Fishermen of Istanbul

When fishing in a city is a need

Great Expectations

The purpose of my journey to Istanbul was not only to explore its stunning architecture and get acquainted with its rich culture, but also to learn about ordinary things and see people's everyday life. Before coming here, I had a little understanding of how people from lower classes earn money and get their food. My trip to the jewel of Turkey explained it all.

Galata Bridge

I decided to dedicate my evening walk to visiting the Galata Bridge that goes across the Golden Horn because it opens a picturesque view on the city at night. I was greatly surprised to see plenty of people, young and old, fishing.

Fishing Routine

Some people have obviously spent the whole day on the Bridge; their buckets filled with salt water had enough fish for the whole family. Others seemed tired and disappointed. They did not manage to catch enough and kept adjusting their fishing poles and watching the baits sunk the water.

Why fishing?

I asked several people about the reason that brought them fishing at such a late hour. Are they so strongly dedicated to their hobby that they do not want to live the Bridge? As for me, most of the people did not seem like they enjoy fishing in a chilly evening wind. It started getting dark and cold. The fishermen kept sipping tea and coffee, some of them decided to start a small fire next to the place where they organized heir fishing gear.

Fishing as a part of life

The people who agreed to talk to me, said that fishing is not only their way of life, but a way of getting food for their families. They added that they fish up to four days per week in order to supply enough food even during winters.

Some fishermen manage to earn some money from selling their catch to passers by; however, that does not bring enough income, so they choose not to rely on it.

The fact that there are young people who fish in order to survive has shocked me the most.

It is not common for citizens of large cities to be getting their food this way, and fishing from a bridge in the middle of a city can be read as a tragic sign of poverty and unemployment.

View gallery

Two sides of a coin

The joy of traveling is that you never know what you are going to discover in a particular city or country before you actually go there and see it. Istanbul did not just amaze me with its architecture, cuisine, and souvenirs, but also showed me a different side of people's life that consists of hunger and poverty. I believe that there are many ways to support those people, but in order to do that we need to take real steps instead of carelessly saying, "Go fish."

Fishermen of Istanbul
By Iuliia Shirinkina