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Between 1491 and 1500 were born four rulers who shaped the destiny of Europe: François I of France, Henry VIII of England, Charles V of Spain (later Holy Roman Emperor), and Süleyman the Magnificent, ruler of an Ottoman Empire that was to reach, during his reign, from Algeria to Azerbaijan, from Budapest to Aden. It was the great age of High Renaissance architecture, of Leonardo and Michelangelo, of Palladio and Raphael, when drawn imagination became built brick and stone, and the granduers of antique and pagan Rome were matched by the glories of a Rome revived for Catholic Christianity. No Defender of the Christian Faith, however, equalled Islamic Süleyman as patron, and no Italian masterminded even half as much construction as Sinan, his architect and engineer. yet Sinan (c.1491–1588) is hardly known to western art historians.
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.
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
Exquisite bulbs, once uprooted in their millions, may be saved by a scheme to satisfy both gardeners and conservationists. Botanist Andrew Byfield reports
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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