Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wisdom from the East

In Istanbul there is one of the world's most renowned architectural structures, the Hagia Sophia (Turkish Aya Sofya), the Church of Divine Wisdom. (No, this is not pagan; it's a reference to Christ Jesus as the "wisdom of God"; 1 Cor. 1:18). Even though it was built under Emperor Justinian in the 500s it was, and still remains, to my knowledge, the largest free-standing dome in the world--a feat not even Sultan Suleyman the Great could top with his Blue Mosque over a millenium later.

But I think that there's another type of wisdom in Turkey: they don't have mortgages. I saw numerous concrete skeletons of half-built apartments dotting the city's hills, which scratched my curiosity. Then I found out that most people in Turkey don't use credit to build their homes; they simply build only as much as they can afford in cash at that time. Sure, things take longer that way, but they don't have debt. Can anyone in America even fathom that? It used to be that you had to put at least 20% down in cash--but no more! So while we think we're so economically advanced here in the U.S., it's really the Turks who will never have a credit crisis.


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

where do they live until they can finish their own places?

Andrew said...

They live somewhere else, I guess. It's almost entirely apartment buildings there, where each floor has 1-3 flats on it. Whole families will build an apartment building, and then each subunit of the family gets a separate apartment, renting out others to finance the project.