The hill that goes up to Piyalepasa neighbourhood in Istanbul
  • photography
  • non-fiction

Piyalepasa, Istanbul, Turkey

The hill up to Piyalepasa

by Rajab Eryigit

When I went to the Piyalepasa neighbourhood for the first time, I went up a long hill. For some reason, the hills always remind me of warm and intimate neighbourhoods. At the end of this one, I encountered a tiny shop, (thankfully) still standing. While I was staring at that shop, the hill that I just climbed, the empty streets and run-down buildings, I coincidentally saw two kids. They were sitting in front of an old building and I could hardly hear them. Even though their voice was at a low decibel, I felt like I got on a time machine and travelled to the Piyalepasa’s old times.

A contrasting view of socio-economic segregation in Piyalepasa
A contrasting view of socio-economic segregation in Piyalepasa

I visualised in my mind seeing children running on the streets, the residents doing groceries for dinner from that small shop and people who were going up that hill after a long work-day… It was like a simulation, yet the atmosphere of the neighbourhood was so deeply engraved to its streets that my visualisation felt quite real. Later on, I had some talks with the people in the neighbourhood, each told me diverse descriptions of the simulation that I just had in my vision. In the words of each resident, there were the stories of an old neighbourhood, alive on day and night. I took a stroll with this feeling; as if I was in a neighbourhood that’s still warm, intimate and full of spirit.

A contrasting view of socio-economical segregation in Piyalepasa
A contrasting view of socio-economical segregation in Piyalepasa

I left Piyalepasa with a heavy feeling on my chest, because of seeing the run-down buildings and the manipulation on the empty and silent streets. I felt that I left a demolished neighbourhood whose spirit has been taken away. However at that moment, I knew that Piyalepasa for me will always remain as a vibrant neighbourhood which I got lost in the voices of those two kids.

The original blogpost was created on the 6th April 2020, as part of reflections on our research for the graphic novel.