First of the many bridges connecting old Istanbul and Karaköy was built in the 6th century. Until today’s bridge, five bridges were built and destroyed, some since it was non-functional, some since its wood crumbled, some since it burned down… But if there’s something to talk about Galata Tower, it happened in during the reign of Bayezid II.
Bayezid wanted Leonardo Da Vinci to design a bridge, but he did not accept the famous architect’s design, construction of which is still suggested by some, and the idea was shelved. Afterwards, the Sultan made an offer to Michelangelo, but this time the famous Italian designer did not accept. And the idea of making a bridge was not mentioned for 350 years.
Three years ago, in 2011, French writer Mathias Enard wrote a book called ‘Tell Them About Wars, Kings and Elephants’. This novel told its plot through a bridge proposal between Bayezid and Michelangelo. According to the book, Michelangelo came to Turkey and stayed here for three months. And when he returned to Italy, he used the architectural style inspired by Turkey there.
The writer says, “The bridge project drawn by Da Vinci is a lie, he may not have even known the width of the Golden Horn while drawing the project,” and adds: “However, if Michelangelo had accepted the proposal, he would design a bridge with classic lines and this would be a priceless bridge.”
This is a book he wrote by consulting to Italian and Ottoman archives, in which reality and fiction intersect. If you’d like to learn about the history of Galata Bridge from a fantastic perspective, you should read this novel, awarded Goncourt des Lyceens, the prestigious literature prize of France.
* Quoted from the interview Mathias Enard gave to the newspaper Aksam on his visit to Turkey.
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