Tarlabaşı, an old and historical part of Istanbul has worn many faces since the 16th century when it was home to non-Muslim diplomats.
Time has steadily diminished its assets, and its crumbling real estate is a testament both to past elegance and present urgent housing needs. During the huge demographic changes in Istanbul in the 1950's, many of the abandoned Greek houses were taken over by Kurdish people migrating from eastern Turkey, and by gypsies and refugees. The trans-gender sex trade also found haven here. Long thought to be an unsafe area – both by its residents and by those who wander through – it is now being aggressively gentrified, especially along the broad boulevard that separates it from its noisy and more up-scale neighbour, Beyoğlu. In this latest upheaval, those who have stayed on are adapting to a shrinking world.
This photo essay follows Tarlabaşı’s community life which continues, despite the ravages of time and other peoples' aspirations. Some of the places shown no longer exist.
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