Intriguing, Enduring Istanbul
Ancient and ageless, the city on the Bosporus unwraps its secrets at the edge of two continents
Ancient and ageless, the city on the Bosporus unwraps its secrets
Whatever can be said about Istanbul, the word resilience may describe it best. Istanbul, if not Turkey, stands against the centuries of change and conflict – through Greek settlements and Roman conquests, through Muslim penetration and Ottoman domination, through Allied alignment and national independence, through its membership in NATO, to its place today at the forefront of an ever-emerging Middle East predicament.
The pillars of the Blue Mosque present a certain majesty as the sun sets behind the seven hills on which Istanbul was built. The sight stirs awe in the Strait of Bosporus, as passengers on cargo and cruise ships pass between Europe and Asia making their way from the mighty Mediterranean to the land-locked Black Sea.
In this history-laden metropolis the future is busy at work – creating, building, inventing, responding to the demands of a city on the edge. Istanbul is a city that has gambled everything it has on keeping its place as one of the top destinations in the world for business, industry and tourism while aggressively preserving its legacy as guardian to the crossroads of civilization.
While recent months have brought some unfortunate events to Istanbul’s doorstep: a foiled government coup attempt in July, an attack at the international airport the month before, an attack at a tourism site in January, and a geopolitical situation that makes the country vulnerable to, if not right at the epicenter of, the ongoing migrations to Europe from Syria and other volatile territories, Turkey has stood up to these challenges and just kept on going.
In August it opened what is, in fact, the world’s broadest suspension bridge – nearly 200 feet wide, ten lanes across with towers rising more than a thousand feet (the tallest suspension bridge towers in the world) over the Strait of Bosporus. The $3 billionYavuz Sultan Selim Bridge is Istanbul’s third for the crossing of this strategic waterway.
Meanwhile, a third of the first phase of Istanbul’s new airport was recently completed – a project touted to be the largest project so far in Turkey’s modern history. The project began in May 2015 and is expected to be capable of handling some 200 million passengers annually as well as flights to some 350 destinations when finally completed. The first phase completion, with a goal for managing