After I first noticed this view of Istanbul, many years in the past, it was as if I’d simply met the love of my life. From the northern finish of the Galata Bridge, trying throughout the Golden Horn to what’s often known as the Previous Metropolis, the view stays breathtaking even on an iron-grey winter’s day.Rising above the waters of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus are: to my left, the huge Topkapı Palace advanced; earlier than me, the Byzantine surprise that’s the Hagia Sophia and the Blue mosque; and to my proper, the Kapalıçarşı or Grand Bazaar and the Süleymaniye mosque. This final was created by Turkey’s best architect, Mimar Sinan, for its best sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent.Istanbul does divine effectively, however it provides raffish a run for its cash, tooI’m not even scratching the floor of this megacity of 17 million souls, as trendy in locations as Singapore, but as outdated and as mysterious as time. The shirt of metal the season has thrown over town doesn’t detract from her historical magnificence. Moved virtually to tears, I discover myself experiencing a second of huzun, an virtually untranslatable Turkish idea, which might loosely be described as pleasurable melancholy.Inside of Hagia Sophia. {Photograph}: Anadolu Company/Getty ImagesWalking throughout the Galata Bridge, I nod to the windswept fishers who come, day in and day trip, within the hope of catching palamut (skipjack tuna) and cinekop (bluefish). I look of their buckets to see what they’ve caught, realizing I’m being watched by a number of of Istanbul’s many road cats. Felines are vastly cherished in Istanbul – some neighbourhoods even have little cat homes on road corners, lovingly embellished by adoring people.A middle-aged man in an extended overcoat passes by, smiling at me, and I ponder if I do know him. Istanbul is named the “greatest village on the earth”, the place one could meet kinfolk, passing acquaintances and outdated lovers within the house of 1 morning. Even the useless pop up infrequently.I take my Istanbulkart journey cross out of my pocket and ponder whether to take the tram up the hill from the dockside district of Eminönü or proceed strolling, within the frigid air, as much as the centre of the Previous Metropolis. I select the latter.I’m lucky in having the ability to write books set on this vibrant, opulent, usually maddening metropolis. Condensing its essence into a number of paragraphs is nearly inconceivable. However I’ve been giving it a go for greater than 20 years now, even when the sky appears to be like like a risk.ReadAuthor Orhan Pamuk on the Galata Bridge whereas he takes photos of empty ‘lockdown’ streets in Istanbul, 23 Could 2020. {Photograph}: Ozan Köse/AFP/Getty ImagesIstanbul: Recollections and the Metropolis, by maybe Turkey’s best dwelling author, Orhan Pamuk, is an excellent information to its best monuments and its labyrinthine backstreets. Listed here are beggars and witches, outlets promoting buttons, others providing terrifying flesh-coloured corsets, and half-forgotten Greek ayazma (sacred springs). Istanbul does divine effectively, however it provides raffish a run for its cash, too.After I attain the southern finish of the Golden Horn, I look again to the place I began my stroll – the hilly New Metropolis dominated by the Galata Tower. Constructed by the Genoese in 1348, it’s 63 metres tall and has a viewing space on the prime. In 1638, adventurer Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi connected wings to his physique, jumped off the tower and glided throughout the Bosphorus.Galata Tower. {Photograph}: Anadolu Company/Getty ImagesThis space, now often known as Beyoğlu, is residence to what had been as soon as huge international embassies, however are actually simply ornate consulates. The waterfront district of Karaköy, is the setting for Elif Safak’s novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds on this Unusual World. Primarily based on the lives of intercourse staff and transsexuals, it is a compassionate and intimate portrait of the world. Make no mistake, Istanbul just isn’t a straightforward metropolis, and this novel exposes lots of its residents’ every day struggles to outlive.Followers of thrillers and crime will take pleasure in a glimpse into town’s felony aspect in Istanbul Noir, an anthology of brief tales edited by Mustafa Ziyalan. Against this, Halidé Edip’s Home with Wisteria (out of print) follows the early lifetime of considered one of Turkey’s foremost feminists in Ottoman and early republican Istanbul.WatchDrone picture of Sultanahmet Sq.. {Photograph}: Anadolu Company/Getty ImagesAs I stroll up the hill from Eminönü to Sultanahmet, I cross between Gülhane Park (as soon as a part of the Topkapı Palace) and the Elegant Porte – seat of the Imperial Ottoman authorities. These areas remind me of some of the common Turkish TV sequence ever, Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century). Set on the courtroom of Suleiman the Magnificent, it tells the story of that