Is there another major city that has had as many historical names as Istanbul has? And yes, Dersaadet was one of the names of Istanbul that was used primarily by the Ottomans prior to the 20th Century.
I am leaving this afternoon for that city of many names, the city that has become obscenely crowded since its quaint days more than a century ago (its population topped 10 million in 2000).
Saray Burnu (Seraglio Point), the promontory in the background, where the Ottoman sultans resided in the Topkapi Palace, until the mid-19th Century. Drawing from The Beauties of the Bosphorus by Julia Pardoe, 1839.
This trip wasn't actually on my schedule until the middle of March when an e-mail came from my friend Zeki Yildirim. It concerned some snail specimens we had collected in July 2006 in southwestern Turkey. We had been suspecting that we had an undescribed species, but Zeki concluded that for a definite diagnosis live specimens were needed for dissection. He told me that his group was planning to return in May to the same location. That's when I instantly developed an unstoppable urge to join them. Our field trips are so much fun that I couldn't have passed this opportunity.
Happy malacologists in the back of a tractor in Turkey in July 2006. From left: Salih, Aydin, Hatice, Tim, Zeki.
I will be gone until 14 May. The field trip itself will take only 3 days; the rest of the time I will be in Istanbul. While I am in Turkey I will have intermittent Internet access and won't be able to post on the blog. Regular postings will resume on the 15th. I will return with good stories and lots of pictures.