Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sailing to Byzantium

The blog, One Man’s Treasure, has a gallery of photographs of buildings and portraits from Constantinople from the 1860s to 1920. Writing about the European enclave of Pera, a district located on the European side of Istanbul, Turkey, and now known as Beyoğlu, it notes:

It was inevitable that Madame Blavatsky would turn up in Pera. No 19th century seeker of spiritual truth could leave the city off their itinerary. For these travellers, highly educated and modern thinking, the fractured wail of the muezzins offered a metaphysical awakening. In Constantinople Christianity, a religion most of them had grown up with and reviled, still had an ancient demeanour, as though its essence survived intact. Talmudic scholars sat in doorways running their fingers over ancient texts. Armenian traders offered rugs and silverware from distant places whose uttered names conjured images of desert cities and caravans winding along the Silk Road. The few Muslim women they saw on the street were hidden behind veils, which only added to their allure.

The images can be seen here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments to this blog are subject to moderation, and may appear at our sole discretion, if found to add relevance to the site's topics.