A Tale of Two Cities

Weeks filled with travel – I could not have dreamed of a better way to spend my January break. With the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar all out of the way, it was time to dig into the human spirit of the city. Orhan Pamuk stands as one of the country’s most prominent & prolific writers, donning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. I dipped into his memoir Istanbul: Memories & the City prior to landing. Then came The Museum of Innocence: part novel, part museum.

Stumble across the eighty-third chapter of the book and your golden ticket will greet you, granting you free entry into the museum located in the neighborhood of Beyoğlu, off the, dare I say it, M street of Istanbul. A novel that tears away at romance, the reader follows Kemel’s passion for his beloved Fusun, as he obsessively amasses trinkets of his beloved.

Enter the museum & you will be faced with a golden wave, that is 4,213 cigarette butts, followed by eighty-three cabins, for each of the eighty-three chapters, brimming artfully with charms that reflect the story, and more: the daily musings of a Turk, living in Istanbul, in the sixties and seventies, who loves.

Clocks, photographs, tricycles, milk bottles, beds, quotes, and such line the walls. Scattered copies of the book garnish each of the four floors, allowing museum-goers to stop and relive the words. The first of its kind, this museum stands as the wunderkammer of the city, teaching more than one-dimensional experiences through the art of storytelling.

As a student of the Arts in Education, I am always on the hunt for an inspiring museum – you can read more about my adventures at No Fame On M Street. 

Hagia Sophia

C’est Moi

Yours just back from Istanbul,