13 Eylül 2010 Pazartesi

Guardian'dan Çukurcuma Yazısı: Streets Ahead


Like all the best up-and-coming neighbourhoods, Cukurcuma's cutting-edge shops and bars exist side by side with centuries-old tradition. In its boutiques, artists are designing T-shirts and dresses that wouldn't look out of place in Hoxton or the Lower East Side, but a wander through the district will find wizened old men playing okey and sipping tea in the shade of flaking pastel-coloured facades.
Cukurcuma is in Beyoglu, Istanbul's pulsating west-thinking quarter where the nightlife is frenetic and head veils are sparse. While Istiklal Caddesi -the district's emblematic thoroughfare- teems at all hours, Cukurcuma is Beyoglu's calm inner core.
The area is that rare thing -a district where every shop is worth investigating. Cukurcuma has long be known for its antiques, but over the last few years, wares that appeal to distinctively hipster sensibilities have joined the Ottoman relics and old imperial plunder. Simultaneously, high-end design and fashion boutiques have started to pop up. Hot on the footsteps of the discerning shop owners and shoppers, are the discerning watering holes, with Algeria Street swiftly becoming one of the city's most vibrant nightspots.
With annoying predictability it has been dubbed the "SoHo of Istanbul". But SoHo is gridded, square and uniform by comparison. Cukurcuma is gloriously irregular, made of a dozen thin winding streets that tumble down into an urban valley east of Istiklal before ambling upwards into the neighbouring district of Cihangir. The buildings are grand, with staggered roofs, hovering oriel windows, crumbling arched doors and interiors of exposed brick and rafters.


The old cliche puts Istanbul as somewhere between east and west, but Cukurcuma ratchets up the variables -this is a district of east and west, old and new, trendy and bygone... often all within the same shop.
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