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Splendid Renaissance baths still flourish at the entrance to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Built for the mother of Sultan Murad III, the all-powerful Nurbânu, and opened in 1584, today the Çemberlıtaş Hammam is the liveliest of Istanbul’s grand baths and the perfect place to start
Nurbânu ordered the hammam in 1584, after rising to the powerful rank of Queen Mother – both out of charity and to provide income for her mosque across the Bosphorus in Üsküdar. Known until recently as the Valide Hamamı, or Queen Mother’s baths, they were designed by Sinan, builder of mosques for sultans, at the height of his genius.
The hand of the great Renaissance architect is evident in the gently pointed arches, lace-like marble carving and classical elegance. The baths are a soothing, contemplative contrast to the bustling bazaar a few feet away.
On the tiny island of Bozcaada (Tenedos), a mere speck in the Aegean, great wines are emerging that rival the best the world can ofer. The Corvus vineyards, once among the Mediterranean’s most celebrated, have suffered centuries of neglect. Kevin Gould raises a glass to their renaissance with the founder of Corvus, Resit Soley. www.corvus.com.tr
See Cornucopia’s self-guided wine tour
Another masterpiece by the imperial architect Sinan, the Cınılı Hammam in the Old City of Istanbul was built for the legendary corsair-turned-admiral Barbaros Hayrettın Pasha, or Barbarossa, in the 1540s. Today it is far from grand, and only a few of the tiles that gave it the name Çınılı (Tiled) are still in evidence. But nothing can diminish the effect of the soaring curvy arches supporting a series of imposing domes.
When it was built in 1741 in the new Baroque style, Cağaloğlu was at the forefront of architectural fashion. But this temple of cleanliness in the Old City marks the dramatic swansong of the grand Ottoman hammam.
Bodrum’s peace was shattered in 1856 by the arrival of a warship bearing one of the most ambitious archaeological expeditions Britain has ever launched. Leading it was Charles Newton. His mission was to locate, excavate and carry home one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
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