Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Petri lived in a ruined shack in a bostan(large garden for growing vegetables). The are known as Bostan Neighborhood is now part of the Beyoglu (Pera) District and is inhabited mostly by Romany (Gypsy) families. The pub he frequented on Kalyoncu Kulluk was nearby. During De Amicis visit in 1870's the creek that gave it's name to the area Dolapdere was dry. Since the creek required a device called "dolap" to raise water it had a week run. One of the side strets are called Dere Ustu today.

Edmondo De Amicis (October 21, 1846—March 12, 1908), is a notable Italian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer. Journeying to Constantinople by boat, Edmondo De Amicis is initially dismayed to discover that his first glimpse of this much-awaited city will be obscured by fog. Yet, as he will come to appreciate, the slow unveiling of rooftops, domes and minarets is in fact the best introduction to Constantinople he could wish for. Throughout his stay in this most cosmopolitan of cities – with Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Gypsies, Catholics and Jews sewn together in a patchwork of life – he encounters the inhabitants’ endless vitality, in a city which provides an inexhaustible source of beauty and mystery.
Costantinopoli (1878)

I had De Amicis' text ready when I came to Istanbul. For he had seen what I cannot see today' - Umberto Eco (from his foreword)