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.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Safari
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
by the shadow
Architecture & Design
Miami, USA

A Masterpiece of Urban Rehabilitation

At the turn of the 25st century, the Wynwood neighbourhood remained filled with abandoned factories and warehouses and graffiti. Tony Goldman, a shrewd real estate investor, bought more than XNUMX properties and founded a mural park. Much more than honoring graffiti there, Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District, the great bastion of creativity in Miami.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
Adventure
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
Bertie in jalopy, Napier, New Zealand
Ceremonies and Festivities
Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s

Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.
Fremantle port and city in Western Australia, female friends in pose
Cities
Fremantle, Australia

The Bohemian Harbor of Western Australia

Once the main destination for British convicts banished to Australia, Fremantle evolved into the great port of the Big Island West. And at the same time, into a haven for artists aussies and expatriates in search of lives outside the box.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Meal
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Casa Menezes Braganca, Chandor, Goa, India
Culture
Chandor, Goa, India

A True Goan-Portuguese House

A mansion with Portuguese architectural influence, Casa Menezes Bragança, stands out from the houses of Chandor, in Goa. It forms a legacy of one of the most powerful families in the former province. Both from its rise in a strategic alliance with the Portuguese administration and from the later Goan nationalism.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Sport
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Princess Yasawa Cruise, Maldives
Traveling
Maldives

Cruise the Maldives, among Islands and Atolls

Brought from Fiji to sail in the Maldives, Princess Yasawa has adapted well to new seas. As a rule, a day or two of itinerary is enough for the genuineness and delight of life on board to surface.
Tabatô, Guinea Bissau, tabanca Mandingo musicians. Baidi
Ethnic
Tabato, Guinea Bissau

The Tabanca of Mandinga Poets Musicians

In 1870, a community of traveling Mandingo musicians settled next to the current city of Bafatá. From the Tabatô they founded, their culture and, in particular, their prodigious balaphonists, dazzle the world.
portfolio, Got2Globe, Travel photography, images, best photographs, travel photos, world, Earth
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Portfolio Got2globe

The Best in the World – Got2Globe Portfolio

Table Mountain view from Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa.
History
Table Mountain, South Africa

At the Adamastor Monster Table

From the earliest times of the Discoveries to the present, Table Mountain has always stood out above the South African immensity South African and the surrounding ocean. The centuries passed and Cape Town expanded at his feet. The Capetonians and the visiting outsiders got used to contemplating, ascending and venerating this imposing and mythical plateau.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Islands
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Oulu Finland, Passage of Time
Winter White
Oulu, Finland

Oulu: an Ode to Winter

Located high in the northeast of the Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu is one of Finland's oldest cities and its northern capital. A mere 220km from the Arctic Circle, even in the coldest months it offers a prodigious outdoor life.
Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Literature
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

Almada Negreiros was born in April 1893, on a farm in the interior of São Tomé. Upon discovering his origins, we believe that the luxuriant exuberance in which he began to grow oxygenated his fruitful creativity.
Maori Haka, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand
Nature
bay of islands, New Zealand

New Zealand's Civilization Core

Waitangi is the key place for independence and the long-standing coexistence of native Maori and British settlers. In the surrounding Bay of Islands, the idyllic marine beauty of the New Zealand antipodes is celebrated, but also the complex and fascinating kiwi nation.
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.
Namibe, Angola, Cave, Iona Park
Natural Parks
Namibe, Angola

Incursion to the Angolan Namibe

Discovering the south of Angola, we leave Moçâmedes for the interior of the desert province. Over thousands of kilometers over land and sand, the harshness of the scenery only reinforces the astonishment of its vastness.
One against all, Sera Monastery, Sacred Debate, Tibet
UNESCO World Heritage
Lhasa, Tibet

Sera, the Monastery of the Sacred Debate

In few places in the world a dialect is used as vehemently as in the monastery of Sera. There, hundreds of monks, in Tibetan, engage in intense and raucous debates about the teachings of the Buddha.
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.
Glass Bottom Boats, Kabira Bay, Ishigaki
Beaches
Ishigaki, Japan

The Exotic Japanese Tropics

Ishigaki is one of the last islands in the stepping stone that stretches between Honshu and Taiwan. Ishigakijima is home to some of the most amazing beaches and coastal scenery in these parts of the Pacific Ocean. More and more Japanese who visit them enjoy them with little or no bathing.
Police intervention, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Religion
Jaffa, Israel

Unorthodox protests

A building in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, threatened to desecrate what ultra-Orthodox Jews thought were remnants of their ancestors. And even the revelation that they were pagan tombs did not deter them from the contestation.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
Saphire Cabin, Purikura, Tokyo, Japan
Society
Tokyo, Japan

Japanese Style Passaport-Type Photography

In the late 80s, two Japanese multinationals already saw conventional photo booths as museum pieces. They turned them into revolutionary machines and Japan surrendered to the Purikura phenomenon.
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.
Asian buffalo herd, Maguri Beel, Assam, India
Wildlife
Maguri Bill, India

A Wetland in the Far East of India

The Maguri Bill occupies an amphibious area in the Assamese vicinity of the river Brahmaputra. It is praised as an incredible habitat especially for birds. When we navigate it in gondola mode, we are faced with much (but much) more life than just the asada.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.