Sacred Spaces in a Holy City. Crossing Religious Boundaries in Istanbul at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century
The article examines Muslim pilgrimages to Christian places of worship in Istanbul after the 1950s. It aims to answer whether and how the Ottoman heritage of cultural diversity fits or does not fit with the pattern of the nation-state. After a brief bibliographic overview of the issue of shared sacred spaces, the presentation assembles, as a first step, some of the key elements of Istanbul’s multi-secular links with religious practices: the sanctity of the city both for Christianity and Islam; the long tradition of pilgrimages and their importance for the local economy; meanings and etymologies of the word pilgrimage in the most common languages of the Ottoman space; and the silence of the nineteenth century’s Greek sources concerning the sharing of worship. The second part focuses more specifically on some Orthodox
Greek sacred spaces in Istanbul increasingly frequented by Muslims during the last decades.