Never write about a place until you're away from it because that gives you perspective.
If that's the case, I should always secure a way out of Beirut...
Speaking of which, i will be going to Istanbul soon. I've never been before, but during my 5 days stay, i am hoping to uncover some of facets of this cosmopolis, which apparently is so happening.
In my mind, Istanbul/Costantinople was the center around which Beirut orbited for 5 centuries ( 15th-20th).
As a province, Beirut was governed/urbanized/reformed following empire-wide parameters ( Maha Yahya's Unnamed Modernisms is an excellent read on the subject).
I always fantasized what the territorial railway network which Ottomans deployed across the empire would have become hasn't all the region become partitioned by Colonialism and plagued by oversensitive geopolitical boundaries (not that I share the SSNP's vision for Greater Syria, on the contrary).
Here is a map of the Ottoman railroad linking Istanbul to Hijaz. The deconcerting factor in reading the map is that there was no borders yet. Definitely refreshing...
In this meantime, I am preparing my visit by re-visting Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie( which I am planning to visit) and doing my good urbanist homework by learning the city inside out on maps.