After some preparation – organizing a GPS device, renting a fishing boat, looking for ways to cross through military zones (no way!) – we got started one morning in February 2007 around 8 a.m., starting our excursion from a point near Atatürk Airport. The line we were going to walk measured 26 kilometres, passing the 41st degree of longitude, with Hagia Sophia at its centre until we reached the suburb Ümraniye within the Asian part of the city.
It took us three days to walk the line – a route of about 40 kilometres as, of course, we were not always able to walk it straight through the city: houses, gardens, the Efes brewery, the Bosphorus and many more hindrances came into our way and had to be circumvented. However, while we were walking we marked our line by dispersing seed which – we hope – has meanwhile started to grow and blossom. We also exchanged objects with people we met during our trip: In return for our compass we received a ring, for the ring we later received a necklace and so on. Eventually we ended up with a pocket knife. Our little project also gave us the opportunity to talk to people and get to know them a little. The line developed some kind of a personality for us, consisting of the characters and stories we had encountered.
Afterwards, during a workshop, we created a map of all the experiences and information we had gathered while walking the line. We would love to share our experiences by providing pictures, text and a map which shows our on-line-walk – and let other people experience it, too.
Istanbul is a highly complex city. Line walking provides a good structure to grasp it without loosing orientation.
Jana Mende lived in Istanbul from September 2006 to July 2007. For more information on the project and to view the map of their walk visit: http://8ung.at/jesh/
Translated from German by Dorte HUNEKE