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The jewel in Kastamonu’s crown is a mosque in Kasaba, a tiny village with a flock or two of sheep, guarded by shepherdesses, in a sea of wheat fields. Built in 1366, the Mosque of Mahmut Bey is a brilliant relic of the golden age of the Anatolian beyliks, the warring principalities that flourished when the great Byzantine and Seljuk empires were in decline. Photographs by Solvi dos Santos
The sleepy village of Kasaba is at the end of a country lane that follows gently rolling hilltops dropping to a leafy valley ten miles from Kastamonu. You cross a bridge, then ford the river and pull up in front of a crumbling mansion. Opposite is the mosque, a sturdy barn of a building. The windows are small and few. There is no hint of the cabinet-maker’s dream within. But Kasaba gives its past away: it is a nickname, and means town – the old name was Ilısu. In the 17th century, 25,000 souls lived here: now there are at most 400.
Strawberries growing in the wild are gems of mouth-watering delight that bear little relation to the showy, insipid-tasting fruit on supermarket shelves. But there are still good garden strawberries to be found. Berrin Torolsan encourages us to seek out locally grown, seasonal fruit bursting with fragrance. Her simple recipes celebrate the best of berries
John Frederick Lewis (1804–76), was the supreme orientalist, fêted for his sumptuous Ottoman scenes. The secret of his success, says Briony Llewellyn, lies in the vivid sketches he made during his time in the East
Intrigued by the fate of the glorious houses built by Azerbaijan’s first oil barons at the turn of the 20th century, Brigid Keenan and photographer Tim Beddow track down all that remains of those glory days
The İzbeli family have owned a country konak south of Kastamonu since the 17th century. Today the house, with its magnificent barns, is one of the best-preserved Ottoman country houses in Turkey
At London’s inaugural Wines of Turkey jamboree, Kevin Gould hears how the country’s winemakers are cultivating a taste for their distinctive products
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