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Slavery continued as an institution in Ottoman Istanbul throughout the 19th century, fuelling the imaginations of artists, writers and liberals in Europe, especially in the 1830s when Europe was about to abolish slavery in its own colonies. But was slavery in Turkey as iniquitous as it was then made out? The historian Christopher Ferrard puts a painting in Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery on trial – and finds the claims of one ‘eye-witness’ lacking
Although Europeans living in the East in the 19th century took pains to enlighten their compatriots about foreign cultures, the West seems to have been more interested in the fantasies of the Orient than in the realities. The conflict between fact and fiction is expemplified by two illustrations of the slave market in Istanbul, both dating from the 1830s…
This article was published at the time of the Edinburgh exhibition Visions of the Ottoman Empire
The Anastasian and Theodosian walls together protected the city for many years; but now this vast and beautiful network is under attack from within. Cornucopia investigates the dangers that threaten this important cultural icon and its surroundings.
The Çuruksulu Mehmet Pasha Yali once saw diplomatic service as the home of the ambassador Muharrem Nuri Birgi. Beautifully preserved, its restrained exterior and spacious interior evince the classical age of Ottoman style, and its clifftop position provides timeless views
During the Turkish quail-hunting season, man’s best friend is the sparrowhawk. Roger Upton describes how these redoubtable birds help to bring home the bacon
Berrin Torolsan sheds light on the secrets that ensure fluffy, succulent results from rice, bulgur or couscous, with recipes from the homely to the festive.
More cookery features
The fascination of Istanbul is enough to keep visitors and even the city’s more Westernised residents, from exploring the Asian interior of Central Anatolia, whose local capital, Konya, boasts a million residents and a daunting commitment to Muslim fundamentalism. But a night’s journey by train from Haydarpaşa brings one back to the very dawn of civilisation, and the experience is well worth the not inconsiderable effort of exploring.
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