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1001 Faces of Istanbul

Istanbul...
... one of those places difficult to define. Some would call it 'capital of the World' or 'capital of the Empire', others 'cradle of cultures' and others 'the worst place to live'; ' hell on earth'.

I've spent more than 1001 days in this city and I still find it difficult to reply to a simple question: 'What is Istanbul like?' Maybe it's because I have been here too long and I've come to realise that there is no simple answer to this question. Istanbul has many faces, many nuances if you will. It is difficult to explain them to a total stranger or a person who has never visited the city. Even though you have visited the city once, you have probably lifted only one veil from its face. If you were born here, this doesn't make you an Istanbul expert neither.

You have to get to know Istanbul slowly, day by day, page by page, neighbourhood by neighbourhood. This is actually very difficult because neighbourhoods are…

5 Books about Istanbul

This post goes for all the book lovers out there! Here is a short list of books about Istanbul. The list is not a definite since there are many many books written about this city.

CLICK ON TITLES TO GET MORE INFO ABOUT EACH BOOK.

Orhan Pamuk: Istanbul: Memories and the City

The obvious, Pamuk's book about Istanbul and his childhood memories. It's one of my favourite books of Pamuk and I would certainly recommend it to you after your visit in Istanbul. You can also read it before, but if you are totally unfamiliar with the Turkish history and Istanbul, it might be a bit difficult to read it. An absolute must for all of you who would like to know how Istanbul looked liked twenty, thirty, forty (...) years ago. Nostalgic descriptions of old Istanbul.



Ara Güler, nicknamed "The Eye of Istanbul", is one of the most famous Turkish photographers. He joined the Magnum Photos agency and later also left it. His most famous photos show daily life in Istanbul from the 1940's until 1980's. Some of the photos are also included in Pamuk's book Istanbul: Memories and the City. If you like his photography, then you might also his cafe next to Galatasaray High School in the Istiklal Street.


Elif Shafak is one of the most famous Turkish women writers. Most of her books are actually originally written in English and then translated into Turkish. In this book, Istanbul is just a background for a story about Armenian family and the relations between the women members of the family.


"If world was only one country, Istanbul would be its capital." (Napoleon) What Napoleon said in one sentence, Mansel wrote in one book. The book is dedicated to history of Constantinople, from Ottoman the conquest until the end of the Ottoman empire.

Who doesn't know Agatha Christie?? She (and her Hercule Poirot) also visited Istanbul. It is known that during her stay in the city, she was staying in the room 411 of the Pera Palace Hotel. It is in this hotel, where she allegedly wrote the Murder on the Orient Express. If you are a fan of her books, than you should definitely visit the Pera Palace Hotel and the Sirkeci train station - the final stop of the Orient Express.


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