|Abstract: ||The purpose of this dissertation was to present the figure of the bridge as a central element in the discourse regarding Constantinople/Istanbul over the centuries. Istanbul, because of its geographical location, cultural and historical contexts is and was regarded as a meeting point, and place of connection, as well as a reference point for differences and boundaries. The bridge appears here as an inevitable and primary category, and at the same time as an overused category. The bridge is both an actual building, important in the city's everyday life, and a metaphor of the city. The figure of the bridge is a dominant, when looking at Istanbul. At the same time, it often ceases to fulfill its functions - the overuse of it is causing deepening of divisions, and strengthening the borders instead of eliminating them. Istanbul is shown in the context of many differentiations and distintions, especially: East/West, Asia/Europe, Islam/Christianity.
This dissertation consists of five chapters, in which individual aspects of the studied phenomenon are being discussed. In the first chapter, the bridge is presented as both a building, and a discursive figure, functioning in the context of Constantinople/Istanbul (in the language, symbolic, historical dimension). The figure of the bridge is shown in the context of the broad cultural image of the city and meanings attributed to it over the centuries, and analyzed in the context of the city space, which at the same time, enables contact and creates divisions.
The second chapter is a presentation of actual bridges functioning in the urban space of Istanbul – both those connecting the shores of the Bosphorus Strait and the bay of Golden Horn, as well as other connections between city districts. Bridges, cableways, tunnels and other infrastructural investments are also presented in the context of political discourse, aims of building national and state identity by the authorities, and Turkey's internal political and international situation.
The third chapter consists of an analysis of texts related to Istanbul, in which individual elements related to the city, its everyday life and a broader perception of it are themed. It shows how Istanbul stories are being created, and what they have in common, regardless of the author's reference point and cultural and literary background, it shows how the myth of the city is being constructed and used, and how it trelates into the everyday life of its inhabitants.
The fourth chapter is focused on the modernization project that dominates Turkey over the centuries and its effects – social, cultural, infrastructural. The history of Ottoman/Turkish railways and railway stations is presented here, stations, that for decades were serving as a "gate" between the space of the worlds of West and East. The myth of the city presented earlier 264
is here shown in the specific contexts of historical events, and feature stories, that were built around it.
The last chapter highlights the dysfunctionality of the figure of the bridge – it’s an analysis of stories related to Istanbul, which prove the reverse perception of this city as a space of meeting and connection. The “bridge city” is being presented shown as a place that may cause the inability to clearly determine one's identity and belonging to a certain place.
In summary, in addition to summarizing the conclusions from five chapters, the figure of the bridge in the context of the cultural image of Istanbul is also shown in the broader background of Turkey's contemporary internal and international situation, its contacts and relations with Europe, as well as the phenomena of globalization and the global discourse.|