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Self-timers from Bosporus

Descending from hills, leaving behind us the Topkapi Palace, the sea of Marmara can be reached, precisely where Bosporus begins. The Kennedy Avenue runs toward southwest, coming up to the sea and following the old walls of Istanbul city. It is a fast road that connects the station of Sirkeci, the last stop of the legendary Orient Express, to the Ataturk International Airport. We are in the European side of the city. The Avenue is protected from bad weather by an artificial cliff. Citizens meet each other exactly among these rocks, in the hot summer nights. They sit on the rocks, surrounded by waves spray, far away from tourists’ eyes and chaos of the megalopolis. They listen to music, drink some tea; someone has dinner baking some fish of Bosporus on an improvised fire. They participate in the passage of big cargos headed to the Russian and Ukrainian shores of the Black Sea. After the sunset, thousands of bright lights illumine the city, like in an immense funfair; on the other side of the canal, the Asian part of Istanbul, with the neighborhoods of Uskudar and Kadikoy. It is time to take a selfie in a such breath-taking panorama. For those who have come here travelling through one of the biggest city in the world, it was really worth it.


Families with children, couples looking for some intimacy, but also who is just searching some rest when it gets dark. Sitting on the rocks of the seaside that touches lightly the Kennedy Avenue is gratifying; on the other side of Bosporus there is Asia. In the middle, the two Istanbul, that stretch of the Marmara Sea cut trough by huge cargo vessels taking the northern route, toward the Black Sea.

Some pitchmen are trying to sell their products. Biscuits, nuts, tissues and capacious thermos flasks from which they pour hot sweet tea into plastic glasses. Small groups of people are staying close to each other; sometimes they are relatives, other times just friends. Some of them remain to chat, waiting for dinnertime to come back home. Others will stay until sunset.

Time passes slowly among the big rocks that are placed on sides of Bosporus in order to protect the city. Small groups of friends are going to linger to talk to each other, listening to music and someone is taking some shots. In the distance, the skyline of a modern, chaotic and frantic Istanbul, a melting pot between east and west. A light breeze is cooling the hot summer’s day. In a while it will get dark. The wind is dragging clouds off, toward west.

People often get to Istanbul for business, others for pleasure, many come here to seek for a job. It begins from the native country, perhaps with coetaneous. Istanbul is big, there are plenty of business activities, hotels, restaurants and shops. There is also the biggest indoor bazaar in the world. One spends the day walking, searching, asking, delivering curricula. Then, in the evening, it is time to come back to the sea. Here, concerns calm down; stress and worries fly away. There is time to take a picture, a self-portrait or selfie like we say nowadays. Just to say look where I am now, to send it to a far away girl.

After the sunset, thousands of bright lights illumine the city, like in an immense funfair; on the other side of the canal, the Asian part of Istanbul.

Eventually the night has fallen on the Bosporus. The sea, dark and deep, died down and the wind blew all the clouds away. From the rocks it is possible to embrace the whole city, both the Istanbul, where east meets west. Thousands of lights enlighten the sky in the distance. From here, you might hear the sound of the sea. Over there, between lights, life is full of sound, color and activity. There is time for one last selfie and then, slowly, back to the city. Friends will say goodbye quietly and come back home; like in a big funfair, attracted by lights which devour the night.

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Giorgio Barbato

Travel photographer, portraits, video maker Contributor Photographer Istock/Getty Images / Professional photographer based in Bologna - Italy and available Worldwide. Contacts: barbatophotos@gmail.com

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