National Geographic : 1959 Jan
Station Wagon Odyssey: Baghdad to Istanbul the valleys are planted to corn, peppers, tobacco, beans, and sugar beets. Wild sweet blackberries run riot. We ate our last rural luncheon at Diizce, a rambling town about 18 miles from the Black Sea. By four o'clock we reached the Sea of Marmara and saw the distant spires of istanbul. By five we were at the Bosporus in the Asian part of Istanbul, squeezing by inches onto a heavily loaded ferry to cross to the European side. San Francisco on the Bosporus As I drove onto narrow stone-paved streets and shifted into low gear for the steep hills of Istanbul, I was reminded of San Francisco. For a second it seemed I would have to learn to drive all over again. After two months of travel on lonesome highways, I was suddenly confronted with thick, threatening traffic and its earsplitting noise. A tension took hold; I found myself fighting a roaring tide of auto mobiles and trucks. In between packing, preparing the battered station wagon for shipment home, shopping and other errands, we found time only for hasty sightseeing. Istanbul has shops as modern as any in Europe; it also has a covered bazaar, not as extensive as Isfahan's and not quite as East ern, but nonetheless interesting. The floor is dirt; the ceilings are high and vaulted; small windows high up are barred. Kurds work as porters. Here all sorts of articles are made, from wedding rings to samovars. The place is filled with cries of hawkers, the din of hammers on brass, and the odors of spices, candy, and leather. The Archeological Museum impressed us with its variety of exhibits: Roman, Greek, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. Mary pointed out the transition from Roman art to early Christian, to the strangely elongated Byzan tine figures. "The styles seem almost to slide one into the other," she observed. I lingered at the ornately carved sarcoph- agus of Alexander the Great. As a result of this and three earlier journeys, I had now covered almost every mile of Alexander's long track. I liked the man because he, too, liked horses. But even more, I honored him for his tolerance and moderation; for the fact that he destroyed armies, not civilizations. He found good in the "barbarians" he con quered, as well as bad. He respected their religions, studied their cultures, was interested in their art, ethics, politics, and natural science. One clear September day we cruised the Bosporus to see Istanbul from the water. Robert College, the American institution that has done pioneer educational work in that part of the world, sits high on a bluff to the north of the city.* Below it stands the castle known as Rumeli Hisar, built by Mohammed the Conqueror in 1452. The Bosporus was heavy with traffic. We saw black, dirty ships, loaded with coal, look ing for berths. Others unloaded corn and wheat into lighters. Dories shuttled back and forth with provisions. Peoples of Warmth and Pride As I stood watching the Asian shore line, I felt strangely saddened. I had been lost in the villages and on the back roads of Asia for close to two months. Now our journey was at its end. The Asian wants a handclasp for friendship. He welcomes the stranger who comes as a neighbor, to drink his tea and share his worries, to feel the measure of his life by living it with him. I knew the warmth of these peoples, their longing for equality, their great pride in race and culture. Asia, with its mysticism, subtlety, indirection, and of course poverty, was somehow a home in which I had left much of my heart. * See "Robert College, Turkish Gateway to the Future," by Franc Shor, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, September, 1957. Istanbul's Rush-hour Traffic Jams Galata Bridge Across the Golden Horn Curving like the horn of a bull and glittering gold at sunset, the Golden Horn, a narrow offshoot of the Bosporus, divides the Galata mercantile section and the modern Beyoglu section from the old city that served as seat of the Ottoman Empire. Morning and evening see parades of commuters boarding and leaving ferries that ply the Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara. This view, taken by telephoto lens from a building at the Galata end, looks toward the old city (foreground in the photograph on the next page). Stairs at left lead down from bridge to ferry slips. Clocklike disks on light poles advertise a bank. KODACHROMEBY W. ROBERTMOORE, NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSTAFF © N. G. S.