While Istanbulites live in a city full of historical sites, in the rush of one’s daily life one rarely gets the opportunity to stop and appreciate them. We may pass by one of the city’s many palaces daily on the way to work but never take the time to detour and go inside. If we visited the Hagia Sophia 15 years ago with a school trip, we see no particular reason to revisit the landmark as adults. We take their presence for granted—after all, they have been in the same spot for centuries.
Many of the monuments and sites we see today have replaced ones of the past. If we are lucky, we can see how the site looked like decades and centuries ago in a black and white photo. If we are not so lucky, we can only read about these monuments in chronicles and narratives. These stories become their own form of historical preservation.
The founder of ONE Association Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan started to lobby for cultural protection of the Mosaic Road long before international travelers began to shy away from Turkey due to insecurity. Together with İlber Ortaylı, professor and historian, she put the region on the international agenda again, presenting the global relevance of the historical site and its ties to numerous cultures and civilizations. In this issue, we invite you to explore that area of Turkey with a cultural tour extending beyond the Mosaic Road to Mardin, a city so unique its entire landscape has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We also invite you to share with others what you have seen; lasting memories are created through personal stories, after all, rather than social media posts.