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The Ottomans were not only passionate about flowers. They turned the enjoyment of gardens into an art form. John Carswell leafs through a lavish volume which unlocks the gate to the pleasure grounds of Istanbul’s imperial palaces.
The Turkish passiomn for flowers is well documented both by Turks themselves and by foreign visitors. It is remarkable that one of the few surviving portraits of Mehmed the Conqueror in the fifteenth century should have him sniffing a rose, which is hardly a belligerent gesture…
If the Turkish love of flowers inspired all Europe with a similar passion in the sixteenth century, it is as well to remember that many Turkish varieties came from further east, from Central Asia, and even China.
SPECIAL OFFER: order three beautiful garden-themed issues, including this one, for only £60. List price £102
Dipping into a Mediterranean idyll, Stephen and Nina Solarz have built a haven high above the harbour of Kalkan. Andrew Finkel paid them a visit. Photographs by James Mortimer
A small and perfectly formed exhibition of Iznik pottery held in Qatar has given birth to a fittingly exquisite catalogue
Red peppers, chillies, maize and sunflowers set the Mediterranean ablaze with their pungent flavours and fiery colours. But of all the Aztecs’ gifts, it is the tomato, above all, that tastes of the sun
Sold in 2003 for record prices, these magical daguerrotype plates of Istanbul in the 1840s are the earliest known photographic images of the city. They are the work of Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, an obsessive Frenchman with a passion for Islamic architecture. By Elizabeth Meath Baker.
In the closing years of the nineteenth century, the Aegean coast of Turkey witnessed three of the greatest archaeological finds of all time. The discovery of Ephesus and Troy made international headlines overnight. But the third – an unassuming stone house in an isolated forest – was immediately enveloped in secrecy. By Donald Carroll
Under the Ottomans, Kirkuk’s ancient citadel was the heart of a thriving cosmopolitan city. But politics and oil have reduced it to a deserted ruin. Owen Matthews, who has been covering northern Iraq for several years, visited Kirkuk at the end of the recent war. Photographs by Ashley Gilbertson
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