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In the sweetly scented forests of Turkey’s Aegean coast, bee-keepers and their families harvest the royal jelly once sought after by sultans. Rosemary Baldwin, herself a royal jelly enthusiast, revists the fruitful hives of Samsun Dağı
It was while sailing through the straits of Samos for the first time in 1958 or thereabouts that I fell passionately in love with the incredibly beautiful peninsula dominated by Samsun Dağ, ancient Mount Mycale. Little did I know that five years later I would be spending a lot of time camping in the forests on its northern slopes, and that it would become part of the wonderful view from my garden in Kuşadası overlooking the Mandalyan gulf, the island of Samos and the ancient sites of Colophon and Lebedos…
When I returned to live in the area, the governor of Kuşadası permitted us to camp in the forest, and the wives of woodcutters would visit us. My husband would go off with their husbands in search of food while the women spent hours trying on necklaces and earrings I had brought for them, gazing at themselves in a hand mirror. But the visits I enjoyed most of all were from the bee-keepers.
I had kept bees on our property in the Maremma on the Tuscan coast of Italy, and we had been the first people in Italy, along with some friars in the Val d’Aosta in the Alps above Turin, to produce royal jelly commercially. The Turkish bee-keepers knew all about the wonderful powers of royal jelly…
With his victory against the Persians at the Battle of Issus, fought in 333BC on a plain in southern Turkey, Alexander the Great changed the course of history and started his transformation into demi-god. But his troops endured a hellish march to get there. Critic and art historian Brian Sewelll tried to retrace the Macedonian conqueror’s arduous route to the battlefield. Photographs by David George
Freya Stark made her name with her vivid writing about Persia and the Arab world in the Thirties. After the Second World War, already fifty-nine, she started tracing Alexander the Great’s route through southern Turkey. Molly Izzard, her biographer, recounts the discomforts and discoveries of her five punishing journeys
Linda Kelly tells the story of André Chénier, father of French Romantic poetry, who was born in Galata, the Genoese quarter of Istanbul. Executed during the Paris Terror, Chénier produced some of the most moving documents of the Revolution
A favourite decorative prop of Orientalists in the 19th century, the Oriental carpet was often painted with extraordinary realism. By Penny Oakley
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