Monday, June 02, 2008

Istanbul to Baghdad

On my last trip to Istanbul, I heard and been intrigued by the mention of the existence of a Baghdad Avenue or Bağdat Caddesi in Istanbul. And this time around, as I had to go to the Asian side of Istanbul (mostly I have stayed on the European side), I managed to make it there. In my imagination, this street would feature a bustling marketplace of shops filled with colorful tinkly scarves, overflowing cafes, restaurants and pastanesies hawking sweet and sticky confections chock full of pistachios... It would seem appropriate since some people believe it orignally was part of the road connecting Constantinople with Baghdad.

The reality is something else however. An online source says that Bağdat Caddesi is to the Anatolian side of Istanbul what Istiklal Caddesi is to the Avrupa side. Well, I disagree as Istiklal is a mecca of high street shops, but Bağdat includes haute couture. Ten minutes here was enough to know that this street didn't have anything to offer someone with a pocket as empty as mine. I took a few photos and caught the first Dolmuş back to Kadıköy.
The above photo was taken simply because the shop's name contained 'Baghdad'... Baghdad Curtain.
And this photo is taken on a side street. On the main street, which was apparently narrowed to 2 lanes from 4 lanes in order to accommodate more pedestrians on the sidewalks, there are no vegetable sellers. But here on the side streets, you get no ordinary vegetables like onions and tomatoes, but artichokes!

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