Istanbul the shards of a beautiful mosaic

By Zhao Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-22 10:22
Tiers of domes viewed from the outer wall of the Suleymaniye Mosque. [Photo by Zhao Xu/China Daily]

The Turkish capital, bathed in history, is a testament to accord and discord

Istanbul is a mosaic, in many senses of the word. Relics of history - some well preserved, some badly worn, some merely in bits and shards - are strewn all over this sprawling transcontinental metropolis. At times, cultural and religious images coexisted, or more often, superimposed themselves upon one another.

And if you stare into a mosaic - beautifully beguiling and charmingly chaotic - long enough you may begin to feel that it is melting and flowing toward you, until you meld into it.

The day my friends and I - there were four of us - arrived, on a sunny afternoon, we went to the beach, to see the water that has washed the shore of Istanbul for as long as one can remember, and has famously cut the city in two. The sun was setting, casting a sprinkling of its golden light onto the ruffled surface of the ocean. The slanting beams silhouetted the anglers on the rocky beach, giving them, at least for a brief moment, a statuesque quality that the city - and by extension the country - is quite familiar with.

Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that marble statues from the Roman era and further back fill the museums - both roofed and open-air - in Turkey. But here in Istanbul, sauntering along the beach assured me that this is not a city teetering under the crushing weight of history, but one that has long learned to rise with and above the tide.

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