Saturday, September 1, 2018

Saturday's postcard: Istanbul's Galata Bridge and New Mosque

This Keskin Color postcard has Turkish stamps that were first issued in 1969 and what appears to be a 1970 postmark. So it's a glimpse back nearly a half-century ago — or more, depending when the photo was taken. It features a pair of landmarks in Istanbul, Turkey — the Galata Bridge and the New Mosque.

The Galata Bridge (Galata Köprüsü) spans the Golden Horn in Istanbul. Shown on the postcard is a portion of the fourth iteration of the structure, a floating bridge that was built by a German firm for 350,000 gold liras and stood from 1912 to 1992. It was replaced by the fifth and current bridge. The bridge has historically served to tie together culture. As Wikipedia states, it is "a symbolic link between the traditional city of Istanbul proper, site of the imperial palace and principal religious and secular institutions of the empire, and the districts of Galata, Beyoğlu, Şişli and Harbiye, where a large proportion of the inhabitants were non-Muslims and where foreign merchants and diplomats lived and worked."

Which brings us to the New Mosque, which is anything but new. It was completed in the early to mid 1660s, more than three-and-a-half centuries ago and generally speaking in the time of Samuel Pepys' diary, the Great Plague of London and the extinction of the dodo. The elaborate mosque features 66 domes or semi-domes, two minarets, a huge courtyard with an ornamental fountain and a mausoleum. The original complex was designed to serve both religious and general-society needs, and thus it had a hospital, a school and a Spice Bazaar, which is still a robust tourist attraction.

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The postcard was mailed to an address in the Bronx and features a fairly boring cursive message:
Just stopping here a few minutes on way home. Enjoying my flight & food on board. Hope all is fine. Bye.
Love, Pat

Just "stopping by" Turkey is not recommended these days for Americans. The U.S. Department of State has, at this time, a "Level 3: Reconsider Travel" advisory — warning of terrorism and arbitrary detentions — for those who might travel there from the United States.

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