Turkey, a land of mosques, minarets, kebaps, of exotic eastern bazaars, the mystery of the sultan's harem and shady-looking characters puffing on hubble-bubbles. Stepping off the plane in Istanbul such preconceptions are immediately strained as you're shepherded through a glittering new terminal, dazzled by acres of pale marble. Outside, a cab or the newly unveiled metro await to whisk you into the city. And still no-one wearing a fez, although the way the driver dodges incessantly between the lanes, leaning on his horn, feels pretty 'eastern'. But there, as envisaged, are the mosques and moustachioed men; the street-traders with trays balanced precariously on their heads and the shoeshine boys. As you step onto the street the evening call to prayer reverberates across the city, an exotic cacophony loaded with eastern flavour. However, not far away you stumble across a trendy café, where the sound of the ezan is drowned out by pop music and carefully preened Istanbullu chat into mobile phones while sipping latte. In fact, modern Turkey falls beyond any conventional mould. Neither convincingly European nor wholly of the Middle East; tradition and modernity co-exist in a dynamic, eye-opening mosaic that justifies its clichéd title as the meeting place of east and west.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.