08 June 2008

Istanbul, Not Constantinople

"I love the burning odors
this glowing region heaves;
And round each gilded lattice,
the trembling writhing leaves;
And beneath the bending palm;
the gayly gushing spring;
And on the snow-white minaret,
the stork with snowy wing."
- Victor Hugo, "The Turkish Captive" from Eastern Poems (1829)

In a small boat, we crossed the Bosporus and the Golden Horn from western Istanbul into Anatolia: Asia Minor. We were no longer in Europe. Looking back across the Sea of Marmara, the sun glinted off the tall minarets of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia. It was late afternoon and the adhan began to echo through the narrow stone alleyways and winding passages. The muezzin's hypnotic call-to-prayer, beautiful and haunting, reminded us just how far outside ourselves we had traveled.
KJT - Istanbul, Turkey (1998)

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