Christmas in Istanbul, 2012: Geography

The historical importance of the geography of Istanbul cannot be overestimated. The city spans two continents, Europe and Asia, and the Bosphorus Strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean, has always made Istanbul strategically important from both a military and economic point of view. Oil tankers may be seen making their way along the Bosphorus, and a suspension bridge across the Bosphorus now tightens the connection between East and West. The photo immediately below advertises the tour of the Bosphorus available to visitors. (More about that later.)

Islam is of course central to the culture of Istanbul and has been for centuries. I was impressed nevertheless by the comfort a Westerner feels, or at least did seven years ago, moving around the city. European restaurants abound, and it is natural for European Christians to recognize places familiar to them (Nicaea, Ephesus and Antioch) in smaller surrounding cities. In other words Istanbul, despite it differences, remains a city by no means wholly foreign to us.

Next up: European restaurants in Istanbul.

Published by ronwendlingoutlookcom

My life has had three phases: one as a Jesuit seminarian, recorded in my 2015 memoir (Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past, Oak Tree Press); another as a college teacher and scholar of 19th century British Literature, best recorded in Coleridge's Progress to Christianity: Experience and Authority in Religious Faith (Associated University Presses, 1995); and finally my current phase as a retiree given to social media posts and photo commentary on my travels with my wife, Mary.

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