Sounds of Istanbul

Every city has its own unique sounds.

I especially miss the sounds of Istanbul when I am not in the city.

Yes, İstanbul is a very crowded and sometimes unbearably loud city. But if you listen carefully enough, it tells you a mysterious story.

The day starts with the ‘ezan’, call for the prayer, almost like a serene song reaches you from the high minarets of the mosques. If it is a Sunday, ringing bells of the churches accompany it with beautiful harmony.

If you are close to the Bosphorus, you will hear the scream of the seagulls.

You can definitely meet the cheerful voices of the street hawkers at any point of the city, in street markets, in Grand Bazaar, in Spice Market, or from the salesman next to his simit tray.

In Istanbul, if you drive, you still horn regularly, it might be the most heard sound in the city.

Sirens of the ambulance and police are the everyday sounds as well.

One of my favorites is the chirrup of the children in the schoolyards or in the playgrounds that blend with the barks and tweets.

At night you can still hear howling dogs and hooting owls.

In summer you can hear the south west breeze that swings the poplar trees in the afternoon and nocturnes of the fireflies take the stage at night.

Sirens of the ferries are among the classical sounds of Istanbul.

When there is a derby in the city you hear the marching supporters from the stadium miles away.

Students sing the national anthem every Monday morning and Friday afternoon.

Mothers call to their children playing in the narrow streets of the neighbourhoods, form the balcony of their apartments for lunch or dinner.

You can hear your boots squeezing on the fresh snow early in the morning and in absolute silence.

You hear classical Turkish music, ‘musiki’ from the taverns and of course the clings form the raising glasses to health and honour with laughters.

Hundreds of other sounds can be added to this list and no horrific sound you can imagine is ‘normal’ in our beautiful city, Istanbul.