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The relentless bombing of Mostar (1992) is destroying the fruits of five centuries of peaceful coexistance in Bosnia. Marian Wenzel recalls how the old Ottoman city looked when she lived there in the Sixties
The name of the city of Mostar, in the Herzogovina region of former Yugoslavia, might seem to hint at its most famous landmark, the old stone bridge across the deep chasm of the river Neretva – most means ‘bridge’ and star ‘old in the local Slavic tongue.
In fact, though, the town name does not commemorate the famous present bridge – which was built by the architect Hayrettin, a student of Sinan, at the command of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and completed in 1566 – but comes from an earlier time, perhaps even before the arrival of the Ottomans, when there was a Bosnian kingdom and a wooden suspension bridge spanned the river at this point. Certainly there was such a bridge in the earlier days of the Ottoman town, and it was kept by guards known as *mostari’.
Mostar has once more become a flashpoint of danger and brigandage, as it was before the Ottoman Turks conquered Herzegovina and it was part of the medieval Bosnian state.
Now a Bosnian state exists once more, but its emergence has reduced Mostar almost to non-existence. For weeks last summer the town was bombed every day…
The French novelist Pierre Loti caused a stir in the 1900s when he championed the cause of Turkish women. But just who were the three veiled women who gave him his information? Ömer Koç reports on an infamous literary deception
Unlike the much older Venice Biennale, at the Istanbul Biennial there was a feeling of youthful experimentation.
A storm one cold winter’s day in Rome brought Jean-Etienne Liotard to Istanbul. In a café where he took refuge from the rain, he met an Englishman, William Ponsonby, the future Earl of Bessborough, who invited the painter to join his party on a tour of the East. Liotard accepted, and they set sail from Naples on April 3, 1738.
Exquisite bulbs, once uprooted in their millions, may be saved by a scheme to satisfy both gardeners and conservationists. Botanist Andrew Byfield reports
He was the most prolific architect of all time and his legacy endures in the great mosques created for Süleyman the Magnificent. Yet, as Brian Sewell discovers, this contemporary of Michelangelo is barely known to the West. Brian Sewell admires his legacy. Photographs by Ara Güler.
The Mocan Yalı, in the pretty village of Kuzguncuk, half a mile upstream from Üsküdar, is relatively old, decidedly large and incontrovertibly pink. Sultans stayed in it, and Liszt played in it. The yalı was purchased by the Toprak family shortly after this article was published. The interior of the house was gutted and only the facade remains. The images published in this article are a unique historical record of a centuries-old house and were taken by David George for Cornucopia in 1992
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