Balat – Istanbul, Turkey

Earlier this year, we went to Istanbul, a culturally rich city with a long history.   I had a chance to see and photograph architecture, human life in a natural setting and great landscapes. This blog post will be the first of many Istanbul posts I will be writing in the near future.

So, you would think, I would start with an iconic landmark like the Hagia Sophia, a palace or a UNESCO site. No, not this contrarian.

Today, I would like to show you a neighborhood in Istanbul called Balat. Historically, Balat was a place where Jews, Greeks, Armenian Christians and Muslim Turks dwelled together. Today, the demographics are much different. It is poor but on the way up.

Balat is a neighborhood of contrasts. Some buildings are in unacceptable condition, but new boutique shops and cafes are on the rise. It is becoming trendy.

There was a small café that had some cool retro decorations on the walls. There was a hand made paper menu with the appropriate stains that you could order your tea and coffee from. Very quaint.

For some children, with a hollowed out building in the background, all they needed to be happy, was a football (soccer ball for the Americans) and some friends. As an American living in Europe now, I can appreciate how with just a ball and nothing else, children and young adults can entertain themselves for hours. Rich or poor, young or old, on a fancy field or just a street, with football everyone is the same. It is all about fun and talent. I digress.

Wandering the streets, I was taking photos and we stumbled upon a workshop that wasn’t open to the public. In this studio, they were making by hand for the film industry, armored plates soldiers used to wear, similar to those you would see on a Game of Thrones. Why here in the middle of Balat? Why not?

I wrote in an earlier blog post, that it is very important to allow yourself the time to wander and discover. The workshop experience would never have happened, if we didn’t allow it. So if after you have seen the obligatory Istanbul sites go drift in Balat. Balat is definitely a place where you, through your memories or your images, can Capture the Unique.

The Saga continues…

Review All The Photos As A Slideshow