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I is Istanbul, not Constantinople


The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

I was having a hard time coming up with an entertainment-related I word, until I was chauffeuring the kids around the other day and listening to my iPod. They Might Be Giants came on singing “Istanbul” and the kids immmediately launched into song. Duh. I have to do Istanbul!

It’s actually an old song that TMBG covered. But their version is so catchy and fun. It’s been one of my favorites for a long time. When we were stationed in Germany, AFN aired a commercial highlighting some of the best features of Turkey (where Incirlik Air Base is located) set to this song, and it made me yearn to visit. One of my biggest regrets is not having visited while we were there.

My Master’s thesis had to do with a modern Gothic interpretation of The Historian by Elizabeth Kosova, in which the Muslim conquering of Constantinople plays a significant role. The kids like the verse in the song that goes “Why did Constantinople get the works? That’s nobody’s business but the Turks”, but when they’re a little older I’ll give them a little history lesson that explains.

Just not in gory detail, because the truth gives even me nightmares. (I read Roger Crowley’s 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West. Very graphic.) Considering the history, the song does seem a little inappropriately upbeat, much like “Ring Around the Rosy“. Still, it’s a family favorite.


About Cate Tayler

Mom, Wife, Writer, Catholic, Thinker, Reader, Amateur Gourmand, 'Phins Fan, Superwoman--not always in that order. Fueled by passion and too much caffeine. Lost my cape--it's buried somewhere under that mountain of laundry. Once I find it, look out world!


4 thoughts on “I is Istanbul, not Constantinople

  1. “I”nteresting “I” word — and place. How fortunate you had occasion to visit the area. Enjoy the Challenge.

    Posted by Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice | April 10, 2013, 16:30
  2. LOL, I heart this tune! I’ve heard the original – it’s veeeeeeery laid back, almost trippy. I far prefer the TMBG version. 🙂

    Posted by minalobo | April 10, 2013, 23:37
  3. Love that song. One of my favorites. And I would love to go to that city.

    Posted by melanie schulz | April 11, 2013, 09:51


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