It would be impossible to summarise Istanbul. There are only impressions, feelings and thoughts. No matter how many different perspectives you would acquire, there are simply too many different paths and lives here, to give a conclusion so sound that its people find their own stories back in it.
A city this huge just makes you realise there is yet more to explore. Never enough, there is always another corner and another road, another family and another party. Life of the Istanbul wo/man seems never-ending and no words can really grasp what this city is about.
Highlights, this is one of the few things what you might be able to offer. I recently made one small effort for this purpose. With the photo-essay “Live it and you will love it” I offer a viewpoint of what Istanbul-life for me is about, how I perceived the city, and how I see the people and culture here. I hope it offers you a good snapshot of Istanbul.
I find this country and this city one of the most social I have been so far. People meet each other everywhere and nobody seems lonely. True, there is a lot of poverty and people who just try to survive but somehow they always receive a lot of support from each other. Here I see people interacting with each other continuously. Meeting on the street, a random passer-by, somebody who waits for a bus or sits next to you on the boat, they are all excuses for a conversation.
And when they find out you are not from here, they become very curious and want to know where you are from, what you are doing here and how you like it. Imagine that in a city such as London, Amsterdam, Paris or Barcelona. No way that someone would even show the slightest interest in your life or imagine people talking in the bus or whilst queuing!
Here, though, the person you start talking to will respond with genuine interest, without hesitation. Imagine how it feels to have the freedom just to talk to anyone you like. What therefore might be one of the biggest paradoxes of this massive town with more than fifteen million people: there are no strangers here, only people you still have to meet.