eyes on istanbul

IMG_8777Istanbul is like an open book, an ancient tome, still waiting to be cracked open.  And the flourishing design culture is standing up even to the Hagia Sophia.  From the star-spangled runners to the fake eyelashes, an Istanbul hipster at the design cafe next to the 14th-century Galata Tower in Istanbul.

IMG_8768Anti-mall…the Grand Bazaar is a vast covered-market that encompasses more than 50 streets. Worth visiting for the leather, the excellent knock-off leather and piles of antiquities, like these.

IMG_8790Salt Galata, an exquisite research centre and archive dedicated to design and art… recently opened in a magisterial building that once housed the Ottoman Bank. This is how you enter.

IMG_8799Street food, Istanbul style.  Fresh cilantro, egg, tomato, cheese and salt on warm buns.  Served on a simple fold-up wooden table on a cobblestone street. Toronto has so much to learn.

IMG_8677Country breakfast at a sweet spot, Pell’s Cafe, owned by a financial young whiz turned cafe stylista. Located on the steep street of Bogazkesen Cad. No:68 in Beyoğlu, İstanbul.  A neighbourhood changing, slowly, from conservative ethos to one allowing designer chic boutiques and even the occasional liquor license.

IMG_8644Like many of the indie neighbourhoods in places like San Francisco, New York or Vancouver, Beyoglu is rich with eclectic artist houses, jewellery antiquities and family-run eateries.

IMG_8641and golden textures hanging in the air


somebody’s version of garbage in Istanbul, and total treasure in my mind – even the cat is an aesthetic object.  Santa, if you’re listening, I’ll take one of each!

  1. Barry Irl Ditto said:


    I have long had a fascination with Istanbul / Byzantium / Constantinople. Over my half-dozen visits to this fascinating city, every visit has left me ever deeper in awe.

    Toronto does, indeed, have much to learn from Istanbul and other great world cities. However, there are many, many cities that have much to learn from Toronto and its amazing multiculturalism and ethos of tolerance. These, rather than its public spaces or inventive architecture are what I see as Toronto’s hallmark distinctions, legacy and hopefully greatest lesson to share with the world.

    All my best wishes for the New Year, soon to be upon us.

    Barry Ditto

  2. stephen gary mclaughlin said:

    Thank you….Merry Xmas.

  3. I am saving this for when I visit Istanbul. I always love your writing from your travels, lisa.
    And your pictures always blow me away. Love this post. Perfect dreamy stuff with my pumpkin chai tea (courtesy david’s tea..)

  4. Hi Lisa: thanks for the sidewalk tour of this historical city. Attracted to your images of art and crafts. The ancient buildings must cause one’s senses to flourish. I echo Barry’s thoughts about learning from this experience but Toronto need not take a back seat.
    Enjoyed the article in the Globe re: Winter Light. Thought-provoking as to using design to harvest the sunshine. How would we perform if we follow the sun though the day in winter months?
    Happy New Year and safe journey.

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