Tag Archives: Ottoman

Istanbul: The Imperial City

This book about Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul, by the American teacher John Freely, is a curious read. It purports to be a chronological history of the city, yet is in fact mostly a string of anecdotes about the doings of its sometime rulers … Continue reading

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The Turks in World History

This book by Carter Vaughn Findley of Ohio State University (whose Wikipedia page is in Turkish), traces¬† the movement of the Turkic and Turkish peoples through history from the earliest records of steppe nomads on the margins of ancient empires … Continue reading

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tiles and tombs

The Turks may have destroyed Byzantium, but to replace the mosaics they brought ceramics.¬† This is the Topkapi, palace of the Ottoman sultans. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves… Those were for the living, but they did it for … Continue reading

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Dresden: the Saxon one percent

Upstairs in the Royal Palace of the Kings of Saxony is a spectacular collection of Ottoman weaponry, from the days when the Turks had Hungary and threatened Vienna. Downstairs, the so-called Green Vault: two floors of unbelievable and unnecessary trinkature … Continue reading

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Byzantium by bus

And so, 30 years after I first conceived the ambition while turning right at Thessaloniki, I came not sailing but on a highway bus (aware, always, of the tyre-tracks of history) to Istanbul-Constantinople-Byzantium. The rain had cleared and we descended … Continue reading

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mosque heaven: Edirne

From Samothraki I took the ferry before dawn back to Alexandroupoli, arriving in brilliant, freezing sunshine. After 20 minutes, the bus to Orestiada turned inland into thick fog, passing through small towns among roads lined with white single-storey Thracian cottages … Continue reading

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into the valley

This morning I Ieft Budapest and got a train to a small town in the north-east of Hungary called Eger (that’s pronounced egg-air). Its main claim to fame is that it fought off a large Turkish army that was trying … Continue reading

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terror and comfort

Today I went to the Terror House in Budapest. This is a museum set up in the house which was the headquarters, first, of Hungary’s Nazis, who ruled brutally for a few months in 1944-45; and then of the Hungarian … Continue reading

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Budapest

My arrival in Budapest wasn’t too salubrious: a drunken woman and a man with a weatherbeaten face and a moustache like out of a chronicle of some Balkan war shouting and throwing a table at each other, and an old … Continue reading

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