Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge
I always thought that Istanbul and San Francisco had so much in common. Now I know that this is not a coincidence, instead it is the result of a common heritage. I recently visited Istanbul and I wanted to share some of my observations with you.
If you are not familiar with the two cities, they both have a gorge that splits them into 2 costs. In Istanbul, these are Europe and Asia Minor. In San Francisco, they are the City and the Marin County, connected by the Golden Gate Bridge. As it turns out, the name Golden Gate has its origins in Istanbul. The old Istanbul, where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were centered, is situated in front of a bay called the Golden Horn (shaped like a bull's horn).
The Golden HornIstanbul's Golden Horn got its name form the golden sparkles of its water during sunsets. The early settlers of San Francisco, probably Ottomans, noticed the resemblance and nostalgically named the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate. It seems the nostalgia for all things Istanbul did not stop at the Golden Gate's name. Istanbul's famous Sourdough Bread and Rice Pilaf with Vermicelli are fairly similar to San Fran's Sourdough Bread and Rice-A-Roni.
Turkish Sourdough BreadSan Francisco is also know for its rows of Bay Windows. These were, no doubt designed to provide maximum water view in a tightly packed city setting. Well, as it turns out, Istanbul has been known for its bay windows since the Byzantine times. Called Cumba (probably Greek), they were designed to provide views of Golden Horn to the women of the Byzantine Harems.
Old Istanbul house with a Cumba
During my visit, I was discussing these similarities with my cousin's husband Ahmet, who added, "Don't forget the earthquakes. We are even similar in that aspect." I could not agree more. We all came to this country as immigrants and we contributed to the success of this new world in the best way that we knew. With some of us, our contributions are obviously linked to our heritage like the Italian Pizza. Others' contributions have been so enthusiastically adopted that they became native to the land, like the Bay Windows and the Sourdough Bread. That's the journey of humanity