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 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
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.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
Colonial Church of San Francisco de Assis, Taos, New Mexico, USA
Architecture & Design
Taos, USA

North America Ancestor of Taos

Traveling through New Mexico, we were dazzled by the two versions of Taos, that of the indigenous adobe hamlet of Taos Pueblo, one of the towns of the USA inhabited for longer and continuously. And that of Taos city that the Spanish conquerors bequeathed to the Mexico: Mexico gave in to United States and that a creative community of native descendants and migrated artists enhance and continue to praise.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
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.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

The Pueblos del Sur Locainas, Their Dances and Co.

From the beginning of the XNUMXth century, with Hispanic settlers and, more recently, with Portuguese emigrants, customs and traditions well known in the Iberian Peninsula and, in particular, in northern Portugal, were consolidated in the Pueblos del Sur.
Chihuahua, Mexico City, pedigree, Deza y Ulloa
chihuahua, Mexico

¡Ay Chihuahua !

Mexicans have adapted this expression as one of their favorite manifestations of surprise. While we wander through the capital of the homonymous state of the Northwest, we often exclaim it.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Iguana in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Yucatan, Mexico

The Sidereal Murphy's Law That Doomed the Dinosaurs

Scientists studying the crater caused by a meteorite impact 66 million years ago have come to a sweeping conclusion: it happened exactly over a section of the 13% of the Earth's surface susceptible to such devastation. It is a threshold zone on the Mexican Yucatan peninsula that a whim of the evolution of species allowed us to visit.
Fort São Filipe, Cidade Velha, Santiago Island, Cape Verde
Cidade Velha, Cape Verde

Cidade Velha: the Ancient of the Tropico-Colonial Cities

It was the first settlement founded by Europeans below the Tropic of Cancer. In crucial times for Portuguese expansion to Africa and South America and for the slave trade that accompanied it, Cidade Velha became a poignant but unavoidable legacy of Cape Verdean origins.

Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Cebu, Mactan, Philippines, The Swamp of Magellan
Mactan, Cebu, Philippines

Magellan's Quagmire

Almost 19 months of pioneering and troubled navigation around the world had elapsed when the Portuguese explorer made the mistake of his life. In the Philippines, the executioner Datu Lapu Lapu preserves the honors of a hero. In Mactan, his tanned statue with a tribal superhero look overlaps the mangrove swamp of tragedy.
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Honiara e Gizo, Solomon Islands

The Profaned Temple of the Solomon Islands

A Spanish navigator baptized them, eager for riches like those of the biblical king. Ravaged by World War II, conflicts and natural disasters, the Solomon Islands are far from prosperity.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
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.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
Cilaos, Reunion Island, Casario Piton des Neiges
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.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
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.
PN Timanfaya, Mountains of Fire, Lanzarote, Caldera del Corazoncillo
Natural Parks
PN Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

PN Timanfaya and the Fire Mountains of Lanzarote

Between 1730 and 1736, out of nowhere, dozens of volcanoes in Lanzarote erupted successively. The massive amount of lava they released buried several villages and forced almost half of the inhabitants to emigrate. The legacy of this cataclysm is the current Martian setting of the exuberant PN Timanfaya.
Aswan, Egypt, Nile River meets Black Africa, Elephantine Island
UNESCO World Heritage
Aswan, Egypt

Where the Nile Welcomes the Black Africa

1200km upstream of its delta, the Nile is no longer navigable. The last of the great Egyptian cities marks the fusion between Arab and Nubian territory. Since its origins in Lake Victoria, the river has given life to countless African peoples with dark complexions.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
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.
Magnificent Atlantic Days
Morro de São Paulo, Brazil

A Divine Seaside of Bahia

Three decades ago, it was just a remote and humble fishing village. Until some post-hippie communities revealed the Morro's retreat to the world and promoted it to a kind of bathing sanctuary.
church, our lady, virgin, guadalupe, mexico
San Cristóbal de las Casas a Campeche, Mexico

A Relay of Faith

The Catholic equivalent of Our Lady of Fátima, Our Lady of Guadalupe moves and moves Mexico. Its faithful cross the country's roads, determined to bring the proof of their faith to the patroness of the Americas.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
A kind of portal
Little Havana, USA

Little Havana of the Nonconformists

Over the decades and until today, thousands of Cubans have crossed the Florida Straits in search of the land of freedom and opportunity. With the US a mere 145 km away, many have gone no further. His Little Havana in Miami is today the most emblematic neighborhood of the Cuban diaspora.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Cliffs above the Valley of Desolation, near Graaf Reinet, South Africa
Graaf-Reinet, South Africa

A Boer Spear in South Africa

In early colonial times, Dutch explorers and settlers were terrified of the Karoo, a region of great heat, great cold, great floods and severe droughts. Until the Dutch East India Company founded Graaf-Reinet there. Since then, the fourth oldest city in the rainbow nation it thrived at a fascinating crossroads in its history.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.