Istanbul in the Sun

The first Saturday in December promised to be cloudy, like every other day in recent weeks; but it would probably be rainless, so I spent it outside. Sunday was supposed to be rainy, so I planned on doing mental work indoors. In fact there were showers at dawn, but there was also orange light in the clouds. The clouds eventually cleared up, and I saw that I had better go out again. I returned to the seaside park where I had been the previous weekend; but this time I brought a proper camera.

I took some photos on the way to the park; these have now been incorporated in another article, ”Taksim in Limbo.” They serve to illustrate the previous article, “The Istanbul Seaside,” on that earlier park visit; so do the photos below.

The book that I took to read in the park was Collingwood’s posthumous Principles of History. The editors are disappointed because Collingwood does not give many specific examples of historical inferences. However, Collingwood says explicitly that you must either take his word for what he says, or else find out for yourself by actually doing history. In fact I am engaged in doing history, namely history of mathematics, and this is a reason why I am reading Collingwood.

But I am not going to talk more about that here. Here the point is the photos of Istanbul.


After walking through Taksim, I got on a road that led to a stairway down to the shore road. With the right technique, probably the Bosphorus would be visible in my first photo from the stairway.


The stairway is called Tekke Yokuşu, or “Slope of the Dervish Lodge.”


Fındıklı Parkı


The weather was perfect.



Off in the distance is Dolmabahçe Palace, whither I would later go.



On the north side of the park is Molla Çelebi_Mosque, supposedly built by Sinan the Architect, namesake of our university. In fact the original university building is on the south side of Fındıklı Parkı; but the mathematics department is away inland.



Here is the tree I went looking for the previous weekend. I learned then that the house above to the left had a garden with a lawn overlooking the sea; but the tree was inaccesssible.



In Ankara most flats seemed to have large windows. Ours had floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the street. Windows in Istanbul are not so large, unless they overlook the Bosphorus.



The Dolmabahçe Mosque still has this unkempt little harbor next to it, where a cat may sleep in peace.




I was walking to Beşiktaş to get something to eat. This sent me past the ceremonial entrance of Dolmabahçe Palace, where a changing of the guard just happened to be taking place. I do not know if this ritual is maintained because Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died in the palace. The current head of state despises Mustafa Kemal, but thinks himself worthy of an enormous palace.



The plane trees along the road have little plaques with inventory numbers on them. Further along the road was the entrance to the National Palaces Painting Museum, housed in outbuildings of Dolmabahçe Palace. I returned there after eating at Balkan Lokantası.

Paintings in an imperial palace! I could only think of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. That is much grander, even overwhelming. One can see the Ottoman collection in one go, as I did. A striking painting by Fausto Zonaro showed Mehmet the (soon-to-be) Conqueror, supervising the hauling of ships over land to get around the chain that the Greeks had strung across the mouth of the Golden Horn. The ships were being hauled way up a bare hillside, a hillside now covered with buildings.



Photography was not allowed in the museum. Outside, one had access to the garden of the palace. One could reach the garden, without even entering the museum and buying a ticket. I may take advantage of this garden in future, since finding a quiet place in the city can be difficult (unless one stays home; our flat is in fact rather quiet, at least when construction or renovations are not taking place nearby).





Here one can see the tops of the plane trees that line the road on the other side of the wall. From that side, I have thought there was something suspicious about an emperor who lived behind such a high wall.




Here is the ceremonial gate from the inside. I went out the way that is now open, and I walked home, feeling myself much more a fan of Dolmabahçe Palace than I had felt after guided tours of the interior.

One Trackback

  1. By The Peace of Liberal Education « Polytropy on January 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    […] I came upon the translation by chance, during a browse in a Beşiktaş bookshop. It was Sunday, January 11, 2015, a day of sunshine in Istanbul after several days of snow and rain. We had been enjoying the seaside garden of the Dolmabahçe palace, which I had discovered as being accessible without a ticket. (I wrote about this discovery in an earlier article.) […]

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