Hemingway in Istanbul

A brief guide to Ernest Hemingway’s Constantinople

In 1922 Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris and worked as a freelance journalist for «The Toronto Daily Star». The newspaper ordered him to Constantinople (renamed Istanbul in 1930) to cover the war between Greece and Turkey. He left Paris on September 25 and arrived in Constantinople in the morning on the 29th.

«The Golden Horn Not Golden at All, But Just a Tangle of Shipping».

All places on Google Maps.

1. Sirkeci railway station

Sirekci İstasyon Cd. 2, Hoca Paşa Mah., 34110, Sirkeci, Fatih, İstanbul, Turkey

Sirkeci railway station is the eastern terminus of the world-famous Orient Express train that operated between Paris and Istanbul in the period between 1883 and 2009. It was at this station that Hemingway arrived on September 29 1922.

Modern railway station and historic platform.

He departed from Turkey back to Paris not from Istanbul but from Karaağaç railway station in Edirne² on October 18.

2. Grand Hotel de Londres

Asmalı Mescit, Meşrutiyet Cd. No: 53, 34430, Beyoğlu, İstanbul, Turkey

Upon arrival Hemingway took a taxi to the Grand Hotel de Londres, which was recommended to him by a Frenchman he had encountered on the train³. In his first dispatch from the place he typed:

Constantinople is noisy, hot, hilly, dirty, and beautiful… packed with uniforms and rumors.

After a while he caught malaria, then moved to the Montreal Hotel¹ (the spot was not preserved), and in the end he was too ill to join other correspondents to cover the events, so he left the city on October 14. Nevertheless, he wrote twenty articles about the Greco-Turkish War based on this trip.

3. Beyoğlu

A view of the Beyoğlu from the Galata Bridge.

During his stay in the city, Hemingway interviewed a number of people from the Turkish and Allied sides and explored Beyoğlu district (at that time it was called Pera):

Pera is the European quarter. It is higher on the hill than Galata, the business quarter, and is all strung along the one narrow, dirty, steep, cobbled, tramcar-filled street. All the public buildings of Pera are uniform in their resemblance to the square, packing-case shaped Carnegie library…

3.1. As you might guess, «…one narrow, dirty, steep, cobbled, tramcar-filled street» is Istiklal Avenue.

3.2. The brothels of the Galata and Karaköy neighborhoods could be included in the sphere of his interests².

Zürafa Sokak is the street where the first brothels in Istanbul were opened in the early XX century, but today (2022 year) the street is demolished.

4. Orient Bar (Pera Palace Hotel)

Evliya Çelebi, Meşrutiyet Cad. No: 52, Tepebaşı, 34430, Beyoğlu, İstanbul, Turkey

It seems to be that Ernest Hemigways was hanging out in the Orient Bar, which is located on the ground floor of the Pera Palace Hotel. Now there are photos of the writer in the interior of the bar and the hotel.

List of the sources

  1. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story by Carlos Baker (p. 97–98)
  2. Hemingway in Turkey: Historical Contexts and Cultural Intertexts by Himmet Umunç
  3. Hemingway in Turkey: The Influence of His Turkish Experiences on His Writing by Neriman Kuyucu
  4. Wolfgang Stock’s blog:

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Andrey Enin

Andrey Enin

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Quality assurance engineer: I test complex web applications and APIs, and do automation testing.