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It was the journey of a lifetime. Shortly before the Danube bridges were bombed and its waters polluted, John Herbert sailed Europe’s inland waterways to Istanbul
When my friends heard of my plans for a Grand Tour of Europe via the Danube to Istanbul, they wondered what madness had taken hold of me in my old age.
My timing was just right.
Such a journey would hardly be possible today (1999), after the damage caused by the conflict in Yugoslavia. And it was only made possible after 1992 with the opening of the Rhine-Main-Danube canal. This linked the Danube with the River Main (a tributary of the Rhine) and the commercial waterways of Europe, providing a commercial and pleasure waterway all the way from the North Sea to the Black Sea. It would take me past some of the most historic towns in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania, none of which I had visited. Finally, I would cross the Black Sea to Istanbul, which I had always longed to see.
It would be a long trip – more than 3,000 miles – but what an adventure! I sold my beautiful Swan 43 yacht and bought a neqw Aqua Star 43 powerboat, Freelance IV, which seemed perfect for such an odyssey.
In the 1950s, a palely beautiful summerhouse on the Bosphorus made tbe perfect playground for the cream of café society. Now its luminous, airy rooms, emptied of fuss and colour, reveal their natural beauty. Patricia Daunt uncovers the colourful past of Ratip Efendi’s yali.
A Turkish-inspired garden on the Cambridge Fens. Two Turkish passions meet in John Drake’s beautiful garden: a love of symmetry and an abundance of wild flowers. Here the garden historian acknowledges his debt to the Turkish ideal of paradise on earth.
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When Ottoman sultans wanted to outshine European monarchs by the end of the sixteenth century they were choosing elaborate entertainments as their ammunition rather than solemn victory processions. In the second article in her series on East-West rivalry, Christine Thomson focuses on the Istanbul festivities of 1582, a spectacular street party lasting almost two months.
Some take the hard dusty route to the Mediterranean’s ancient sites. Christian Tyler approached them the hedonist’s way: cruising on a gulet along some of the most breathtaking coastline in the world.
Two isolated villages share an Ancient way of communicating across mountainous ravines. Andriëtte Stathi-Schoorel captures the last echoes in Greece and Turkey In Kuşköy (Bird Village), in the Eastern Black Sea Mountains, the ancient art of whistling is still taught to schoolchildren. It is in these very mountains, south of Trabzon, that Xenophon came upon a similar use of whistling nearly 2500 years ago. Only five communities in the world are known to share the ability to whistle their speech.
One hundred and ninety years after the young Charlton Whittall first opened for business in Izmir, the members of this great dynasty are dispersed throughout the world. In June 359 descendants gathered at a reunion in London to celebrate the one thing that still inspires them all: their memories of life in Turkey.
An Egyptian rubbish heap reveals its buried treasure, mysterious birds deceive the eye, and Chinese clouds have silver linings. Philippa Scott continues her guide to the world of rug collecting
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