Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The weather's kind of horrid, so this, for now, is the last batch of Istanbul buildings photos. I promise. But as soon as the sun is back, I'll run to take more - I can't help it. (All photos from this trip are here.)












The dark building with roses and other Art Nouveau stuff, located in Sirkeci, got me thinking about being a tourist vs being a local - and about being something in between. It reminded me of my day trip to Vyborg in 2004 (the text on this trip is still there, at the wonderful site of The Morning News, but where are all the pictures from that trip, I wonder... I can't believe I never posted them anywhere, but I do have a vague memory that I never did...). Anyway, in Vyborg, they've got quite a few buildings that are as beautiful - and as battered as the Sirkeci house (or even worse). And battered means not only photogenic - it also means big problems with sewage, nasty insects and rodents, etc. And as a tourist you go "oh" and "ah" and "how sad what the Soviets/time/etc. did to such beauty" and you take some nice pictures and go home feeling a bit melancholic but quite happy in general - while as a local you are probably cursing your mayor and that guy who runs your neighborhood's communal services (and in Vyborg in 2004 it happened to be someone I used to know as a kid, a charming person, and it hurt a lot to discover that 18 years later he was shoveling shit out of the basement of one of those beautiful buildings - it still hurts to know that, actually). And in Istanbul I go "ah" and "oh" and take some pictures - and then I think of the filth and the decay that one would find inside that beautiful building, and I think of Vyborg - but it's Istanbul, and it doesn't let me think of any one thing for too long really, so I walk on, and end up with this image of the city as a gorgeous creature that keeps shedding its skin, sporadically, here and there and then here again, and some of the new skin doesn't stick, and some ages too fast but refuses to fall off, while some of the really old skin protrudes in the unlikeliest spots, and then there's also the stuff that's buried underground, lots of it, I'm sure, and I do end up feeling dizzy and kind of laugh at myself for having managed to compare Vyborg to Istanbul - what a silly comparison, Veronica.


  1. My dream, Veronica is to win the lottery and buy and restore that building with the roses and make that square in front of the old post office building beautiful (again?) Because I'm sure you're right, it must be a mess inside. So next time I will have to buy a lottery ticket :)