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Hekimbaşı Salih Efendi was the last physician to the Ottoman court. He was also a scholar and reformer. But plants were his passion, and the grounds of his yalı were filled with the scent of carnations. The gardens have gone, but the house lives on.
By Patricia Daunt. Photographs by Simon Upton
Until recently most yalıs on the Bosphorus were closed for the winter. Once the October winds began to whip the leaves off the trees, owners returned to the city, leaving guardians to close the shutters, let loose the guard dogs and await the spring. The descendants of the Hekimbaşı Salih Efendi Yalı still follow this tradition. When I visited their yalı in January, the family had driven up from the Asian shore of the Sea of Marmara. They had expected me to arrive by car from the European side of the Bosphorus. In fact I surprised them by appearing from the sea, as most visitors would have done in the heyday of the house. With the exhilaration of a trespasser, I skirted the gnarled trees, crossed a paved courtyard and eventually found an open door. Sensing, rather than hearing, movement above me, I climbed the stairs curving to the drawing room floor.
In the early nineteenth century the redoubtable Englishman John Barker built a country retreat in the province of Hatay, close to the present-day Syrian border, planting his estate with exotic fruit trees, watching over the British Empire’s Indian Mail, and entertaining guests with music on the mechanical organ. David Morray looks back on the golden age of ‘Suedia Hall’
From the art capitals of the world, a round-up of Islamic and Orientalist art
The traditional tent of Central Asian nomads is a pleasure dome fit for the gods, says Tim Beddow
The Victorian painter Frederick Leighton went to extraordinary lengths to create his pink, black, blue and gold domed Arab Hall in London. By Caroline Juler with photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg
Süleyman the Magnificent’s city within a city above the Golden Horn has come to house one of the world’s finest collections of books and ancient manuscripts.
When the intrepid Lady Mary Wortley Montagu travelled with her husband’s embassy to Turkey in 1716, she recorded the minutiae of life on the road and in her ‘new world’. . Remarkably open-minded, her innocent observations inspired Ingres to paint some of the greatest erotic masterpieces of the Romantic movement.
‘There are not so many places left where magic reigns without interruption,’ wrote Freya Stark in The Lycian Shore, ‘and of all those I know, the coast of Lycia was the most magical.’ Barnaby Rogerson went with Rose Baring and four-month-old Molly in search of enchantment. Photographs by Faruk Akbas
The Prague Symphony Chamber Orchestra with Cihat Askin, violin. Directed by Emre Araci and produced by Ateş Orga
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