Thursday's Child: Taksim Square, Istanbul

Thursday, June 6, 2013


As I wrote last week, travelling makes the world seem smaller, and sometimes helps me understand what’s happening internationally.  The downside is that sometimes it means my heart is breaking as I read the news.

This week, Istanbul's Taksim Square has been in the headlines.  What began as a protest against the removal of trees from a city park has turned into a widespread protest against the government, and a subsequent crackdown on the demonstrators.  And what might be just another international story becomes personal as I remember our family stopping in Taksim Square on an ordinary day to feed the pigeons.  From there, we walked down the beautiful Istiklal Caddesi, a shopping street open only to pedestrians.  It was a Sunday afternoon, and as tourists we were in the minority; it was very much an area where the locals came to shop.  Lined with bookstores, boutiques and restaurants, it was lovely yet familiar.  We could have eaten at McDonald’s if we wanted (we didn’t).  A tram ran up the middle of the street for anyone who chose not to walk.  

Istanbul is a city with glorious antiquity.  We'll never forget visiting Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, and many other wonderful reminders of the past.  But we were delighted to spend a few hours in the modern section, rubbing shoulders with the people who actually live and work in the city.

A city that is now holding its breath, waiting to see what happens next.



15 comments:

Belinda said...

Istanbul is one of the best places in the world!

Valerie said...

Nothing feels solid and certain in this these topsy-turvy times. But I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to visit Istanbul someday, and experience it in the same authentic way you did. :)

Laura Dembowski said...

I have always wanted to visit Turkey. It looks like a very interesting country.

Liz Berg said...

My dad was just reminiscing about his visit to Istanbul given the latest news reports. I hope things calm down.

PS...always love your travel photos :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Heart breaking. I can't imagine how hard it is to heara this when you've got a connection. I hope things settle for the people there.

yummychunklet said...

So jealous of all your travels!

Kathy said...

It is sad to see all the turmoil in the world! Heart breaking actually! I have cousins in Lebanon, I worry all the time that the fighting in Syria will spill over into Lebanon.

Bonnie said...

It seems the world has become more secular and unstable. And I do think there is a connection. I always feel sad when something in an area where I have made a connection.

I always enjoy reading your travel pieces. How fortunate your children are to be exposed to so many different cultures. What an education. Hugs, Bonnie

Guru Uru said...

Istanbul looks simply beautiful :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

bakewithjill.com said...

What a lovely, peaceful memory of Istanbul.

Monet said...

Traveling does expand your world...and also makes your heart more vulnerable to breaking. I went to Egypt one year before all the violence erupted. I remember having similar feelings. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us Beth. It makes us all more aware of the world we live in!

grace said...

what a timely post, beth! for the record, i'm glad you skipped mickey d's. :)

Needful Things said...

These are crazy times!
Your post resonated with me since I was equally as heartbroken to read of the problems in beautiful Istanbul right now. It's truly a lovely city, so gorgeous and the Turkish are such warm, friendly people. Hoping things look up for them soon!

Barbara said...

The way I look at it is this: you saw it at its best. It makes me sad to read what's going on in our world but you have the memories. Your travels are a wonderful education for your children and we reap the benefits with your posts.

Pachecopatty said...

I hope things calm down for the people of Istanbul-we were fortuante to visit several years ago but would love to return one day ;-)

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