sultan’s reign and his private life, centering on his harem. Not a biopic or a cleaning soap opera, Muhtesem is a dizi, a very Turkish tv phenomenon that may be historical or trendy, however should characteristic drama, ardour and acts of braveness. To learn the way Istanbul was captured by the Turks, the TV miniseries Rise of Empires: Ottoman (on Netflix) is a mixture of knowledgeable commentary and fantastic reconstructions.Publicity picture for TV present Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century). {Photograph}: Tims ProductionsIn a mildly sensual haze, evoked by reminiscences of dizi, I spot a few damp belly-dancing costumes hanging outdoors a memento store. In all probability my favorite Turkish movie of all time, 2011’s Zenne Dancer is predicated on the lives of stomach dancers – or somewhat their male counterparts, zenne. Historically, these younger males carry out at celebrations, however today [though not pandemic days] they are often seen in nightclubs, too. This usually brings them into battle with their households and with spiritual authorites, a reminder that enormous sections of town are culturally conservative.SeeMost of Sultanahmet’s sights are on my left as I crown the hill and step on to Divanyolu, Sultanahmet’s essential thoroughfare. The primary is Hagia Sophia, as soon as the best church in Christendom, then a mosque, then a museum, it’s now a mosque once more and closed to guests when worshippers are at prayer. From the skin it’s a terracotta-coloured masterpiece; inside it’s chic with marble and mosaic.Obelix of Thutmose III, Hippodrome. {Photograph}: Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesI wander alongside to the Sultanahmet mosque, an unlimited, domed construction whose inside is embellished with beautiful blue Iznik tiles, therefore its different title, the Blue mosque. The iron skies decrease, and I make my strategy to the Hippodrome, the place the Romans held chariot races and the Byzantines who adopted them held their generally violent video games. There are three essential monuments to see right here: the Byzantine Walled Obelisk, the Historic Greek Serpent Column, and the Obelix of Thutmose III, introduced from Egypt in AD390.TasteI retrace my steps alongside Divanyolu. On my left I cross Lale Restaurant (nicknamed the Pudding Store). Opened within the Fifties, it was as soon as a hangout for younger western travellers on their strategy to Kathmandu hoping for enlightenment. As of late it nonetheless sells its scrumptious tavuk göğsü pudding, comprised of sweetened, pounded rooster breast, rice and milk. However on this event I’m going underground for my deal with.Simit bread-seller. {Photograph}: robertharding/AlamyAt the tip of Divanyolu there may be the doorway to the Yerebatan Saray, or Underground Palace. It’s a subterranean Byzantine water cistern, and has a restaurant promoting sahlep, a winter drink comprised of milk and powdered orchid root, and dusted with cinnamon. I spend time listening to the classical music performed in that huge, vaulted house, and watching the multicoloured gentle present dance among the many historical columns. Town is nice for road meals, from simit – sesame seed-dusted rings of enriched bread offered all over the place – to steaming kokoreç, spiced lamb intestines on a skewer. Tea, çay, which is served black right here, is on the market all around the metropolis, together with on the ferries that cross the Bosphorus. Turkish espresso, kahve, just isn’t fairly so ubiquitous however could be discovered close by on Divanyolu at a stunning pastane (patisserie) known as Cigdem. It additionally serves fantastic savoury pastries known as börek (with cheese or spinach) and among the finest sticky, nut-studded baklava identified to humanity.ListenTurkey’s rap scene is huge however little-known outdoors the nation. You possibly can hear children rapping on the streets, notably in poor components of city, akin to Tarlabaşı, a multi-ethnic generally troubled however at all times inventive place. In all probability essentially the most well-known rap observe is a 14-verse epic known as Susamam, a deeply political work produced by a collective of Istanbul rappers.Extra my type of listening is Arabesk: influenced by Arabian music, it’s a kind that identifies with the working courses and their struggles. A type of musical dizi, it may be deeply melancholy, particularly in its remedy of thwarted love. It’s greatest stars, singers together with Bülent Ersoy and İbrahim Tatlıses, dwell turbulent lives straight out of TV drama. Turkish pop is exemplified by singer-songwriter Tarkan.As I return to the Galata Bridge, my thoughts drifts to the person I noticed there earlier. An outdated good friend or somebody well-known? Perhaps my long-dead grandfather? Within the magical metropolis of huzun, something is feasible.Barbara Nadel’s Çetin Ikmen crime novels are set in Istanbul. Her most up-to-date, Blood Enterprise (Headline, £8.99), is out now in paperback. Her subsequent e-book is Forfeit, to be printed on 13 Could