the observer Sun 22 March 2009
Istanbul's Galata Bridge spans the Golden Horn, a broad estuary that flows between the two oldest districts of the city. Traditionally, the southern shore is conservative and eastward looking, while the north bank faces west, marking the gateway to Europe. In its five incarnations since the sixth century AD, the bridge has marked the crossing point between Orient and occident. Existing as a city in itself, its span bustles with merchants, tourists, pickpockets and fishermen. Maks introduces us to bridge society, interweaving individual stories with the broader contexts that shape them. He's a curious, learned guide, neatly potting the sprawling history. Part history lesson, part cultural essay, The Bridge's slender size does not diminish its riches.