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Marbled rind and coral flesh… the watermelon, essence of summer.
Text and photograph by Berrin Torolsan
Thriving on sandy, alluvial riverbanks, thousands of tons of watermelons are cultivated annually in Turkey.
Every region has its speciality – the 17th -century traveller Evliya Çelebi lists 16 places famous for their watermelons, including Istanbul and Lapseki, suppliers to the sultan’s table. Today there are all sorts of varieties, such as the yellow-fleshed fruits from Bursa or the deep-green stripy watermelons from Tekirdağ, growing on the banks of the Meriç river in Thrace, that are often so crisp that you only need to touch them with a knife to crack them open and reveal their scarlet, sorbet-like contents.
More cookery features
With a taste for adventure Indiana Jones would appreciate, the Dutch architectural historian Machiel Kiel has risked life and limb in his mission to expose the annihilation of Ottoman monuments in the Balkans. The art historian Holta Vrioni pays tribute to his work and exploits
When Amsterdam’s renovated Rijksmuseum reopens in 2013, the public will be able to visit the Turkish Cabinet of Cornelis Calkoen, the Dutch republic’s ambassador to Istanbul from 1727 to 1744. For more than a century now the museum has been the keeper of his collection of paintings.
She was born to be a New York society beauty, but the late Josephine Powell’s chosen world was that of the Anatolian Nomad. Five years after her death, her archive of photographs recording old Anatolia in all its glory will see the light of day in Istanbul
As Turkey and the Netherlands celebrate
400 years of fruitful trade with a series of spectacular exhibitions in both countries, Philip Mansel, author of a new history of the Levant, reflects on the curious role of the Dutch at the Sublime Porte
Not far from the World Heritage city of Safranbolu lies the quiet village of Yörük Köyü, once famed for its valiant cavalry. Berrin Torolsan continues her series on Anatolia’s country houses with a visit to the Sipahioğlu Konak, a beautifully built mansion of satisfying simplicity and unassuming flair.
Rather than follow the crowd and dismiss Ankara as a dull, soulless modern capital, says Patricia Daunt, visitors should take time to discover why the famed Angora of old, twice capital in ancient times, is back on the map.
Over the past decade Turkey’s wine industry has come of age. It is now more than ready to join the grown-ups of the wine-producing world. Kevin Gould and the Cornucopia team pick the best of a sparkling bunch. Photographs by Berrin Torolsan.
Cornucopia’s self-guided wine tours
The First Balkan War, a hundred years ago, is an obscure affair, overshadowed by the First World War that followed. But it ended the Ottoman Empire in Europe and came close to ending Turkey itself. It left almost half a million refugees and three times as many dead. David Barchard tells the story of a catastrophic conflict
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