Jerkin’ it in Istanbul

Posted: February 27, 2012 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives

What is going on here is something that is hard to imagine until you have experienced the sight, sounds, smells and sheer commotion. It’s a world that has thousands of years of history – structures, relics and jewels to prove it. There will always be myths that linger and religious individuals who claim to know the truth.

It is a city that struggles with the clash between modernity and religion – a cosmopolitan city rich with culture and life, straddling the past and the future. Inevitably the two will mix. It is a cultural hub with an energetic younger generation in a city that is just beginning to flourish in the modern world.

The busiest stretches of traffic on Erie Boulevard barely compare; the traffic is nonsensical and obeying signals is only a suggestion. Rather than the casual ‘j-walker’ on Marshall Street, the cars must avoid hitting the many people who cross the streets at any time, in all directions, just because they will. Biking should be forbidden because it’s no exaggeration when people say it is merely a suicide attempt. The cobblestone streets are like puzzles, too difficult to walk on with heels – a definite challenge for the female population on any campus.

Alongside the swarming streets, vendors sit at their stands selling cooked chestnuts and hot apple tea, to name a few. Five times a day the “call to prayer” sounds and the devoted Muslims join for prayer. The call has been heard for centuries; its echoes reverberate long after it’s gone. The noise of bells and clocks is nonexistent and from my own experience, time is not of the essence.

A place unlike any other, Istanbul can be pictured as a colorful city that is culturally booming. Constantly flowing with throngs of people and droves of cars, every turn different from the last, the city seems to be in a constant mood of excitement with a younger generation anxiously waiting for what’s to come.

-Beatrice Schachenmayr

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