To save its fine architecture, a volcanologist has come up with a plan: to turn Kula into an elegant spa town by tapping its plentiful thermal springs. By Roger Williams. Photographs by Jean Marie del Moral and Roger Williams
Kula is thought to be the town referred to by the Greek geographer Strabo as Katakaumene, from kata kamen, meaning ‘burnt fires’, on account of the old volcanoes that tuck the town up like well-plumped pillows. These slumbering cones, mostly fertile now and overgrown with fields of wheat and tobacco, wild pear and melons, first erupted a million years ago.
Kula lies 140km east of Izmir and is easy to get to by bus, but the only real way to see the region round the town is by car.
Three köftes still stand out in my memory. Just thinking of them makes my taste buds ache. The first was in my early childhood: freshly grilled cizbiz kofte, a round patty the size of a flattened walnut, so named because it makes a delicious ‘jiz-biz’ sizzling sound as it cooks…
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High in the Toros Mountains, Chris Gardener finds the remote Kasnak Forest carpeted with peonies in spring. Photographs by Kate Clow
The Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky may have been derided by the avant-garde, but his dreamy seascapes and atmospheric panoramas won him patrons in high places. Ivan Samarine rediscovers a 19th-century virtuoso
The world’s grandest chalet was built by Abdülhamid II for the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1889 and was a powerhouse of political activity in the final years of the empire. Today the house in the grounds of Yıldız Palace, on a hill in Istanbul, is all but forgotten. Philip Mansel treads softly through its silent halls. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg