I adore Istanbul – not merely the place but also the people, who are as a whole gentle, kind, sometimes a bit world-weary. A lifetime living in that city would not be enough to experience all it offers.
For those who love the city but do not live there, reading can sometimes fill the gap. One of Istanbul’s best writers, the Nobel Prize-winning Orhan Pamuk explains his complex city in beautiful but melancholic books such as his autobiographical Istanbul: Memories and the City, his 16th-century masterpiece, My Name is Red and his more recent novel, The Museum of Innocence.
If you have the time and you’ve visited the Sultanahmet gems, wander across to the northern bank of the Bosphorus to explore Pamuk’s neighbourhood, Cihangir, and especially his Museum of Innocence, which is both an exploration of his novel as well as a dissection of his city.
Here’s my piece on Cihangir, which was published in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age Travellers as well as online: