The Turkish Challenge: Part 2
After mastering the first part of «The Turkish Challenge», which dealt with Turkish past and ancient customs, it was time to explore the Istanbul of today—however, not before having recovered from the tiring days of sightseeing in the Turkish summer heat. And there’s no better way to do this than with another Turkish custom: by going to the hamam—the Turkish bath. But let’s dive right into today’s life in the metropolis on the Bosphorus.
Just driving into Instanbul from the airport, you can see that this is not just a city of oriental magic and history. You drive past tall buildings and skyscrapers that cover a seemingly never-ending terrain of valleys and hills, which make up Istanbul. While there are some old districts with historic buildings in Istanbul, the largest part of the city is relatively new: it grew from not quite a million inhabitants in 1950 to over 15 million today.
When you’re in the car with Metrohm Turkey’s driver Rıdvan, the impressive views of Istanbul are usually accompanied by the radio blasting popular songs. In Turkey, young people listen to a fairly even mix of Western pop music and Turkish-language music, which is sometimes accompanied by oriental melodies and sometimes very much inspired by Western pop music. Whatever’s on, people here love singing and dancing along.
Offices, modern apartment buildings, shopping malls, and hotels characterize the cityscape just as much as (old and new) mosques and churches and the old wooden houses in the historic parts of town. Metrohm Turkey has one of the most modern offices I’ve seen so far in the Metrohm world.
Of course modern Turkish life doesn’t only take place in the glass skyscrapers of Istanbul. The old districts of Istanbul, like the historic Jewish quarter Balat and the historic Greek quarter Fener, have maintained their charm thanks to their beautiful old buildings. But they’re not just a reminder of the past anymore. Today they are hip places that attract many young people with their little shops and cafés.