Postcards From Istanbul

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01Mary Beard2010050320110718

Professor Mary Beard casts a classicist's eye over Istanbul, one of the world's greatest and most unique cities, under the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine.

The city's unique position as the bridge between Europe and Asia made it Emperor Constantine's perfect choice as the new capital of his vast Roman Empire.

Renamed Constantinople or the 'New Rome', magnificent buildings, gardens and squares in the Roman model were built, including a vast Hippodrome for chariot races.

By examining the fates of these incredible classical riches, Mary Beard explores the rich cultural heritage, and many faces, of this extraordinary city.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

These essays paint very different and very personal views of Istanbul, past and present.

Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge.

She also a regular radio broadcaster and writes a blog for the Times Literary Supplement.

Mary Beard casts a classicist's eye over Istanbul under the Roman Emperor Constantine.

Celebrating Istanbul's year as European City of Culture, Professor Mary Beard casts a classicist's eye over the city under the reign of the great Roman Emperor Constantine.

By examining the fates of these incredible classical riches, Mary Beard explores the rich cultural heritage, and many faces, of this unique city.

It was chosen this year as the join European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

01Mary Beard2010050320110718

Professor Mary Beard casts a classicist's eye over Istanbul, one of the world's greatest and most unique cities, under the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine.

The city's unique position as the bridge between Europe and Asia made it Emperor Constantine's perfect choice as the new capital of his vast Roman Empire.

Renamed Constantinople or the 'New Rome', magnificent buildings, gardens and squares in the Roman model were built, including a vast Hippodrome for chariot races.

By examining the fates of these incredible classical riches, Mary Beard explores the rich cultural heritage, and many faces, of this extraordinary city.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

These essays paint very different and very personal views of Istanbul, past and present.

Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge.

She also a regular radio broadcaster and writes a blog for the Times Literary Supplement.

Mary Beard casts a classicist's eye over Istanbul under the Roman Emperor Constantine.

Celebrating Istanbul's year as European City of Culture, Professor Mary Beard casts a classicist's eye over the city under the reign of the great Roman Emperor Constantine.

By examining the fates of these incredible classical riches, Mary Beard explores the rich cultural heritage, and many faces, of this unique city.

It was chosen this year as the join European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

02Elif Shafak2010050420110721

Acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak casts a writer's eye over the unique and very diverse city of Istanbul, a place she still calls home.

"Istanbul is like a huge, colorful Matrushka - you open it and find another doll inside.

You open that, only to see a new doll nesting.

It is a hall of mirrors where nothing is quite what it seems.

One should be cautious when using categories to talk about Istanbul.

If there is one thing the city doesn't like, it is clichés."

Carefully avoiding all cliches, Elif Shafak looks at Istanbul's many identities, and its many inhabitants, from the ghosts of the past, to the real Istanbulites, the recent arrivals, to the visitors.

Along the way she explains why Istanbul, to her, is a 'She City', a city of women, of widows, mothers and young girls, whose beat and heart is decidedly feminine.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

These essays paint very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Elif Shafak is the best-selling female author in Turkey.

Her controversial novel 'The Bastard of Istanbul' was nominated for the Orange Prize for fiction.

Turkish author Elif Shafak casts a writer's eye over Istanbul and its many identities.

Celebrating Istanbul's year as European Capital of Culture, acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak casts a writer's eye over the unique city.

Istanbul is like a huge, colourful Matrushka - you open it and find another doll inside.

If there is one thing the city doesn't like, it is clichés."

Carefully avoiding all cliches concerning the city that she still calls home, Elif Shafak looks at Istanbul's many identities, and its many inhabitants, from the ghosts of the past, to the real Istanbulites, the recent arrivals, to the visitors.

Along the way she explains why Istanbul, to her, is a 'She City', a city of women, of widows, mothers and young girls, whose beat is decidedly feminine.

It was chosen this year as the join European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

02Elif Shafak2010050420110721

Acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak casts a writer's eye over the unique and very diverse city of Istanbul, a place she still calls home.

"Istanbul is like a huge, colorful Matrushka - you open it and find another doll inside.

You open that, only to see a new doll nesting.

It is a hall of mirrors where nothing is quite what it seems.

