Defining the geographic heart of this sprawling city is a difficult proposition. Observationally, Istanbul seems to be a collection of centers. Each center defined by monumental landmarks that are geographically divided from one another. Separated by epoch, mood and datum, each remain magnetically connected, both visually and cognitively, by the spatial breadth and panoramic expanse of big water.
In a city of narrow winding streets, often audaciously steep in nature, the eye constantly seeks the orientation provided by the crowning architectural moments that mark neighborhoods, while visually seeking the river, which is the primary artery and the connector to a triad of divided land masses. The view to water and view from landmark to landmark is the penultimate key to locate your position in this landscape, as well as the defining path guide as you move from point to point.
Additionally, the unique architectural landmarks resting on the crests of these landforms or sited on the river front preview personalities that show the city to be one of distinct contrasts; open, compressed, low, high, steep, flat, rough, sleek, ancient and yet simultaneously connected to the moment. The river corridor provides the grand boulevard of movement and is a (the) primary locus of larger urban public engagement. Alternatively, the tentacles of streets and path that emanate from the water’s edge melt into maze and mystery, are often compact in spatial dimension and facilitate intimate transactional relationships.