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In 1923, Louise Page Morris left the United States for a new life in Turkey, where her husband had been posted by an American tobacco company. In 1995, then in her nineties, she talked to the late Sinan Korle, head of protocol at the UN, about the most enduring memories of her stay in a land ‘beautiful beyond dreams’
Dawn was creeping up. The sea was calm and of no colour, and our ship moved silently towards Istanbul. My new husband was in a deep sleep as I crept from my bunk.
“What on earth are you doing Louise?”
I had wakened him. “I’m going up on deck,” I told him. “We must be nearly there, and I want to see the dawn and Istanbul – by myself.”
“No, no, not on your own,” he said, “I’ll meet you on deck for a coffee.”
I hurried ahead of him to the forward deck. Constantinople looked just as I had hoped it would: beautiful beyond dreams in the silence of a dawn mist, the skyline a pale yellow with a few wisps of cloud, and tiny lights sparkling here and there. This is how my life in Turkey began…
Tracing the history of this beautiful fruit is like reading a fairy tale. It spans continents and cultures like no other fruit, from its presumed natural habitat in the foothills of the Himalayas to the scented paradise gardens of the eastern Mediterranean and the orange groves of California.
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The bunch of Narince grapes Ali Riza Diren is holding in his Anatolian vineyard (illustrated in this vintage issue of Cornucopia) is the raw material of a well kept secret. Tokat’s is an ancient wine, and its production was revived by Ali Riza’s father, to the delight of ambassadors and the approval of a Sotheby’s connoisseur.
High on the central Anatolian plateau, the craggy undulations of Cappadocia’s volcanic landscape conceal a silent world: countless Byzantine sancturies and cathedrals lovingly hollowed from the rock. David Barchard finds two valleys undisturbed since the Dark Ages. Photographs by Sigurd Kranendonk
Amasya, Tokat and Merzifon were once on the trade routes to China, centres of scholarship and commerce. Today they are secluded enclaves of traditional pleasures. John Carswell enjoys a feast of delicate architecture and heady wines. Photographs by Simon Upton
Hidden among the concrete blocks of Teşvikiye is a magnificent mansion riddled with mystery. Masquerading as a Venetian palazzo, Tozan House has disappearing passages, secret stairs and eccentricities it shares with its creator
When Mike Read, the plant conservation officer for Fauna and Flora International (FFI), uncovered a large illegal trade in wild bulbs from Turkey in the 1980s, he and his colleagues were greatly concerned…
The finest school of sculpture in all antiquity was in Aphrodisias. Above the valleys of the Meander in Turkey’s Aegean hinterland, this favourite city of the Emperor Augustus remained largely unknown until the photographer Ara Güler brought it to the attention of the Princeton scholar Kenan T Erim in 1959. Here Ara Güler returns to the city and John Julius Norwich recalls Professor Erim and his first impressions of the sculptures that took his breath away.
The Mosque of Esrefoğlu in Beyşehır, is one of the most beautiful in Anatolia. Built in 1298, it recalls earlier Central Asian traditions. Wooden columns with carved capitals support the splendid roof.
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