One should be cautious when using categories to talk about Istanbul.

If there is one thing the city doesn't like, it is clichés."

Carefully avoiding all cliches, Elif Shafak looks at Istanbul's many identities, and its many inhabitants, from the ghosts of the past, to the real Istanbulites, the recent arrivals, to the visitors.

Along the way she explains why Istanbul, to her, is a 'She City', a city of women, of widows, mothers and young girls, whose beat and heart is decidedly feminine.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

These essays paint very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Elif Shafak is the best-selling female author in Turkey.

Her controversial novel 'The Bastard of Istanbul' was nominated for the Orange Prize for fiction.

Turkish author Elif Shafak casts a writer's eye over Istanbul and its many identities.

Celebrating Istanbul's year as European Capital of Culture, acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak casts a writer's eye over the unique city.

Istanbul is like a huge, colourful Matrushka - you open it and find another doll inside.

If there is one thing the city doesn't like, it is clichés."

Carefully avoiding all cliches concerning the city that she still calls home, Elif Shafak looks at Istanbul's many identities, and its many inhabitants, from the ghosts of the past, to the real Istanbulites, the recent arrivals, to the visitors.

Along the way she explains why Istanbul, to her, is a 'She City', a city of women, of widows, mothers and young girls, whose beat is decidedly feminine.

It was chosen this year as the join European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

03Jason Goodwin20100505

Writer and historian Jason Goodwin looks back at 19th-century Istanbul, a city undergoing great upheaval after the Ottoman Conquest, and how it became the inspiration for his own novels.

Focusing on the city's imperial instinct for order, expressed over the centuries in the functioning of its palace kitchens, architecture and great mosques, and the zoning of different faiths in the Ottoman tradition, Jason Goodwin reflects on how Istanbul survived huge upheaval and change to become a stronger, more distinct city.

He compares the city then, with the one he knows today, a city that is again quietly reassuming its identity.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

It was chosen this year as the joint European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Jason Goodwin fell under the spell of Istanbul while studying Byzantine history at Cambridge University.

Fifteen years ago, he made a six-month pilgrimage across eastern Europe to reach the city for the first time, a journey recounted in On Foot to the Golden Horn, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize 1993.

He has become best known as author of the mysteries The Janissary Tree and The Snake Stone, two novels which feature Turkish eunuch detective, Yashim, who lives and works in 19th century Istanbul.

The Janissary Tree won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2007.

Writer Jason Goodwin on 19th-century Istanbul as the inspiration for his own fiction.

03Jason Goodwin20100505

Writer and historian Jason Goodwin looks back at 19th-century Istanbul, a city undergoing great upheaval after the Ottoman Conquest, and how it became the inspiration for his own novels.

Focusing on the city's imperial instinct for order, expressed over the centuries in the functioning of its palace kitchens, architecture and great mosques, and the zoning of different faiths in the Ottoman tradition, Jason Goodwin reflects on how Istanbul survived huge upheaval and change to become a stronger, more distinct city.

He compares the city then, with the one he knows today, a city that is again quietly reassuming its identity.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

It was chosen this year as the joint European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Jason Goodwin fell under the spell of Istanbul while studying Byzantine history at Cambridge University.

Fifteen years ago, he made a six-month pilgrimage across eastern Europe to reach the city for the first time, a journey recounted in On Foot to the Golden Horn, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize 1993.

He has become best known as author of the mysteries The Janissary Tree and The Snake Stone, two novels which feature Turkish eunuch detective, Yashim, who lives and works in 19th century Istanbul.

The Janissary Tree won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2007.

Writer Jason Goodwin on 19th-century Istanbul as the inspiration for his own fiction.

04Moris Farhi20100506

The Merman of Istanbul: Celebrating Istanbul's year as European Capital of Culture, distinguished Turkish author Moris Farhi recaptures the spirit of Istanbul through one of its unique characters, a modern-day merman who swims round the islands and grottos of the city in search of a meaning for his unusual gift.

Exiled from Turkey for more than fifty years Moris Farhi recaptures some of his love for the city of his youth through this contemporary merman, who takes him back to the myths and fishermen's tales of the mythical Istanbul mermen who brought life to the waters round the city.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

It was chosen this year as the joint European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Moris Farhi was born in Turkey in 1935.

