“Istanbul. They call it chaos. We call it home.”
Hearing this phrase prior to coming to Turkey, I wondered what it was exactly that made this supposed chaos so desirable, and it isn’t called the City of the World’s Desire for nothing, so what could possibly be so unique and extraordinary about Istanbul? Well, I wasn’t wondering for long. I was quickly awestruck by my first sight of this beautiful city that over 15 million call home.
The fast-paced traffic of pedestrians, taxis, and trains is just the beginning of the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. We’ve ferry hopped from one pier to another (sometimes even back and forth from Europe to Asia) within a blink of an eye. Dogs are barking, ekmek is baking, cigarettes are burning. Çay glasses clink to the pattern of the waves crashing on the Bosphorus. Istanbul has cultivated a vibrancy that is only understood through experience; Ozayr refers to this as the “heartbeat” of the city, where there is constant life and movement and energy. All five senses are illuminated and challenged throughout this exposure, and I have yet to figure out how to approach my entanglement within this unpredictable city. Perhaps I’ll ponder more after another glass of çay…
Seven days in the City of the World’s Desire and I have already fallen head over heels. Visiting sacred mosques, chasing sunsets, tasting unfamiliar cuisine, climbing steep and bumpy roadways to reach our university center; and to think that I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Istanbul is a wildly eccentric, benevolent, complex world. Yes, it’s chaos, but it’s also my new home, and I’m looking forward to the months to come.
Danielle Jurichko – UMN Landscape Architecture Undergraduate