Stepping Back Through Chalcedon: Kadıköy Walk

Stepping Back Through Chalcedon: Kadıköy Walk

Lisa Morrow, writer of several books about Turkey, has branched out into audio with a talking tour of the Kadıköy district of Istanbul. Using a smarty-pants smartphone app based on GPS technology, Lisa leads the visitor through this vibrant quarter of old Constantinople. She’s called it Stepping Back Through Chalcedon: Kadıköy Walk. As a guide and story-teller, Lisa packs in the facts, the must-sees and the tall tales of legend. With her calming and melodious tones (with just a hint of Oz), Lisa makes the perfect travel companion.

Here’s the blurb:

Lisa Morrow, a long term resident of Istanbul, used VoiceMap to create an audio tour of Kadıköy, tracing back though the history of this once multicultural neighbourhood on the Asian side of the city. Kadıköy is where she regularly shops, walks and socialises, so researching and writing about its forgotten secrets in order to produce a tour sharing her discoveries, was an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Lisa first backpacked through Turkey in 1990. After numerous repeat visits she moved to Kadıköy and started to explore the area’s past. Stopping in a quiet side street she says, “This is Sivastopol Street. It’s likely the street was named by one of the more than 200,000 Russian refugees who landed along the Bosphorus shores, after the Bolshevik’s seizure of power in Russia in the October Revolution of 1917. The majority of Russians had left Istanbul by the end of the 1920s. But people of Greek descent who were born in Turkey, called the Rum population, were thriving”.

Lisa Morrow, writer, sociologist and occasional belly dancer, has used innovative new storytelling platform VoiceMap, to create her own audio walking tour of Kadıköy’s lesser known history. The result is an immersive and entertaining experience through Kadıköy that will leave you with a whole new understanding of Istanbul’s history.

VoiceMap, a recently-launched mobile application for iPhones and Android devices, uses cutting-edge GPS technology and the age-old art of storytelling to change the way people experience cities. “VoiceMap is a publishing platform for location-aware audio tours – or, with less jargon and more poetry, a way of seeing the world through another person’s eyes,” explains CEO and co-founder, Iain Manley.

After downloading the app and selecting a route, VoiceMap users can put their phone in their pocket and follow a storyteller’s voice through a particular neighbourhood, while anecdotes, commentary and opinions play automatically at specific GPS locations.

Very clever, don’t you think? Beats tailing someone waving a clipboard and waiting for stragglers to catch up. And it’s a snip at $6.99 (about £5.60). You can find out more here.

In the meantime, here are some Kadıköy snaps to whet the appetite…

Exploring Turkish Landscapes

Exploring Turkish Landscapes

Confirmed Turkophile, Lisa Morrow, hails from Oz and first visited Turkey in 1990. A three month stay in the village of Göreme set among the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, changed the course of her life and eventually led her to settle in Turkey full time. Now based in Istanbul, Lisa writes about her observations of Turkish life in her blog and her books and I recently had the opportunity to read Lisa’s second book, ‘Exploring Turkish Landscapes, Crossing Inner Boundaries’. This is my tuppence worth.

Exploring Turkish Landscapes‘Exploring Turkish Landscapes’ is a collection of essays which the author, Lisa Morrow, uses to illustrate her journey through the cultural kaleidoscope of a country she fell head over her designer heels with a quarter of a century ago. Vividly described, each essay is an evocative narrative about an aspect of contemporary Turkish life. Taken as whole, the book shines a light on the traditions and tensions of a society that is ‘less western than eastern, yet at times both and something more’, as the author herself puts it. Her observations of family life with its time-worn rituals and rigid social etiquette – both stifling and comforting at the same time –  are particularly illuminating. The book confirms my own experience that it’s hard for a Turk to be different in Turkey, whatever that difference might be.  The author writes about Turkey with huge affection but if I have one small niggle it’s that I wanted to learn a bit more about Lisa Morrow, the person, and how she felt about what she saw. Nevertheless, ‘Exploring Turkish Landscapes’ is a worthy companion for anyone wishing to discover the genuine article beyond the well-trodden tourist trails, bargain-bucket resorts and sanitised all-inclusives.

Check out Lisa’s blog and her books.