What is "The Soul of Istanbul?" by Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

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The world-renowned travel writer John Freely described Istanbul as a city of magnificence, and stated that the city had an immortal soul. In his poem “Dear Istanbul”, the great Turkish poet Yahya Kemal Beyatlı points out that Istanbul differs from other cities of the world: “The earth displays so many cities whose enchantment gleams, but you are the only one that creates the magical beauties.”

The soul of Istanbul is that very magic. The soul of Istanbul is the sun rising over the Üsküdar, the pigeons of the New Mosque, the scents of spicies at the Egyptian Bazaar, the gypsy florists at Taksim Square, a glass of tea drunk at Pier Loti, the fish counters at the fish market, the Judas trees blooming in spring, the architectural works of the three celestial religions, the yoghurt eaten in Kanlıca, the street Musicians in Cihangir, the old and faithful ferries leaving Kadıköy for Eminönü, the picture drawn on the water in the art of marbling, the lovers whose hair is carressed by he wind on the hillls of Çamlıca, the colors in miniature, the sound of the strings of the lute, the zither and tambur and melancholic evening setting over the Golden Horn.


We would be happy to welcome you as our guest in Istanbul for you to personally see end experience much more.

With my warmest regards.

Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, (2006)

Source: From the photography exhibition book: “The Soul of Isanbul”, p. 2-3

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