Istanbul Read online

  Acclaim for Orhan Pamuk’s


  A San Francisco Chronicle, Financial Times,

  and Washington Post Book World

  Best Book of the Year

  “Insightful, eclectic, whimsical.… Pamuk is not writing İstanbul, he is painting it.”

  —The Boston Globe

  “Brilliantly constructed.… Pamuk has remained faithful to his opulent muse. This quietly instructive and enchanting elegy to a redeemed childhood and to Istanbul itself will bring the world to his feet.”

  —The Observer (London)

  “Masterful.… A three-pronged book: an anatomy of the city’s body and soul; a compelling account of family politics, war and diplomacy; and a study of the youthful writer’s gropings through the dark towards his true vocation.”

  —The Guardian (London)

  “İstanbul is equal parts autobiography, travel essay, sociology and criticism.… As evocative as Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”

  — The Miami Herald

  “Fascinating.… A deeply inward memoir of a city.”

  —The Sun

  “Essential reading for devoted fans of his novels.”

  —The Independent (London)

  “Engaging.… A rich and quirkily faceted portrait of a city.”

  —Los Angeles Times Book Review

  “A fascinating literary adventure.… Rich in details and research.”

  —San Francisco Chronicle

  “Elegant.… Paints an absorbing portrait of this complex and singular place.”

  —Town & Country

  “With İstanbul, Orhan Pamuk may have written the most haunting, heartbreaking, gorgeous book ever about a city.”

  —The San Diego Union-Tribune

  “Entrancing.… Brilliant.… Pamuk will be identified with Istanbul just as Lawrence Durrell is with Alexandria and James Joyce with Dublin.”

  —San Jose Mercury News

  “İstanbul is full of byways that lead the reader into Pamuk’s fiction—sometimes with a jolting literalness.”

  —The New York Times Book Review

  “Remarkable.… Even those of us who have never set foot in [Istanbul] will be transformed by reading Pamuk’s extraordinary and moving book.”

  —The Financial Times

  “Far from a conventional appreciation of the city’s natural and architectural splendors, İstanbul tells of an invisible melancholy and the way it acts on an imaginative young man, aggrieving him but pricking his creativity.”

  —The New York Times

  “A fascinating read for anyone who has even the slightest acquaintance with this fabled bridge between east and west.”

  —The Economist

  Orhan Pamuk


  Orhan Pamuk’s novel My Name Is Red won the 2003 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in Istanbul.



  My Name Is Red

  The White Castle

  The Black Book

  The New Life


  Translation copyright © 2004 by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

  All rights reserved.

  Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published in Turkey as İstanbul Hatiralar ve Şehir by Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul, in 2003. Copyright © 2003 Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat Yayıncılık Ticaret ve Sanayi A.Ş. This translation originally published in hardcover in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 2005.

  Vintage is a registered trademark and Vintage International and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

  The Library of Congress has cataloged the Knopf edition as follows:

  Pamuk, Orhan, [date]

  Istanbul: memories and the city/Orhan Pamuk;

  translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely.

  p. cm.

  Originally published as İstanbul: hatiralar ve sehir.

  1. Istanbul (Turkey)—Description and travel. I. Title.

  DR723.P36 2005

  949.61′803′092—dc22 2004061537

  eISBN: 978-0-307-38648-9


  To my father, Gündüz Pamuk (1925–2002)

  The beauty of a landscape resides in its melancholy.

  —Ahmet Rasim



  About the Author

  Other Books by This Author

  Title Page




  CHAPTER ONE: Another Orhan

  CHAPTER TWO: The Photographs in the Dark Museum House


  CHAPTER FOUR: The Destruction of the Pashas’ Mansions: A Sad Tour of the Streets

  CHAPTER FIVE: Black and White

  CHAPTER SIX: Exploring the Bosphorus

  CHAPTER SEVEN: Melling’s Bosphorus Landscapes

  CHAPTER EIGHT: My Mother, My Father, and Various Disappearances

  CHAPTER NINE: Another House: Cihangir


  CHAPTER ELEVEN: Four Lonely Melancholic Writers

  CHAPTER TWELVE: My Grandmother

  CHAPTER THIRTEEN: The Joy and Monotony of School

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Esaelp Gnittips On

  CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Ahmet Rasim and Other City Columnists

  CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Don’t Walk down the Street with Your Mouth Open

  CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: The Pleasures of Painting

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Reşat Ekrem Koçu’s Collection of Facts and Curiosities: The Istanbul Encyclopedia

  CHAPTER NINETEEN: Conquest or Decline? The Turkification of Constantinople



  CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: On the Ships That Passed Through the Bosphorus, Famous Fires, Moving House, and Other Disasters

  CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: Nerval in Istanbul: Beyoğlu Walks

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR: Gautier’s Melancholic Strolls Through the City

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: Under Western Eyes

  CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: The Melancholy of the Ruins: Tanpinar and Yahya Kemal in the City’s Poor Neighborhoods

  CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN: The Picturesque and the Outlying Neighborhoods

  CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: Painting Istanbul

  CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE: Painting and Family Happiness

  CHAPTER THIRTY: The Smoke Rising from Ships on the Bosphorus

  CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE: Flaubert in Istanbul: East, West, and Syphilis

  CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO: Fights with My Older Brother

  CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: A Foreigner in a Foreign School

  CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR: To Be Unhappy Is to Hate Oneself and One’s City


  CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX: The Ship on the Golden Horn

  CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN: A Conversation with My Mother: Patience, Caution, and Art

  About the Photographs


  Another Orhan

  From a very young age, I suspected there was more to my world than I could see: Somewhere in the streets of Istanbul, in a house resembling ours, there lived another Orhan so much like me that he could pass for my twin, even my double. I can’t remember where I got this idea or how it came to me. It must have emerged from a web of rumors, misunderstandings, illusions, and fears. But in one of my earliest memories, it is already clear how I’ve come to feel about my ghostly other.

  When I was fi