I never asked myself what I was expecting or what I would find while I was going to Balat.
Because I know that each time I went there, I returned with more. And here we are once again, in one of the most beautiful districts of Istanbul…
It’s almost like time does not exist in Balat. So put those watches off, and turn off your cellphones. But no “airplane mode”, just turn them off completely. Don’t try to take photos frantically! Because the best lens and the best camera are your eyes. Please don’t succumb to the obsession of “storing the moment”. Experience Istanbul, and the soul relaxing Balat as it comes. Let’s start…
Even if you don’t know how to glide like the wind, the streets of Balat will teach you how. When you step into the district, first you realize that you smell “oldness”. This is also known as life experience. Many streets, even if not all, lead to free Marmara Sea. Don’t be fooled by the stillness and calmness of the Golden Horn, because it’s always the calm before the storm. Also, known that whatever you’re looking for, Balat will give you your share of it.
When I explore a district, the first thing I wonder is the meaning of its name. The name “Balat” is said to come from “Palation”, which means palace. Its proximity to Blaherna Palace at the walls confirms this claim. Is it enough? Of course not! You should shake a leg, turn your excitement into your back pack and read history on the streets.
“Seagulls, street children of the sea” says Can Yücel. In fact, children and seagulls have been fellows for a long time. Follow both children and seagulls, they will both take you where you want to go. You can come by both the most colorful neighborhood festivities, and serene and quiet streets. Balat is on the streets, it is genuine, even transparent. Like I said, while you intermingle with people, you quickly drift apart from time, time even disappears there. Especially as the red afternoon sun steals through the Golden Horn, a sweet melancholy fills you. If you’re leaving, you will likely, or perhaps inevitably, return to feel this familiar ache again.
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