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Quick + Cool: Istanbul Stock Exchange

November 4, 2010

I mentioned a week ago the potential of Pat Yale and Saffet Emre Tonguc’s Istanbul: The Ultimate Guide. To convince you to get this book, and not a Lonely Planet or Rick Steves or whatever, I’m going to flip to a random page in the book and tell you a cool story about it. Let’s see how it goes.
I spent some formative years in Chicago. So I know what from impressive architecture to serve heady economic needs. That said, when I flipped to the Istinye page, I learned something new. The Istanbul Stock Exchange is in a very, very, cool, building.

If you want to convince me that bankers aren’t evil, don’t let them work in places that look like top secret villain lairs

I have a lot of love for Turkey’s modernist architecture, both the good and the bad. I just appreciate any attempt to get away from the “Ottoman with Concrete” that gets built all over…that stuff is ugly and uninspired. Mimar Sinan you ain’t. So anyone who tries something else will at least get a polite golf clap from me.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC is actually a good example of taking cues from Ottoman styles without going full Iznik. Another example a bit closer to home is the mid-century Inonu Stadyumu. Another one that gets a lot of hate from people but I personally love is the Ataturk Kultur Merkezi.

Cool things have been built since Abdulmecid II left Istanbul for good. Be sure to check them out.

And because I’m still a sucker for current events, it warrants mentioning that the Istanbul Stock Exchange is at the eye of a current mini-storm. A strong rain, if you will. Mark Mobius, “emerging markets fund manager” may or may not have played games with the ISE. It depends on who you believe, I guess. BNE has a report on it and FT has some snark. I’m not enough of an economics person to figure it out and my allegiances are a bit easily swayed. But its another interesting drama in Turkey to keep an eye on.

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