10 Novels You Will Travel to Old Istanbul While Reading

Istanbul, one of the oldest cities in the world, is a historical city that was first the capital of the Roman Empire, then the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire, then the Byzantine Empire and finally the Ottoman Empire. Which has hosted many civilizations; it is extremely possible to find art, history and culture all over the city. Being a source of inspiration for artists, Istanbul is also the subject of many novels. We have compiled for you novels that take place in Istanbul and take us to the city’s past.


Üç İstanbul – Mithat Cevdet Kuntay

Üç İstanbul

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Üç İstanbul, written by Mithat Cemal Kuntay, is a book that reflects the difficulties of the period to the reader with a different perspective. The work titled ” Üç Istanbul ” is always among the top 10 books in the list of books that tell about old Istanbul, and it describes three different lives of Istanbul and especially social life. Üç İstanbul novels describe İstanbul before 1936 and three different periods in the life of Adnan, the protagonist of the novel. The novel, which gives details about old İstanbul with its effective stories, also touches on the historical contents of the period.


Huzur – Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar


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The novel, which tells about Old Istanbul with all its beauty, takes you on a nostalgic tour. Written by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, it tells the beauties of Istanbul as a gripping story about love and peace. You can be sure that you will frequently come across lines depicting the beauties of old Istanbul in this novel, where you will be a guest of the lives of the protagonist Mümtaz and Nuran. In the novel, which expresses the social pressure of the period, the reader is shared with how Nuran, a widow, lives in love and peace. Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar is at the top of the list of books to be read in a trice with her immersive language.


Esir Şehir Üçlemesi – Kemal Tahir

Esir Şehir Üçlemesi

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The Esir Şehir Üçlemesi tells about slavery and freedom in the story set in the streets of Istanbul. The story of the novel, which is a combination of Kemal Tahir’s three books, takes place during the years of the War of Independence. With his unique style, the author explains in detail the effects of the occupation of Istanbul and the transition period of the Republic to multi-party life in these three books. You can learn many details about old Istanbul in the book, which is on the list of historical novels.


Ağır Roman – Metin Kaçan

Ağır Roman

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The Ağır Roman tells about the unknown aspects of Istanbul and has an important place in Turkish literature. Metin Kaçan, who tells the subjects other than the visible, known and spoken details of Istanbul in his own style, almost captivates the reader. The book, which was also adapted into a film in 1997, managed to get full marks from both the reader and the audience. The work called Ağır Roman takes place in Dolapdere district. This novel describes the life in Dolapdere district and the jargon of the inhabitants in perfect harmony. Its versatile structure, far from life in the well-known and popular districts of Istanbul, has been skilfully explained.


Boğazkesen: Fatih’in Romanı – Nedim Gürsel

Boğaz Kesen

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Boğazkesen: Fatih’in Romanı is in the category of historical novels and presents the old Istanbul with all its details. Composed of 6 chapters, the novel touches on a different story in each chapter by presenting different transition periods and stories to the reader. The book, which offers a different perspective on historical novels by Nedim Gürsel, describes the conquest of Istanbul in an extraordinary language. With the fiction and storyline of the author, the story extends from Istanbul to Edirne. In addition, another striking aspect of the novel is that its protagonist is Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Important figures are also frequently featured in the novel.


İstanbul Bir Masaldı – Mario Levi

İstanbul Bir Masaldı

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Mario Levi, telling about Istanbul from the life and perspective of a Jewish family, presents the life and unknown stories of Jews in Istanbul between 1920 and 1980 in his own style. The storyline of the novel with intense literary features; people who migrated and their lives. Mario Levi, who presents sadness and pain with a perspective contrary to what is known, attracts great attention from readers with his novel İstanbul Bir Masaldı. The book, in which old Istanbul is told in a very detailed and intense way, also draws attention with its gripping story. Despite being written in a heavy language, the novel offers a romantic narrative far from exaggerated expressions.


Leyla’nın Evi – Zülfü Livaneli

Leyla'nın Evi

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The book, which presents an extraordinary story with the plain narration of Zülfü Livaneli, both tells about the old Istanbul and also tells the adventure of Mrs Leyla, the pasha grandson who was born and raised in the Bosnian mansion on the Bosphorus. The story, which brings together the characters of Mrs Leyla and Roxy, people with different characters, takes you on a short trip to the old streets and life of Cihangir. Leyla’nın Evi novel, which has been adapted to theatre and cinema, is included in the list of important and valuable books translated into 30 languages.


Masumiyet Müzesi – Orhan Pamuk

Masumiyet Müzesi

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The novel, which started with the words “It was the happiest moment of my life, I did not know”, is known as a complete Istanbul novel that successfully conveys many other emotions along with some sadness and pain. Kemal, the protagonist of the Masumiyet Müzesi, a novel that tells about love under the authorship of Orhan Pamuk, starts looking for love in the streets and in Istanbul instead of looking for love among women. With this feature, it has been a novel that describes Istanbul very well to the reader. Istanbul, Kemal’s museum of love, offers the reader a unique love of Istanbul.


İstanbul Hatırası – Ahmet Ümit

İstanbul Hatırası

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“Seven sacrifices, seven monarchs, seven coins, seven ancient places. And one fact: the mysterious history of this city.”Ahmet Umit’s crime novel, The İstanbul Hatırası, also ranks first among the novels in which Istanbul is told totally. İstanbul Hatırası offers you a lot of information with its interesting stories. Moreover, it is also possible to take a small Istanbul tour in the novel accompanied by the action.


İstanbul’un Bir Yüzü – Refik Halit Karay

İstanbul'un Bir Yüzü

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” İstanbul’un Bir Yüzü ” a novel in which old Istanbul is described very well, has come to life in the pen of Refik Halid Karay. The heroes of the novel, which tells about the chaos, change and effects of the period on Istanbul with a different perspective, consist of people from Istanbul who try to keep up with the new era. Combining fluent and plain language with a gripping story, the novel offers you the unknown characteristics of Istanbul. Moreover, you will be amazed by the authorship of Refik Halit Karay!


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