NOTES FROM OLD ISTANBUL
The geopolitical position, historic and cultural heritage of Istanbul, the capital city of two major and enduring empires, namely the Roman and Ottoman, render it unique. For almost a century Istanbul, which underwent rapid conversion after the Ottomans conquered it in 1453, tolerated the devastation of the old to make way for the new. While the city’s historical heritage was demolished with the restructuring, memories of the centuries were gradually erased. Istanbul lost many of the qualities which had previously given it its inimitable spirit; in addition to the fountains, mosques, cisterns and shrines, the distinctive life of the city vanished.
Internationally recognised art historian Prof. Semavi Eyice follows the trail of the lost values of Istanbul in Notes from Old Istanbul. He shows heartbreaking scenes of Istanbul from photographs of places that no longer exist, exposing the effects of careless modernisation on its historical and cultural heritage; a centre of attraction for thousands of years due to its unique geography between Europe and Asia.