Arrivederci, Nova Roma


In the most ancient part of Istanbul


Sigh.  I’m about to leave this wonderful city.  And then, to compound it, I have to plunge back into real work, with real students, and grades, and, yes, to a greater degree than ever before, university politics.


I’ve always found the history in Istanbul/Constantinople, and in Turkey more generally, absolutely rich, densely fascinating, stunning even.  And I still do.  I was impressed this time too, more than on previous visits, with the dynamism of the place, with its economic vibrancy, with the modern cleanliness even of cities remote from Istanbul and the financial centers.


This is a country to watch.  Certainly it’s a country to visit.


Posted from Istanbul.



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  • Louis Midgley

    Alas, some of us hardly ever make it past Lindon. And for many days you have been describing the wonders of ancient and modern Turkey. And when we manage to venture away from Utah County, we also learn that we have been fired. However, the Lordly head of an old Midgley Manor house had as his motto the Latin word Resurgam, presumably meaning “I will rise again.” I like this motto for two reasons: it can be understood as the victory over death made possible by the resurrection of Jesus. And I have alos sometimes taken it to mean “I am coming back.” But not to the Second Rome, since I have never visited the place, yet, except in my imagination.

    • danpeterson

      “Resurgam.” I like that. Both for the personal eschatology and because, in my opinion, we ARE coming back. You know what I mean.

  • Michael P.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog entries from Turkey.

    I can recall my trip to Turkey five years ago. We drove across the country, beginning in Van and ending in Istanbul. In eastern Turkey — let us dare not call it K*rdist*n — I found a very distinct culture that was, in many ways, cut off from the rest of Turkey. Yet I recall what appeared to be the construction of vast, new highways to connect Van with the rest of Turkey. I had mixed feelings about that; eastern Turkey was, by far, my favorite part of the country. I hate to see it lose its distinct culture and become overrun with tourists.

    “I was impressed this time too…with the modern cleanliness even of cities remote from Istanbul and the financial centers”

    Though the city enthralled me to no end, I do not recall being impressed with the cleanliness of Diyarbakir. I know you didn’t go there, but do you have any idea if things have changed? Is eastern Turkey becoming more like the rest of the country?

    • danpeterson

      Unfortunately, though I’ve long wanted to go there — a friend and I once had the crazy plan of hiking the entire coast of Turkey, coupled with a lengthy visit to Lake Van — I’ve never made it to eastern Turkey. (Though I’ve been to Iran, and bought a Tabrizi carpet there!)

  • Michael P.

    I have no finer travel memory than standing atop Van Kalesi, overlooking Lake Van, as the calls to prayer echoed below. Simple in words. Awesome to experience.