Tuesday, June 24, 2008

There's a post-modern Istanbul too

My photographs could easily lead you to believe that Istanbul is all ancient buildings and horse-drawn carriages, leeches in markets and cats as the new city conquerors but that would be so misleading.

In reality, every age exists in Istanbul and in spectacular ways. Cars are a way of revealing the wealth of a person or family when a home fails to, so cars are huge status symbols and you will see some beautiful vehicles out on the roads.

Gert took this view from the balcony of our friends, a view that became familiar over the 8 nights I had in the city. We were staying in Levent, one of the more affluent neighbourhoods inside the city, with Akmerkez shopping mall just a short walk away.

The Akmerkez complex covers an area of 180,000 m² and is comprised of a four-storey shopping area, with two towers offering 14 and 17 stories of office space, and a third tower with 24 stories of residential areas. The shopping area, offering visitors close to 250 stores, is spread over a triangular area connected to the surrounding main roads through 3 atria. There are 41 escalators, 2 panoramic elevators and 30 elevators providing greater speed and easy access for visitors. 2-2.5 million people visit the shopping center monthly.

Of course, being a foreigner, I'm always going to prefer the atmosphere and colour of the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 58 streets and 6,000 shops, it has between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.


Anonymous said...

I notice that dichotomy in Antwerp too Di.

Last night I went for some "Australian Icecream"(dot be) in front of the historic Antwerp Hilton.

A couple of American tourists were praising the "cute cobble stones" (we hate them, as they damage our cars and make old ladies break their hips), totally ignoring that Belgium is definitively not a collection of quaint streets whith horse-drawn carriages -LOL.

As a tourist, it's natural to focus on the medieval part, as a native, it's often "just your hometown".

I'm looking at Antwerp cathedral right now from my balcony, while numerous tourists are taking vacation shots of that very same cathedral. But for me it's just "part of the city", totally being ignored on my way to the local supermarket.

It's all a question of perspective :-)

Di Mackey said...

You're right Peter. I was thinking of picking up some of the stories I'd planned on finding in Rome and Istanbul, and doing them here too.

Those cobblestones ... pretty but.