Saturday, March 27, 2010

My favorite mosque

Rustem Pasa Camii

I have visited this mosque on each trip to Istanbul and often many times.

I remember the first time, when Jim and I tired to find the entrance.

As this tiny mosque, is hidden amongst the shops and street vendors of the Egyptian Bazaar.

It is in fact above them you enter, if you can find it through the street stalls and up the stairs you come to a courtyard. There the noise, the crowd, the chaos of the Bazaar disappears.

The mosque is special. It s completely tiled floor to ceiling. The tiles are quiet extraordinary they represent the finest period of Iznik tile production.


Along with tulips and cherry blossoms spring has brought some most interesting lunch venues as well,

Durum, made of spicy bulgur with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, mint and a squeeze of lemon rolled up tight. For 3 lira

The following day I had to part with 5 liras for a very fresh smoked fish sandwich right off the boat.

The golden horn park is across from the university.

So now that it is spring it is the perfect spot for lunch.


Over night the city bloomed

Tulips and cherry trees abound.

The church, St Stephen of Bulgars, in the background is an oddity a neo gothic structure built entirely of cast iron.

Friday, March 26, 2010

everywhere a view

From everywhere in Istanbul there is a view to the seaside, as it is called.

Of course this means that to go anywhere in Istanbul you must walk straight up hill.

I will have to pay more attention once I am back state side, but I do not recall that we fly so many flags so large and stately.

preparing for spring in istanbul

I have to make a note about the dogs and cats of Istanbul

They navigate the city of 15 million as strays; perhaps not really, as they are well taken carry of my everyone. You see businessmen come out of offices with bags of pet food and fresh water. They sleep with out fear. It is really sociologically a very interesting cultural tradition.

And expresses the deep sense of humanity with in this increasingly crowed urban landscape.

The parks are being spruced up.

In a city of 15 million green space is in short supply and precious.

Bikes , you do not see often, perhaps a sign of spring.

And yes the caf├ęs are getting ready too, love that astro turf!

santra istanbul

Santra Istanbul about 25 minutes from the center ( taksim sg) by bus up the golden horn to the very tip.

The museum opened one year ago it is called the TATE modern of Istanbul, it was a former power station and it is a wonderful exhibition space.

I went the last day of Yuksel Arslan’s exhibition he is considered the most important artist of Turkey. Five floors of work and quite interesting…

This little painting I of course love, I have been missing mine in the backyard and having been thinking about an essay by Tom Friedman “birds don’t fly here”.

Note the title of the painting…

I have the past week explored quite a lot of the contemporary art scene there are a hand full of galleries showing interesting work. And more I am certain to be found.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I began Turkish classes today.

I am talking them in the Sultanahmet area, where both Aya Sofia and the Sultanahmet mosque (blue mosque) are.

This is the major tourist area and I avoided going over there till this morning.

The photos speak for themselves there is little one can say of the majestic scale and massiveness of these extraordinary structures.

Gule gule

A typical morning

waiting for the bus.

For the average office worker it begins not with latte but yes, fresh squeezed juice, orange or pomegranate and that for 1 lira!

Okay not such a typical morning for this car right in front of my building!

friends new and old

Nur, my office mate and her family

And Yeshim a former student from RIT.

These bright faces have made me very much at home

With their endless generosity, warm laughter

Monday, March 15, 2010

greek chruch

The next day I took my students from the university on a walk, and I took them through Fener. None of the 16 students had ever been to this area just north of the university.

I took them as well to the Greek Church; I told them it was the only place in Istanbul I knew to be silent. They loved the church, the scent of the candles, and the darkness.

Quiet fun to take an Istanbuler to some place they do not know.


It was a rainy afternoon when I took a walk through Fener, a district just to the north of the university running up the golden horn.

Four-years ago I stayed in a small guesthouse across the street from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, a small church surrounded by mosque and a quite conservative Muslim neighborhood. The church is in fact the worldwide headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church. Note the wire and high walls

Fener is a very old part of the city once a wealthy Greek settlement

It has in the past decades fallen to decay, though lovely architecture.

I learned after my walk and seeing the changes since my visit four years earlier. That the renovations happening have now slowed; the government has stopped the sale of any of these structures to foreigners.

silver lining

Then of course the bright side to the trip to the noter, a new material,

a fluffy web like thick plastic

And it even comes in purple


14 march

I have been in Istanbul two full weeks now, and yes I have been slow at posting

But here’s an excuse.

The mountain of paper work needed for the educational ministry

And then too the residency police required a trip to a noter?

So, my trip to the noter see the sign in the corner next to the largest scarf store in Istanbul I am told.

The noter,

He seems to have one million stamps and enjoys using them all.

Sorry for the blur, I was told not to take a photo but I could not resist.

I counted 18 stamps; this is a translation of my passport!

Yes for the ministry of education

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Galata tower

I live near to the tower.

A Five-minute walk.

I was told that after sunset it was magical to look up

To see the orange stone of the tower against the evening sky


the university

The building was a tobacco factory the main buildings of the university are beautiful renovations of the factory buildings with open spaces and yes interior gardens, with birds!

I teach on the fourth floor this is the view from my classroom window looking back to the Galata tower. ( and my neighborhood)

My walk home, I took the Galata bridge, the underside is a pedestrian walk way with restaurants, as I look back at Suleymaniye mosque at sunset, you see the fishing lines from hanging down from the deck above.