I’ve been thinking about Istanbul lately – it is one place that has been a constant in decades of travel. I first went there over 35 years ago and must have revisited the city at least eight, maybe ten, times since. When I think of Istanbul, I immediately think of Galata Bridge, as somehow this more than anywhere represents all that is great and cosmopolitan about the city. More than a mere link between the two sides of the Golden Horn – Eminönö and Kariköy – the bridge is a place for fishing and socialising, for eating and drinking; a place for lovers’ trysts, for poets to watch the sunset, for tourists to plan their next day in this great city at the very edge of Europe.While other bridges are merely functional – a dull concrete conduit for traffic over water like this one in Suffolk, or a human footbridge as sumptuous and organic as this one in Meghalaya, India, Galata Bridge is much more. Galata Bridge may not be beautiful of its own accord but it provides a platform from which to enjoy the iconic Istanbul skyline – the Venetian Galata Tower in one direction, the sky-piercing minarets of Sultanahmet’s mosques in the other. More than a mere bridge, it is a location in its own right that, in the Istanbullu psyche, has long been elevated above the role of merely conveying traffic .
Laurence MitchellWriter and photographer based in Norwich, UK