by Gaetano Belverde

Istanbul, is the city of a hundred names, it straddles two continents as a natural bridge between East and West.

The history of Istanbul is written on its monuments, in the museum of Hagia Sophia the sacred symbols of Christianity coexist with the Muslims as an example of tolerance and civilization for the whole world.

The area of Sultanahmet, where Hagia Sofia is located, is also where most of the ancient city monuments are: Topkapi, the Byzantine Cistern of the Yerebatan Saray Basilica, the Blue Mosque, the National Archaeological Museum, the Grand Bazaar; these are just few of the most famous monuments that deserve a visit.

The local little Markets, the Port of Eminonu, the Armenian Kurdish neighborhood of Balat, the University, or the well-known area of Taksim and Istkal Caddesi, are just few of the other must-seen places of this city. Eminonu is the area of the port and the crucial point between the two shores of the Bosphorus, here in the ìGolden Hornî every night at dusk, the light goes quickly down, and the sky above the bridge turns pink. Here at sunset the view is magnificent, when the signs of the restaurants are turned on they draw coloured beams of light on the water channel; following them your eyes will meet the nearby austere silhouette of the Yamii Mosque.

Every evening sellers of stuffed mussels place their stalls along the Galata Bridge, trading among people and spreading the air with a wonderful smell of fish. The roads of Istanbul are not just a place for walking or running, but a place to meet, play ball, search for coolness in the sultry summer evenings; it is also a place for trading where people sell all sorts of merchandise. In the old bazaar modern merchandise coexists ancient professions, such as blacksmiths producing the copper crescent moon, and sellers of T-shirts and souvenirs and tourism-related new occupations. Two aspects of the city that seem to live together perfectly.

Women and girls glance discreetly at the shop windows full of western clothes. A young girl just out of a bridal shop seems to have been rapt in thought, her gaze lost over the horizon beyond reality. Her head carries the signs of the ancient culture and her mind the desire for emancipation, a wish common among most of the young Turks.

Gaetano Belverde

Gaetano Belverde is a photographer and journalist from Italy.

Although Gaetano’s passion and flair for photography is clear he is not a full time photographer. He also works as a researcher working in an high technology research centre and writes for several Italian newspapers and magazines. He loves telling the tales of the Island of Sicily, its people and traditions. Working as a scientist during the day, and spending most of his free time as a journalist for newspapers and magazines, which were the places where he discovered the world of photography.

Gaetano likes to keep his approach simple, he loves natural light but uses fill flash as required. Working slowly and developing a good rapport with his subjects he also likes to spend a lot of time speaking with people before taking any pictures. Generally working alone with minimal equipment and with a wide lens, he tried to go unnoticed and take the subject spontaneously (for street and reportage).

More pictures and further details can be found at

You can also purchase a book containing the whole Istanbul shoot at

What’s in the bag?
A Nikon D700 body camera with three nikon lens (20mm, 35-70, 85mm), an SB25 strobe flash (fill-in), and a reflector (portrait on available light). For studio sessions a Bowens strobe.

All images copyright © Gaetano Belverde