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The Bosphorus: An Illustrated Story
From Prehistory to The Eurasia Tunnel


From the Preface:

The book you have started reading will talk a lot about the Ottoman history, local topography, major monuments, museums, and mosques but also about many other things; the protestant missionary activity, coups d’état, the Crimean War, Russia, oil trade, Napoleon, Egypt, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, Venetians, Persians, local culture, contemporary architecture, even Johann Strauss, movies, a Ford factory far from home, Ancient Greek and Roman authors, just to mention a few.

While it does not try to be an all-inclusive text about the Bosphorus, it reaches to give a comprehensive view of the Bosphorus as a whole, and, at the same time, tends to surprise even the most ambitious reader with several unpublished and unexpected archival documents and photos.

This book is not a lament; its aim is not to mourn over values “gone forever”. It’s true that many things went wrong, many historic homes were damaged by oil tankers, many monumental buildings were lost, but the Bosphorus is still beautiful without a match and unique. 

This is not one of those books which exposes all the details and monuments of a neighborhood. There are works which do this very well already, and undoubtedly, there will be many detailed publications. It would not be wrong to say, though, that we made mention of some remarkable examples when they sprang to mind.

This book could also not be defined as a book which attempts to describe all the details of some major monuments. Outstanding monographs about many monuments have already been written. However, if we identified details which are not mentioned even in these monographs, we have presented them here. 

Is this an academic book? Yes, it is; but it tries to avoid being one of the most boring examples of this genre. It doesn’t consider a saturnine style as a prerequisite for being academic in nature. 

We could perhaps define it as a book which brings to mind a little bit more of what we think about the Bosphorus when we think of it casually. Another possible definition would make it the exposition of a few details about the places we visit along the Bosphorus to go out to eat, have some fresh air, enjoy ourselves, and, sometimes, attend an event.

It is most probably not a book which reveals a lot of unknown facts about the Bosphorus, but we can say that these pages repeat and sometimes offer a different perspective on many things which are worth remembering. 

Besides all these, we can also say that many historical documents, some of which have not been published elsewhere and unearthed in archives, both in Turkish State Archives and in private collections, are being published on these pages. We hope that this will be of some additional value for those who like to remember the good old days. 

A preface cannot go without acknowledgments, but the number people to thank is just too many, which would increase the book’s volume significantly. Therefore, I would like to content myself only with thanking all those at Timaş Publishing who have contributed to the making of this book at every stage; if Samet Altıntaş had not come up with such a suggestion unexpectedly, this book would not have existed in any case. If Neval Akbıyık and Zeynep Berktaş had not embraced this work, we would not be able to finalize it. If Hüseyin Özkan had not touched every inch of the book, it would not have been this pleasant to hold it in our hands.

Numerous people and institutions have contributed to saving the book from mediocrity a little bit by providing information and materials. Among all those, I gratefully appreciated Mr. Tony Madden’s indefatigable, friendly and constructive criticism; I am thankful to Saffet Emre Tonguç, Gökçen Ezber, PhD, Erhan Ermiş, PhD, for their friendly support and owe particular gratitude to Mr. Erol Makzume and Architect Mr. Sinan Genim, PhD. for generously sharing their own living spaces, collections and even information, and documents that they could not yet publish themselves. 

I will be more than happy if the end result could loosely resemble what they expected. 

Sedat Bornovalı

May 2019, İstanbul