The city of one thousand and one veils

Lina's diary


“The architecture of Istanbul gives a fleeting impression of Lisbon, something of Monemvassia, a hint of Paris—I even found some Rome as I strolled around. Monemvassia came to my mind as soon as I saw Haghia Sophia. It is great the way architecture can blend different places and earlier times into the ‘here and now’.

At the Yeni Camii I remove my shoes and walk inside. I sit on the carpet and watch the others at pray. Some are just lying there, unmoving, contemplating the dome which is lined with Iznik tiles. Others bend down and touch their head on the floor. The muezzin says what he has to say. It is quiet and cool. There are no pictures, just elaborate decorations. I take out my mobile and take photos as discreetly as possible. Then there is nothing else to do. In mosques there is nowhere for the gaze to focus. You either look at the others or inside you. I pray—out of curiosity: will He hear me?…”

Lina Stefanou is a real flâneur, in the Baudelairean sense. She wanders around every city NOMAS visits in order to comprehend it. Her diary is the result of her wanderings.