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Issue 51, Summer 2014

Istanbul Unwrapped: The European City and the Sultan’s New City

£50.00 / $63.88 / €59.18
($/€ approx)

In part two of our Istanbul quartet, a special 192-page issue, we celebrate the European city – the old diplomatic and banking districts – and the new Western imperial city built by the sultans in the 19th century on the shores of the Lower Bosphorus and up in the hills.

Articles by David Barchard, Norman Stone, Andrew Finkel and Jason Goodwin, Emre Aracı and Thomas Roueché, along with invaluable contributions from Tim Cornwell, Malika Browne, Victoria Khroundina and the historian Burak Çetintaş, reveal the story and magic of Beyoğlu, the old docklands of Galata, Dolmabahçe, the smart old quarters of Nişantaşı, the earthy world of Beşiktaş and the waterside world of Ortaköy.

Cornucopia 51 brings together a feast of photography by Jürgen Frank, Fritz von der Schulenburg, Brian McKee, Magnus Bischofberger, Berrin Torolsan and the great Beyoğlu 20th-century photographer Selahattın Giz, whose self-portrait (with friends) graces the cover.


  • Steppe Brothers

    The Sakip Sabanci Museum has just celebrated 600 years of diplomatic relations between Poland and Turkey. Jason Goodwin finds deep-rooted affinities between the two countries

  • ...and the prize goes to…

    John Carswell introduces the mesmerising entries in this year’s Ancient and Modern Prize for original research

  • Nights at the Opera

    With 19th-century Istanbul in thrall to the music of Italy, an extraordinary theatre was born, the creation of one rather ‘odd character’. Emre Aracı tells a tale of comedy and tragedy

  • Beyoğlu in the Jazz Age: Dancing Until Daybreak

    Black musicians, White Russian princesses, Turkish flappers… During the Jazz Age, Beyoğlu was a ferment of modernity and decadence. By Thomas Roueché

  • Setting the Scene: The Tower and the Glory

    For 700 years, the European quarter was home to Genoese, Jews, Greeks and many others. Norman Stone charts the district’s changing fortunes

  • Setting the Scene: Spirits of Beyoğlu

    Maureen Freely recalls the artists and writers who enlivened her childhood with their flamboyant bravado and unspoken sadness

  • The Sultan’s New City: A Fragrant Contradiction

    In the very thick of the city, with its fret and fuss, belching traffic and urban sprawl, lies a glade scented with linden blossoms. Here the young Sultan Abdülmecid built a jewel of a palace, grand but tiny, which is still a green oasis and place of escape. By Berrin Torolsan

  • Setting the Scene: Strangers in a Strange Land

    Until the 20th century, visitors would sail serenely into Istanbul to disembark opposite the Topkapi. After this spectacular start, reality would set in. By David Barchard

  • Modern Nomads

    With its hundreds of different shapes, pasta is today one of the most widely consumed and enjoyed of all the staples

  • Blooming Marvels

    For more than two centuries the Ottomans were obsessed by the elegance of the tulip and grew over 3,000 varieties, each characterised by almond-shaped petals drawn out into an exaggerated taper.

  • The European City

    Across the Golden Horn from the Topkapı and the bazaars is the European City, where fortunes have for centuries been made and lost.

  • The Sultan’s New City

    As the old European quarters flourished in their seclusion, Sultan Abdülmecid had a dream – and expanded to the east

  • Centre of excellencies

    Patricia Daunt extols the palatial embassiess that adorn the heights of old Pera. Photographs by Brian McKee

Inside the issue


Setting the Scene

  1. Back to the Future...
  2. Cry, the Beloved City by Tim Cornwell
  3. Strangers on the Shore by David Barchard [extract available online]
  4. The Tower and the Glory by Norman Stone [extract available online]
  5. Spirits of Beyoğlu by Maureen Freely [available online]

Guide to Beyoglu

  1. Beyoğlu Boogie introduced by Andrew Finkel
  2. Foreign Affairs by Tim Cornwell, Patricia Daunt and Malika Browne
  3. Centre of excellencies Patricia Daunt extols the palatial embassies that adorn the heights of old Pera [extract available online]
  4. Dancing Until Daybreak Tom Roueché on Jazz Age Beyoğlu [extract available online]
  5. Bosphorus Bohemians Cihangir and Çukurcuma
  6. All Human Life is Here Owen Matthews on Beyoğlu's melting pot

The Galata Docklands

  1. Until the Wrecking Ball Swings
    Karaköy, Perşembe Pazarı and Tophane
  2. A Final Flourish:
    Sinan's Kılıç Ali Pasha Mosque

    The Kiliç Ali Pasha complex, completed in 1580 and newly restored, was the collaboration of two grand old men past their peak. Kılıç Ali Pasha, hero of Lepanto, was an admiral in his eighties. The imperial architect Sinan was in his nineties, but the result is a bold and beautiful venture. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg
    [extract available online]


Dolmabahçe and Nişantası

  1. Many-Splendoured Dwelling
    Dolmabahçe Palace
  2. How the Sultan Moved Heaven and Earth The new imperial quarters
  3. A Shopper's Swish List Strolling through Nişantaşı
  4. A Fragrant Contradiction The Linden Pavilion, by Berrin Torolsan [available online]

Beşiktaş and Ortaköy

  1. The Founding Fathers Heath W Lowry on the men who made Beşiktaş
  2. Alive and Kicking From backstreet Beşiktaş to Abdülhamid’s retreat
  3. Be Dazzled The sparkling waterside mosque at Ortaköy
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