June 14, 2007

"You have such a beautiful daughter! May I marry her?... Will you at least visit my carpet store?"

Nina's in Istanbul... with pics. Like this one:

23 comments:

Seven Machos said...

I think I've been to that place. Istanbul is such a beautiful chaos. I suggest walking around the streets where the shops are, near but not in the giant mall of touristy stores.

There's a great potato restaurant in Taksim. And a Little Caesar's.

Synova said...

:-) People don't like to say no. They'd rather say yes. So he asks a "no" question and follows it with an easy "yes" question.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You know, Muslim countries have some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Then I watch on the news tonight whats going on in Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq and wonder how a people who can create such beauty be so &@^@%ing destructive.

Jennifer said...

I think I've seen that place on a movie called Le Grand Voyage. Stunning pictures from Nina, as usual.

Ron said...

If she had only married her off! Such a price break on a carpet she would have gotten! Americans! Never thinking...

Jeff said...

"Hoosier Daddy said...

You know, Muslim countries have some of the most beautiful architecture in the world."

Yes, they certainly know which cultures to parrot once the've been reduced to dhimmitude.

Dave F said...

Been there. Ex-wife was half-Turkish. Beautiful country, even more beautiful women.

And the carpet stores. They spot Americans a mile away.

Dave F said...

Lebanon is not a "Muslim country" but rather a country riven by religious/ethnic strife. Many of its Arabs are Christian, not Muslim.

Nor is Gaza strictly a "Muslim country" because it is not a country per se.

That said, much architecture in the Muslim world is quite beautiful.

tjl said...

"how a people who can create such beauty be so &@^@%ing destructive."

The Hagia Sophia was the work of Byzantine Greeks, a century before Islam was invented.

Dave F said...

My understanding is that the Hagia Sophia as it was built by the Greeks is somewhat different than what we have today. Muslim engineers/architects fortified it against earthquakes; in some sense the building is very much an example of Muslim architecture.

Ann Althouse said...

"And the carpet stores. They spot Americans a mile away."

Nina's not too identifiable as American. She grew up in Poland.

Dave F said...

I would think that Poles look more American than they do Turkish. Especially the Polish woman at the blog you link to, who, I presume, is Nina?

tjl said...

"Muslim engineers/architects fortified it against earthquakes; in some sense the building is very much an example of Muslim architecture."

The building survived quite well without Muslim intervention from 532 until 1453. The Muslim contributions consisted of plastering over mosaics which include some of the most exquisite examples of Byzantine art, destroying the icons and altarpieces, and affixing the massive Koranic plaques which spoil the lines of the nave. The Muslim prayer niche installed by the Turks is at an oblique angle to the main axis of the church and visibly clashes with it.

In no way is the Hagia Sophia an example of Muslim art, except insofar as it served as the model for the mosques of Istanbul.

Ann Althouse said...

Nina's a lawprof here. She's in a photo at the link, so go there and see if she fits your stereotype.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Nina's not too identifiable as American. She grew up in Poland.

I assume you mean by dress and language but I'm pretty much 98% Polish (3rd generation with a touch of Hungarian) and she doesn't look too much different than my Mom, in terms of features.

Karen said...

tjl is absolutely correct on his facts about the Hagia Sophia. Recently a documentary on it was shown on National Geographic, too.

boston70 said...

Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities I have been to-thanks for sharing this picture.

Seven Nachos definition "beautiful chaos" is perfect.

It is a fascinating place where east meets west and for the most part it seems to work.

Whenever anyone asks me where I would recommend they travel to I always say Istanbul.

Many of the women there are stunning also.

Who's Nina?

PatCA said...

Yes, there was a series about the underworld of major cities, and Istanbul was one. It was Tivo-worthy even if the host was over the top. And, yes, tjl, is right, and the minarets were added later by the Muslims as well.

And not to harsh this traveler's mellow, but isn't the reason they were kicked out of prayers because they were infidels, not distractions?

MadisonMan said...

Istanbul, not Constantinople?

Jeff said...

It will always be Byzantium to me...

nina said...

I have a huge camera suspended from my neck. I don't try to hide who I am. But as for languages thrown at me at the markets? They rarely start with English and never Polish.

Just for those who do not recognize the photo -- it's the "no.2" mosque in Istanbul. Not Hagia Sophia, but a response to it -- the Blue Mosque. Insofar as you find it beautiful (the tiles! oh, the tiles!), you have to give credit to Sultan Ahmet I. Hagia Sophia, pictured on my blog earlier in the post, is of course, Justinian's (from the time of Byzantium), a thousand years older than its "blue" cousin.

As for destructiveness - hmmm. Istanbul thrived because the Ottoman Empire was so, well, expansive. With its collapse after WWI, the city quickly lost much of its glitter and glory. But I hardly recognize it from the Istanbul I visited thrity years ago! What a turnaround in recent years!

Finally, I did pause before I said no to the marriage proposal (to my daughter). The carpets are indeed magnificent. I mean, really beautiful. She could always divorce the guy if it didn't work out.

Michael McNeil said...

tjl writes:
The building [Hagia Sophia] survived quite well without Muslim intervention from 532 until 1453.

Not quite. The great cathedral's original dome fell in an earthquake in 558, a mere twenty years after the church's original completion, and was rebuilt by 563 as a slightly less flat dome — which has survived very well for a millennium and a half ever since. Not that this is cause for complacency, as Constantinople lies big-time in earthquake country, but it is a remarkable survival for that ancient building, and a tribute to the architectural skills of the designers, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, for it to have survived intact for so long.

Cabbage said...

One of my favorite ancient legends is that, when he stepped for the first time into the recently-completed Hagia Sofia, Justinian uttered, "Solomon, I have bested thee".

Russia came darn close to taking Constantinople in the late 19th century. I don't doubt for a moment that one of their first acts would have been to begin Orthodox services in Hagia Sofia. Imagine what a flash-point that would be today.