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Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Garden Hides in the Market


An expert guide takes us to a shimmering 16th century garden, upstairs in downtown Istanbul. Thanks, Holly!


image

Niche panel (detail), Mosque of Rustem Pasha

Photo: Giovanni Dal’Orto, via wiki

By Holly Chase

Every day, tourists speaking scores of different tongues descend on Istanbul’s justly renowned monuments and markets. The bustling metropolis is now a regular port-of-call for Mediterranean and Black Sea cruise ships disgorging passengers for day-trips that invariably include the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Covered Bazaar. Though more independent, oil oligarchs in chauffeured Mercedes and booted backpackers tend to visit exactly the same places as do mass-market guests.

 

And nearly all of them miss the tiny mosque of Rustem Pasha (Rüstem Paşa, in Turkish), a superb example of Ottoman Turkish architecture and applied floral ornament. It’s only a few meters from the fabled Spice Bazaar (a pungent stop on most tours), but very few tourists stray from the standard routes to find it, tucked into a busy commercial district where narrow alleys thwart the intrusion of tour buses. 

Secrets persist in this city whose ancient name, Byzantium, is synonymous with convolution and intrigue, and the Mosque of Rustem Pasha is one of mine. I debated whether to extol its attractions in this public forum. But believing that one must first know something exists in order to appreciate and protect it, I’ll hope this article leads readers to negotiate the maze of lanes in Old Stamboul.

To find Rustem Pasha, ask along the Cicek Pazari, Balkapani, Hasircilar, and Tomruk streets, each named for commodities sold there — plants & flowers, honey, rush mats, lumber. Then find your way to this urban oasis, calm and beautiful.

 

 



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Posted by Julie on 07/19 at 04:26 PM
Art & MediaReligious RitualsTravelPermalink