Istanbul is a strange place; half European and half Asian, it is one steeped in history and tradition, with it’s imposing Mosques and Cathedrals, and elaborate palaces’ that reminisce of a time where the Sultans once ruled the Empire. It is also one of Europe’s largest metropolitan cities, being a popular destination for tourists and artists alike. It is this mix of tradition and culture between the two continents that I found most fascinating about my recent trip to this impressive city.
I was lucky enough to get this opportunity to go to Istanbul with my art college, in which we were asked to produce a sketchbook documenting our surroundings, to hopefully inspire us for our next projects, and I feel confident in saying that it definitely has. As an aspiring set designer, the architecture, colours, food, people, and even shopping, has been a source of inspiration that I plan to take forward into a story based on the Arabian Nights where I will design the sets.
From the moment I got there the city felt magical, as I was awoken in the early hours of the morning by the Call to Prayer; it was beautiful, yet haunting, because as you can imagine it was very surreal to be awoken to, as it sounded as if the entire city was singing. I continued to be surprised and intrigued by my surroundings, as I visited the famous Blue Mosque; where the walls are covered from floor to ceiling in hand-painted blue tiles, the Basilica Cistern; a mysterious place, thousands of years old, deep underground, where fishes swim amongst ancient roman columns, and the Grand Bazar; a labyrinth of stalls selling their wares from carpets and lamps to jewels and spices, all to name but a few.
I definitely recommend visiting this incredible city where there is such a diverse range of people and cultures, and I can assure you that down every little street you turn, you will stumble across something unexpected.