonely through Australia. Along this route, the Northern Territory radically changes its look but remains faithful to its rugged soul.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
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