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A million windows gaze on to the fast moving waters of the Bosphorus. The beautiful and strategic straits divide a city and link two continents. But down by the water’s edge they are a world apart, a watery playground for seadogs, fishermen, commuters.
Words by Rose Baring. Photographs by Francesco Venturi
Do you remember Ratty’s advice to Mole in ‘Wind in the Willows’? ‘There is absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.’ It makes you wonder if he has been to Istanbul. This city was built for boating. Perched between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, it straddles the dramatic flooded valley which connects them, The Bosphorus.
Viewed from any of its seven hills, the labyrinthine maze of Istanbul comes to an abrupt halt at the water’s edge, giving way to a watery playground for seadogs, fishermen, commuters and tourists.
Despite the staggered fleet fo vast container ships on the Marmara and the ferries on Istanbul’s natural harbour, The Golden Horn, it is on the Bosphorus that boating reaches its chaotic peak. At dawn, when the rest of the city wakes to the echoing of a hundred calls to prayer, the ferries try out a first tentative blast of the horn.
The European merchants of nineteenth-century Izmir built their gardens in Bornova, below the hills where they loved to shoot and fish. Rosemary Baldwin revisits the home of the Girauds and discovers a haunting reminder of a genteel era. Photographs by Bünyad Dinç
One thousand tons of loose glass cling suspended in the world’s largest unsupported brick dome, an architectural miracle and the last great monument of Roman architecture. By Anthony Bryer
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