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Issue 12, 1997

Black Sea Issue

£30.00 / $38.71 / €35.64
($/€ approx)

Hidden magnificence: we travel to the astounding valley of the Çoruh, visit the glorious 11th-century cathedral of Işhan, and explore the haunting mansions of Çamlıhemşın. Indulging in pared-down rustic chic; celebrating Guidalotto’s wicked panorama of Istanbul; enjoying wild crocuses; and discovering our man in wartime Trabzon. Plus delicious recipes for eggs on a plate from Berrin Torolsan


  • Over the hills and far away

    Beyond the towering Black Sea Mountains lies a hidden landscape rich with forgotten medieval churches. For centuries they were ignored, their ancient glories allowed to crumble to dust. Before new roads reached the Coruh Valley, Brian Sewell had to enlist the help of shepherds on his quest to find these forerunners of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

  • The Country Houses that Ride ‘the Storm’

    In the rain forests of Turkey’s Black Sea Mountains, where jackals howl and the River Firtina (the Storm) crashes towards the Black Sea, live the Hemşinli people, who were here when Jason came in search of the Golden Fleece. In more recent years they prospered as bakers and restaurateurs in Tsarist Russia, returning to their beautiful, haunting country houses hidden in the hills east of Trabzon. Patrica Daunt visits one family and shares their memories of a Chekovian rural life.
    Also see Cornucopia 34, Land of a Thousand Mansions

  • Eggs on a Plate

    For centuries the masters of great dishes have owed their success to the egg. It both combines and flatters.
    More cookery features

  • Farmhouse Style

    Outside the seraglio, away from the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, the Turkish interior is a source of inspiration for modern designers: ergonomic, minimalist, refreshingly white-washed.

Inside the issue


  1. Academic Overtures
    Norman Stone in Ankara
  2. Confusing Business
    Andrew Finkel in Washington
  3. Best of Baku
    Peter Wimsey in Azerbaijan
  4. Diary
    Dress sense, common sense and nonsense,
    by Andrew Finkel
  5. One Good Woman and True
    John Brunton talks to Istanbul Film Festival director Hülya Uçansu
    [extract available online]


  1. Connoisseur
    Orientalist, Byzantine and Ottoman Art:
    a viewer's guide, by Philippa Scott
    [extract available online]
  2. Eating Out in Istanbul
    A Man for Four Seasons, by Andrew Finkel

Book Reviews

  1. The Stamp of Authority
    Ottoman Silver Marks, by Garo Kürkman
    Reviewed by John Carswell
  2. The Seven Colours
    Colour and Symbolism in Islamic Architecture, photographs by Roland and Sabrina Michaud.
    Reviewed by Philippa Scott
  3. Arid is as Arid Does
    Aurel Stein: pioneer of the Silk Road,
    by Annabel Walker.
    Reviewed by Antony Wynn
  4. Spot the Barbarians
    The Making of Orthodox Byzantium, by Mark Whittow. Byzantine Art and Architecture, by Lyn Rodley. The Early Byzantine Chruches of Cilicia and Isauria, by Stephen Hill.
    Reviewed by David Barchard
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