18 Aralık 2013 Çarşamba

Easy to Pass By

We live our lives on such a full speed that we sometimes need to stop, breath and look around a little. This speed isn’t natural to us; we are just trying to catch up to the speed of the modern city life.

Either way we should create little opportunities for ourselves, little escapes if you will, so we can collect human experiences and memories- not only earthly possessions.

To do so is easy. For instance an escape into the periodic exhibitions of Maksem in our most popular meeting point: Taksim.


Small enough to be fully seen in an half hour, the building that hosts today’s Maksem was built in 1731 and it was used as a water storage tank.

As Istanbul Municipality holds periodic exhibitions in the building we were able to catch the shows of Anna Tzarev’s Song of Spring and Milijada Barada’s Let the Soul Rule the Secret. You can check the event schedule here (in Turkish).

What looks like a keg, which would be on your right when you first enter the building, is actually a piece of  the piping that used to distribute water to Beyoğlu, Pera and Kasımpaşa.

Since you are already in Beyoğlu, why not visit the Historic Beyoğlu Post Office? Situated right across Galatasaray High School, the post office these days is holding an extended exhibition on the history of Galatasary Sports Club.

Built in 1875 for Theodore Sıvacıyan as a residence, the building was bought later in 1907 by Post and Telegram Minister Hüseyin Hasip Pasha and it’s first floor was used as Beyoğlu Post and Telegram Management Office.

Now named Galatasaray University Culture and Art Centre, the building was turned into a museum by the initiative of the University.

On to a magnificent birdhouse. If you are looking to spend a pleasurable day at Rumeli Fortress, Tevfik Fikret’s House the Aşiyan Museum cannot be missed. Besides his poems and his books, when you discover that he designed the house itself alongside being a painter you will realize that Fikret was more than an artist, and was perhaps a genius.

In a way it is a benefit that we were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum: this way you have to go and explore it yourselves! The entrance of the house facing this breathtaking view… And the window of Socrates (no explanations here, visit the museum to be astounded)…

When visiting the museum you can get either a short or long tour audio guide. Alongside personal items, you can find pieces that used to belong to famous Turkish writers like Poet Nigar and Recaizade Ekrem. Renovated and reopened in 2011, this museum is both esthetically pleasing and interesting.

We recommend that you visit the museum that opens at 9 AM on earlier hours: students groups are usually scheduled to make visits in the afternoons- while it is inspiring to see young minds be shaped by history and culture, it is not for you if you want a quite touring time. The museum is closed on Mondays and Thursdays.

You’ll listen while you are visiting: Tevfik Fikret, whose grave lays in the garden of Aşiyan, writes from decades ago:

The poor country gives, gives whatever it has,
Its body, its life, its hope, its dream
All its well-being, all its heart.
Swallow it up at once, don’t think about the sin or the deed…
Eat sirs eat, this pleasant meal is yours,
Eat until you are full, until you cough, until you burst!

You can visit all these spots for free.

Only a few weeks left to New Year’s, don’t forget to get yourself our your loved ones an Istanbul diary or another notebook from our collection. Let’s explore together and create different memories. You can get your diary by clicking here.

Take care of yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul

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