Plus, sometimes "elegant decay" just means "run-down." And don't get me started on graffiti!
Michael, check out the restaurant Albura Kathisma. Besides good food, they found an old "palace" from Roman times underneath the resto. It is being excavated over time. They will let you in if you ask. One of the coolest things we saw in Istanbul!
Great post. Same here in Portugal, at least in Lisbon and Sintra. If the locals simply think that that their architecture is simply something beautiful to be protected, that's good enough. Americans wouldn't even go that far.