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Golden masonry is all that remains of the Palace of Kubadabad, the legendary retreat built for a Seljuk sultan by the cool, calm waters of Lake Beyşehir. John Ash, a New York poet, finds a land entranced
It was the Palace of Kubadabad that drew me to Lake Beyşehir. So little remains of the great medieval palaces that when I first learnt that substantial ruins of a Seljuk summer palace had survived on its western shore, I was fascinated. Furthermore, the Palace of Kubadabad had been built by Alaeddin Keykubad I, most magnificent of all the Seljuk sultans, who, according to tradition, had chosen the site and drawn up the plans himself. How could I not go?
… I have never seen so large a lake so absolutely still – a vast silvered mirror in which clouds in all their detail were perfectly reproduced. The entire landscape seemed entranced. On the island Robert found a fragment of bright turquoise tile, and from there we sailed straight to the palace. It soon became clear why Alaeddin Keykubad had chosen this remote location for his summer retreat. The ruins sprawled along a low hill by the shore. Behind them rose the seemingly Himalayan height of Anamas, and just to the south was a beautiful spring of the kind that Turks still love so well. Ice-cold water welled up into a circular pool, then spilled over, a small but ebullient cataract, directly into the lake.
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.
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.
More cookery features
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
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