An Anatolian Town in the Heart of Istanbul

“I feel like living in an Anatolian town in the heart of İstanbul…” says Suna Hanım to express her adoration for Kuzguncuk. What she means by Anatolian town is a place where everyone knows, greets, helps each other, where everyone is equal and together.

  • 10.01.2017
  • Şeyma Çakan

The place where one feels most comfortable and peaceful is the side of her/his family and loved ones. Such a shelter is virtually a blessing when you reach spiritually a dead end. At the moment when you feel loneliest, even if you see and greet your acquaintances or perhaps smile them, it is enough to make you happy; you take a completely different pleasure when you experience this interaction with a stranger. Actually, there is one neighborhood full of this daily pleasure: Kuzguncuk. One of the idiosyncratic quarters of Istanbul’s Üsküdar district, Kuzguncuk has residents who live this sincerity in their own shell. Kuzguncuk residents show concern for everyone, regardless of indigenous or foreign, without treating unequally and perhaps it is the most important element that makes Kuzguncuk feel peaceful and safe.

 

 

After a busy and stressful day, we seek a peaceful refuge in İstanbul. When we come from the coastal road and we take a step to İcadiye Caddesi, the main street of Kuzguncuk, at first glance, we see the walls of the barber shop and the taxi stand, which lean on each other. A small table placed in front of the shop and chairs scattered around the table… It is impossible not to be impressed by the pleasure that people playing backgammon and a couple of people watching them take from being there! It is obvious that they are old friends… While wondering about the secrecy of the sincerity in Kuzguncuk, we come across Suna Hanım, who is a cute local shop owner. When Suna Hanım says that her family has been in Kuzguncuk since the sixties and she lived abroad for many years and returned to Kuzguncuk; she expresses excitedly her love for Kuzguncuk saying “I feel like living in an Anatolian town in the heart of İstanbul…”. She means Anatolian town as a place where everyone knows, greets, helps each other, and is equal and together.

The sense of love and unity in Kuzguncuk is so intense that its traces can be seen in all living things. Cats in good spirits, every one of which finds a comfortable home for itself; spoiled geraniums thirsty for the air of the Bosphorus, and in short, neighborhood residents who are lacking of their smiling faces…

They think that the actual secret of the sincerity in Kuzguncuk is not to be prejudiced. The most substantial indicator of this is that Armenian Church, Greek Church, mosque and synagogue are adjoined. Moreover, it was given a place for the mosque in the garden of the church, because no place could be found for it to be built at one time! This tolerance heritage was embraced by the craftsmen. Such a naive proposal on the water fountain in front of an herbalist is: “please drink it”! Here it is Kuzguncuk as brilliantly as a glass of water under the azure… Aspiring to your afternoon visits!

 

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