Grand Bazaar

The Turkish Connection: What Kathmandu can learn from Istanbul?

Posted by admin on March 01, 2015
CitiSights, KathmanduWalks, OtherCities, OtherWorlds / No Comments

Ferry ride in Bosphorus, Istanbul

Looking at the Galata Tower from the Bosphorus straits in Istanbul, the part of my mind given to making comparisons reminded me of Kathmandu’s Dharahara. Both are nine-story tall (Galata stands at 66.9 m, just a little taller than Dharahara’s 61.8 m). Dharahara, also called Bhimsen Tower, was Kathmandu’s tallest structure when it was built in 1832, and so was the conical-shaped Galata when it was constructed in 1348. And both towers command a huddle of tightly-packed houses and buildings in the heart of the respective cities.

Though Kathmandu’s Dharahara cannot match the architectural splendor of Galata Tower, the likeness between the two cities of antiquity doesn’t end here.

To start with, writers and poets sometimes invoke Kathmandu’s  historical names – “Kantipur” and “Kasthamandup” – to call to mind the city’s former beauty while Istanbul could be referred to by many as “Constantinople”. (The Istanbul guide book I was carrying mentioned a certain Lale Pudding Shop at Divanyolu neighborhood, calling it the“fabled halfway point to Kathmandu of 60’s hippie lore”). And if Kathmandu is the City of Gods with hundreds of beautiful temples, shrines, stupas and monasteries in ancient city squares, palaces, narrow alleyways, and street corners  Istanbul is the City of Mosques. The first thing that strikes visitors to this city are the imposing, visually stunning domes and edifices of mosques which dot the city. The former imperial city that served as the capital of four empires – Megarian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman, making it the crossroads of various civilisations –  has altogether 3,113 mosques, minarets and madrashas. Continue reading…

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Time traveling

Posted by admin on January 09, 2015
CitiSights, KathmanduWalks, OtherCities, OtherWorlds / 1 Comment

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Our Turkish guide said she moved back to Istanbul after breaking up with her boyfriend
To a friend of mine walking beside her, and I mutely followed their conversation
These three ladies, now ahead of me, walking close together, stopping for shopping, conversing, laughing, window-browsing in the thriving streets of the Grand Bazaar
Blah blah blah blah.. I wanted to start a new life, our guide said, blah blah blah… perhaps also allow him to forget…

The covered market illuminated with yellow lights from rows of shops selling carpets, jewellery; dealers of silk, shoes, Turkish bric-a-brac drinking tea
Stretched and stretched, charming my mind into its groove, transporting me many years back
A sweaty boy accompanying his mother, aunt and cousin sisters during the elaborate festive shopping spree in Ason
Carrying bags of merchandise, foodstuffs, trailing behind the ladied who strut around in evening bazaar bustle Continue reading…

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