Anatolian, Ottoman and Turkic cultures have left their marks from Samarkand to the galleries, museums and country houses in the West. Scattered, too, are relics of antiquity and Byzantium.
An important thread in Turkey’s cultural life was sewn by the New York philanthropist Christopher Robert. In 1863, with fellow American Cyrus Hamlin whom he met in Istanbul during the Crimean War, he founded Robert College.
For many Australians, Turkey means ANZAC Day, commemorating the First World War campaign that cost so many Turkish and Australian lives, poignantly remembered in the white marble memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park.
After Constantinople, the largest city in the Ottoman empire was Cairo, and today the city’s bazaar is still a match for Istanbul’s, though traffic in Cairo is infinitely worse. Egypt was under Ottoman rule from 1517 to 1867.
The small, instantly accessible city has the most eye-catching Islamic art museum, designed by Louvre-renovator I.M. Pei and sitting square on its own island at the south end of Doha Bay. It has a large and wide-ranging collection.
A city-state in the United Arab Emirates, located within the emirate of the same name, Dubai has more than 40 art galleries, Christie’s auction house, and an important annual art fair. A new Cultural Village promises more.
“The Silk Road, Samarkand, the River Oxus – what words to set the pulse racing…” so began Minn Hogg’s feature on Samarkand in Cornucopia 33. In the end, Central Asia’s most fabled city left her lost for words.