When I think of Istanbul I think of rich color. The color of the Bosphorous, a lustrous blue, that is echoed in the Iznik tiles within the Mosques. I think of the fresh tasting colorful Turkish food including pomegranates, cheeses and spice; and the natural colors held within the patterns of the Turkish and Islamic carpets, textiles, stonework, inlay and carvings.
I also think of the topography of the land and the layers of history held within the fabric of the city: from the Byzantine ruins, to Islamic Mosques. Istanbul (Constantinople) became the Ottoman Capital in the late 15th Century after the Ottoman Dynasty rose to power. At the height of the Ottoman Empire it extended over three continents; from Algeria to Iraq and included the Holy Sites of Mecca and Medina. The wealth of the Empire is reflected in this diverse cultural landscape and arts. Their textiles and fine arts of that time do not depict human or animal figures so as to set them apart from artefacts in Iran.
I spent time walking through the winding narrow streets of Tunel, visited the Spice and Grand Bazaars in Pasa, and enjoyed the Cemberlitas Hamami an ancient Turkish Bath built in 1584 AD by Royal Architect Sinan. My experiences in Istanbul were greatly assisted by my host, translator and guide Arda Gokger.