- What’s On
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Istanbul without coffee houses is a day without sun. It was here that they were born, and they are still as individual and interesting as their clientele. Savour them while you can, says Andrew Finkel. Photo essay by Monica Fritz
If it’s Wi-Fi you yearn for, if you know the difference between a grande and a venti – or, even stranger, care – and if your idea of an adventurous afternoon is sinking into the not-quite-as-comfortable-as-it-looks pastel-coloured velveteen cushions of an overstuffed armchair, then you are better off in your local Starbucks than the often quite austere surrounds of a Turkish coffee house.
There are fancy ones, of course, but be prepared for chipped Formica tables, straight-backed wooden chairs and even knee-high wobbly stools. It is a hardship worth enduring. Starbucks and its ilk are essentially places to don headphones and tune the world out. People do meet to converse – but in the hushed tones of a cocktail-lounge booth in a suburban mall, not to be overheard. A coffee house is a public place (like the “pub”), the heart of something, a place to speak to the world and find out what is going on.
Can ingenious new ideas coupled with old country wisdom stave off the long-predicted death of the Anatolian village? We sent two keen conservationists to Turkey’s lake district. The writer Nicholas Haslam found reasons for hope. The photographer Paul Veysseyre captured the poignant beauty of its tumbledown houses
In 1919 the Ukrainian artist Alexis Gritchenko fled Russia for Istanbul. Here he befriended Turkish artists and walked the streets, keeping a diary and making sketches, then applying ‘dynamos’ of colour. A new exhibition throws light on his stay in the city
A shared fascination with the Roman Empire impelled Britain’s greatest photographer, Sir Donald McCullin, to join the writer Barnaby Rogerson on a foray to the Troad to capture Rome’s Aegean legacy
Roger Norman looks back over the life of the late historian and writer Norman Stone – always unconventional, sometimes difficult, frequently mischievous – who, after less-than-happy times teaching at Oxford and Cambridge and a stint as an adviser to Margaret Thatcher, chose to make his home in Turkey
Centuries ago, travellers to Turkey were amazed by a new, uplifting taste sensation: the sherbet, flowery or fruity, and served with ice. Berrin Torolsan traces the history of sherbets and the sorbets made from them, and serves up an irresistible array of cooling summery treats
The botanist Andrew Byfield relives the happy days on Bozdağ, in the Taurus Mountains. Flowers thrive there in the harsh climate on bare limestone cliffs and in fractured gullies, and cedar of Lebanon and black pine brave all that nature can throw at them
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