December 2, 2023

By Ahmet Abdulaziz….

I have frequently narrated my first visit to Istanbul in 1972.  My father had brought his family (six people), by land route from Karachi (Pakistan) through Iran.

I was 17 years old then, and that was the beginning of my endless love for Turkey, Turkish people, Turkish language, Turkish culture in general and Istanbul in particular. So whenever I get some spare time, I prefer to visit Istanbul.

Subsequently over the years,  whenever I go to Istanbul, I have taken time to revisit the places  where we had  been in  1972.   The 17th November 2019 marked the 47th anniversary of my first visit to Istanbul, at the age of 17, in 1972.  Luckily I was in Istanbul on this date.  So it became another important visit for me.

I celebrated  this anniversary by walking around the historic walls of Istanbul. Initially I had planned a run/walk mixture, as I had done on a number of occasions in the past, but this time I preferred to just walk, because I did not want to risk myself due to the ongoing problem with my back. But that was just an excuse, as the real reason was my new shoes. I had bought my new shoes just a day before, I did not want to risk any foot injury by running in unaccustomed shoes. So I decided to walk.

I started off at around 10 am, and finished the 23 km walk after 4 hours.  It was the fifth time that I ran/walked around those walls. They are simply majestic. The actual length of the wall is 22 kilometers. Of this 5.5km faces the Galata area, 7.5km are on the land side towards Edirne and 9km towards the Marmara Sea. However the total distance that I walked was 23 km.

I started off from Eminönü, which is the starting point of the wall facing the Galata area. In the initial period of my walk, the weather was a bit cool, mostly because the sun was rising from the other side of the city,  There was a light cool breeze. It was a brisk walk. When I turned left after finishing the first part of the wall, the sun was in front of me, and after a short period I started feeling hot. This 7,5km part was somewhat difficult, as the terrain was hilly. There were wide roads all the way, and I was walking on the pavement.

I passed by a number of old gates  in the wall on my way. There is separate history of each gate. It was around midday, and the sun was shining. It was too hot, but I had had to continue going.

The last part of the wall was on the Marmara sea side of the city. Though it still was very hot,  a cool breeze from the sea had made my walk easier. I continued walking and taking photographs, and ultimately finished the walk in 4 hours at Eminönü.

Here are some of the photographs that I took during my walk.


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