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Turkey: Istanbul-A Life In The City-VIDEO

Published: 30.11.2010
The cars on highway from Sabiha Airport, distant from Istanbul city a couple of kilometres, move slowly ahead. So, it is time enough for the first quick acquaintance with the biggest Turkish town and way of life there.

Gigantic dwelling houses are situated closely one to each other. Groups of Turks are sitting on narrow grass belt behind the drains. Most of them who came here, are dressed in suits. They are squatting on improvised camp-stools made from bricks around small camp-fire, smoking, preparing pic-nic, grilling mutton and discussing.

picnic at highways - Istanbul suburb

Traffic jams in Istanbul are nothing special. The town itself has much more inhabitans than Czech Republic, but this is not strange. The official figures confirm the fact about 16 millions of persons. To tell the truth, in Istanbul are living 19 millions of people at least. From tourist point of view, Istanbul became very popular target. The town is divided between Europe and Asia. Two bridges crossing Bosporus Straits, form the separation line.

The City of Two Continents

The bridges connect and divide Europe and Asia at the same time, as well as both parts (quarters) of the town, but you can soon recognize different life there. The uniformity of Asian quarters is disturbed with some architectonical jewels or Mosque. On the other hand, the European part is changed into unusual mixture of buildings from various past times, greatness or importance.

port at the Marmar seastreets of Istanbulstreets of Istanbul

fishermen, Galati Tower backround

Galati Tower offers the most beautiful outlook for both parts of Istanbul. It was constructed in 1348 and is 60 metres high. You can get upstairs, using the lift. Anyway, a marvellous view is offered also from many hotel restaurants. But, if you try to look for such hotel (provided you are not accommodated there), it could not be too easy. So, in such case, it would be the best way, not to resist the proposal of so called beaters and let to be carried out up to the highest floor (stage) of one of many Istanbul skyscrapers and enjoy the circular views. But the genuine life is streaming downstairs, inside streets of the town, not only in city centre.

No Beaters, no Business

The beaters are to be seen everywhere but they are mostly appearing in the neighbourhood of restaurants, tea-rooms or night clubs. They shout to passers-by, showing restaurant menu, promising reductions and splendid entertainment, when the customers would be ready to get there the meals and drink. To tell the truth, all promises are always kept, and a person who would be allured from them, is really looked after carefully. Especially the women - tourists - who differ, with their behaviour or clothes (dresses), are in contrast with local Turkish women, fully enjoyed their popularity. Except beaters, called as managers, standard waiters are employed there, but these „managers“ - interlinks - give them the orders. So, this function is not quite usual in Czech market.

street vendors - Istanbul

street vendors - Istanbulstreet vendors - Istanbultram tourniquet

„Are you cold?“ the „manager“ asks, observing young lady, hitting the sleeves in benumbed fingers. Not expecting a reply, he orders one young waiter to put off his sack coat and throws it over her shoulders. The glass of beer, (which is of quite good quality), a pack of pea-nuts is served free of charge. The second beer is calculated for account of the restaurant, with an idea to be detained there as long as possible. The women as waitress are not employed in Turkish restaurants. But you can see women working in the kitchen or in backround of the restaurant. So, business in Istanbul is reserved for men only.

Business on Each Step

Street sellers form also an indivisible part of Istanbul way of life. Their moving stands, constructed in such way, in order to be quickly removed, provided police guard is approaching, are offering various scale of subjects, which seem to be impossible to be sold, indeed. So, you can buy moving moustaches, joined with flickering glasses, cats connected with batteries and flickering eyes, up to plastic ring, where you can draw a small wheel, composed from strange ornbaments.

The socks or standard pieces of cloths are also popular articles, offered on the street. So, this year, standard special blue smock-frocks  are very fashionable in Istanbul. You can buy it at each street corner. A couple of meters distant, as these sellers of various spangles and other absurd subjects, you can meet the sellers of chestnuts, pop-corn, fish or various sorts of hazelnuts and almonds. And the chance that somebody would buy these items, is much more higher, as in the first case.

fishermen at Marmar seafishermen's bridgeIstanbul


Al old woman is sitting on the stage, close to subway of tram line. She lives on selling of home-knitted subjects, displayed around on staicase. The pieces considered as the best, she spreaded around her head. But, frankly speaking, she is not the only one, offering something at the subway. The crowds of people are passing by, pressing against each other and pushing those who stopped at one stand, in order to buy something there.

You do not give, you receive - this is a rule, valid not only in football

The other two women are sitting on the stage. They do not sell anything, they beg only. One of them is overcoated in a scarf, nursing two totties on her knees. Several stages upstairs, the second woman is sitting on the earth. She is nursing a boy of at least one hundred kilos weight. But both persons are clean and well arranged. They chose quite interesting locality for their begging, so they cannot be afraid of their livehood.

Small children or old persons try to hide their beggary for selling of pocket paper hankerchieves. Small Turks know very well who could be sorry for them, so they could receive bountiful gifts. So, the women from abroad are very welcome objects, who can scarsely reject their wishes. These children are able one packet of paper handkerchieves even for couple of EUR money. And, frankly speaking, the older beggars are not successfull in this respect.

shop on the roof - Istanbul

Text/photo/video: Klára Svobodová

Translation: ing. Jan Jonáš

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