History, architecture and pollution: Istanbul

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There is no doubt that Istanbul is a unique metropolitan city that is home to beauty with ugliness. Obviously, history, architecture and environmental pollution welcome you at the same time. You are likely to run into it every time you go out, whether you decide to walk or drive.

Therefore, pollution can be in any form and anywhere. It is unsightly, unappealing, and repulsive to most people. I would like to provide some simple examples which include a range of stain cases such as monotonous and unsightly architecture and design, trash, etc.

A forest area polluted with glass and plastic bags in Büyükada, Princes’ Islands, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Muhammet Ali Güler)

Therefore, this article will tell you where to find architectural and natural beauties and at the same time environmental pollution in Istanbul, through my eyes.

Bittersweet experience

I was fortunate enough to visit Istanbul for a week this summer after a long stay at the house. Istanbul is absolutely one of the top destinations for local and international tourists and there are plenty of websites providing a list of dos and don’ts for tourists. However, from my perspective, the best way to explore Istanbul, believe it or not, is to just walk around the city.

Tourists can experience the real beauties of Istanbul by simply walking around the city. For example, you can take an early morning walk from Üsküdar harbor to Harem bus station. On this trip, tourists should not hesitate to have a cup of Turkish tea and sit in front of the Maiden’s Tower, which has an exceptional history and view unlike many other places in the world. . Tourists could then take the ferry in Üsküdar to Eminönü or Beşiktaş – the European part of Istanbul – and enjoy the views during this 30-minute journey.

Above all, don’t forget to feed the birds. Next, tourists must disembark at Eminönü, home to decades-old fishing boats and where they can stop for lunch and sample local drinks such as pickle juice. Tourists could then walk from this point to Sultanahmet and Beyazıt, where they would find themselves surrounded by the historic and majestic Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque and Istanbul University.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo Shutterstock)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo Shutterstock)

This region is simply so incredible it is indescribable. From there, a walk to Fatih is recommended. On the way, you will likely see the Istanbul Municipality building, as well as the century-old home of Vefa Boza, where their chickpea boza is a must-see.

Another way to really experience the ambience of Istanbul is through the Bosphorus tours or the ferries operating from Eminönü to the islands etc. Visitors will be charmed by the magnificence of historic buildings such as Anadolu Fortress, Beylerbeyi Palace, Selimiye Barracks and Haydarpaşa Terminal, among others. In addition, you can also take a ferry to Eminönü and then take off for the Princes’ Islands of Büyükada or Heybeliada. It is one of the best destinations to enjoy nature like natural beaches.

My sister and I were amazed by the architectural and natural beauties of Istanbul. We even thought about how wonderful it would be to visit these historic places with a historian by our side. I think the older we get and the more we understand the beauty and nature of the universe, the more we tend to admire the wonders around us.

And then we wonder if the people who lived centuries ago were less developed than us. Many would say that these people were no less developed than us. It’s a sad truth that we don’t have many special architectural achievements that set us apart from the rest. There are some – for example Mimar Sinan – who have lived and passed this land, leaving an architectural legacy still admired by people. Unfortunately, even in this century, it seems that these centuries-old structures are without comparison. That is why we must protect them.

Recently my sister and I wandered around at night and early in the morning at the intersection of history, Sultanahmet and Beyazıt districts, where the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, Museum of Arts are located. Turks and Islamics, Topkapı Palace and more. We took the incredible opportunity to pray the Fajr (morning) prayer in Hagia Sophia, which is such a beautiful place; but its interiors need to be kept cleaner.

A walk from Sultanahmet to Beyazıt will bring traditional food and drink such as Sultanahmet Köftesi. Don’t forget to visit the tomb of Sultan Abdulhamid II as well as the Çemberlitaş hammam on the way. At the end, you will be greeted by Beyazıt Mosque with its unique architecture and beautiful patterns.

Pollution in unpleasant forms

A forest area polluted with glass and plastic bags in Büyükada, Princes' Islands, Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Muhammet Ali Güler)

A forest area polluted with glass and plastic bags in Büyükada, Princes’ Islands, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Muhammet Ali Güler)

However, during our travels, my sister and I encountered some unsightly scenes. We saw many areas across the unique islands of Büyükada and Heybeliada where garbage was dumped and left behind. These natural beauties should be kept clean and no mercy should be shown towards environmental polluters. In recent days, the Turkish nation has been grappling with forest fires. And therefore, the highest penalty for these perpetrators is a necessity.

A forest area polluted with glass and plastic bags in Büyükada, Princes' Islands, Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Muhammet Ali Güler)

A forest area polluted with glass and plastic bags in Büyükada, Princes’ Islands, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Muhammet Ali Güler)

Transport rental shops can also be found on the islands. While a few stores have their prices written on the front of the stores, the majority do not. It would be useful for traders to quote exact prices for rental of bicycles and other means of transport.

This way, local and international visitors have no hesitation in interacting with the stores and will know the exact rental cost and avoid sky-high prices. Thus, noise pollution will be avoided. For example, I paid 35 TL ($ 4.1) in Büyükada for a day rental while paying 30 TL ($ 3.5) in Heybeliada. At one point, a store owner asked for 40 TL ($ 4.7).

A forest area polluted with glass and plastic bags in Büyükada, Princes' Islands, Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Muhammet Ali Güler)

A forest area polluted with glass and plastic bags in Büyükada, Princes’ Islands, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Muhammet Ali Güler)

On the other hand, there are individuals and even groups of people who disturb tourists in popular places like Eminönü, Üsküdar and Beşiktaş. Their way of selling is unbearable. For example, I have met those who ask for money, knock on car windows, or run behind cars in heavy traffic to sell roses or other things, which is dangerous for their own safety and the safety of people. conductors. It can obviously be classified as environmental pollution as well as visual pollution.

It is also sad to see tall buildings in Istanbul, which experts say are vulnerable to earthquakes. It is really scary and risky.

We should also provide additional theoretical and practical education in schools regarding tourism and the environment. By doing this, our young people will be more aware of the environment and environmental issues.

First of all, Istanbul is much more than what has been described here. Come explore it for yourself in the post-COVID-19 era.

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