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Built in 1715 to serve a palace school, the Galatasaray Hammam, in the heart of the European quarter, has always catered to a better class of bather. Trainee diplomats steamed here, and stranded gentlemen whiled away the night. Then in the Sixties it was given a makeover and became the haunt of celebrities and spies. Today it retains its air of glamour and exclusivity
The hammam’s history goes back to 1498, when Beyazıd II built a preparatory school for bright Balkan children destined for the ultimate hothouse of Ottoman education, the Topkapı Palace school. Both the palace school and the baths serving them were later abandoned, but a new hammam – the present one– was bult on the foundations of the old in 1715, when Ahmet III revived the school in what was still virtually countryside.
The association of the school with the baths continued when the school reopened its doors as the Galatasaray Lycée in the mid-19th century and became Turkey’s school for diplomats. It was still a regular haunt of Turkish diplomats well into the 1960’s. In 1965 the hammam was overhauled at great expense, and women’s baths were added.
Bodrum’s peace was shattered in 1856 by the arrival of a warship bearing one of the most ambitious archaeological expeditions Britain has ever launched. Leading it was Charles Newton. His mission was to locate, excavate and carry home one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
On the tiny island of Bozcaada (Tenedos), a mere speck in the Aegean, great wines are emerging that rival the best the world can ofer. The Corvus vineyards, once among the Mediterranean’s most celebrated, have suffered centuries of neglect. Kevin Gould raises a glass to their renaissance with the founder of Corvus, Resit Soley. www.corvus.com.tr
See Cornucopia’s self-guided wine tour
Another masterpiece by the imperial architect Sinan, the Cınılı Hammam in the Old City of Istanbul was built for the legendary corsair-turned-admiral Barbaros Hayrettın Pasha, or Barbarossa, in the 1540s. Today it is far from grand, and only a few of the tiles that gave it the name Çınılı (Tiled) are still in evidence. But nothing can diminish the effect of the soaring curvy arches supporting a series of imposing domes.
When it was built in 1741 in the new Baroque style, Cağaloğlu was at the forefront of architectural fashion. But this temple of cleanliness in the Old City marks the dramatic swansong of the grand Ottoman hammam.
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