Readers' emails: hanging out at Cafe Babel in Cihangir, Istanbul

Article published on Sept. 27, 2011
community published
Article published on Sept. 27, 2011
© Nela Milic'My favourite place in the whole of Istanbul is Cafe Babel. In the two weeks I have spent here, I have visited it every other night as it is truly the cosiest cafe in Cihangir, a neighbourhood in the European part of Istanbul, where I am staying (and indeed possibly in all of Istanbul). Perhaps this is because of its internationalism. The barman often stands on the street, inviting passersby like me to come in. He doesn’t do this in the way you often see in areas with lots of restaurants where everyone says hello and places the menu in your hands while you are walking on down the street. This guy is interested what are you doing in Istanbul. When I accepted his invitation to come into the cafe the first evening, he brought me food and drink according to what I told him about myself: caj, grapes, coffee, aubergines - all fits, trust me! But before tucking in, you need to move the cat that has curled up in your lap as though you are a regular here. The friend I am staying with told me that the owner, Hassan is her friend. Another friend also suggested we meet there as she frequents the place because Hassan's son studies in London where she lives too. When we arrive, another friend is sitting there as she is currently staying at Hassan's. What a space of gathering - local and cosmopolitan and right in the middle of this great city that connects the continents.'

© Nela Milic

© Nela Milic

© Nela Milic

© Nela Milic Text and images by London-based Serbian photographer Nela Milic