After studying in Istanbul, he came to Britain in 1954, where he has lived ever since, though he still visits Istanbul regularly.

He has written several novels, including 'Children of the Rainbow', 'Journey through the Wilderness' and 'Young Turk'.

He has been Vice-President of International PEN since 2001.

Turkish author Moris Farhi on the mythical past of Istanbul through childhood memories.

04Moris Farhi20100506

The Merman of Istanbul: Celebrating Istanbul's year as European Capital of Culture, distinguished Turkish author Moris Farhi recaptures the spirit of Istanbul through one of its unique characters, a modern-day merman who swims round the islands and grottos of the city in search of a meaning for his unusual gift.

Exiled from Turkey for more than fifty years Moris Farhi recaptures some of his love for the city of his youth through this contemporary merman, who takes him back to the myths and fishermen's tales of the mythical Istanbul mermen who brought life to the waters round the city.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

It was chosen this year as the joint European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Moris Farhi was born in Turkey in 1935.

After studying in Istanbul, he came to Britain in 1954, where he has lived ever since, though he still visits Istanbul regularly.

He has written several novels, including 'Children of the Rainbow', 'Journey through the Wilderness' and 'Young Turk'.

He has been Vice-President of International PEN since 2001.

Turkish author Moris Farhi on the mythical past of Istanbul through childhood memories.

05Huzun

05 LASTHuzun2010050720110722

Hüzün: writer Maureen Freely delivers her own despatch from the city of her youth, in which she explores 'hüzün', the feeling of collective melancholy that used to linger over the city that she knew as a child.

Famously described by Orhan Pamuk, whose work Freely translates, 'hüzün' is the feeling of decay, sadness and nostaligia that seemed to envelop the Istanbul of the sixties and seventies, a time when things were changing fast, but when 'Old Istanbul' was still visible in the boats, buildings and even the people of the city.

Now, some fifty years on, Istanbul is certainly a very different, more modern city, but one in which the feeling of 'hüzün' can still be sensed in its isolated, hidden-away corners.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

These essays paint three very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Maureen Freely is a journalist, novelist, translator and lecturer.

She grew up in Istanbul, and much of her family is still based there.

She is also the English translator of Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk's recent

works.

Writer Maureen Freely on the great feeling of melancholy that enveloped 1960s Istanbul.

Hüzün: Celebrating Istanbul's year as European Capital of Culture, writer Maureen Freely delivers her own despatch from the city of her youth, in which she explores 'hüzün', the feeling of collective melancholy that used to linger over the city that she knew as a child.

Famously described by Orhan Pamuk, whose work Freely translates, 'hüzün' is the feeling of decay, sadness and nostalgia that seemed to envelop the Istanbul of the sixties and seventies, a time when things were changing fast, but when 'Old Istanbul' was still visible in the boats, buildings and even the people of the city.

Now, some fifty years on, Istanbul is certainly a very different, more modern city, but one in which the feeling of 'hüzün' can still be sensed in its isolated corners.

It was chosen this year as the joint European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

05 LASTHuzun2010050720110722

Hüzün: writer Maureen Freely delivers her own despatch from the city of her youth, in which she explores 'hüzün', the feeling of collective melancholy that used to linger over the city that she knew as a child.

Famously described by Orhan Pamuk, whose work Freely translates, 'hüzün' is the feeling of decay, sadness and nostaligia that seemed to envelop the Istanbul of the sixties and seventies, a time when things were changing fast, but when 'Old Istanbul' was still visible in the boats, buildings and even the people of the city.

Now, some fifty years on, Istanbul is certainly a very different, more modern city, but one in which the feeling of 'hüzün' can still be sensed in its isolated, hidden-away corners.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia.

These essays paint three very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Maureen Freely is a journalist, novelist, translator and lecturer.

She grew up in Istanbul, and much of her family is still based there.

She is also the English translator of Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk's recent

works.

Writer Maureen Freely on the great feeling of melancholy that enveloped 1960s Istanbul.

Hüzün: Celebrating Istanbul's year as European Capital of Culture, writer Maureen Freely delivers her own despatch from the city of her youth, in which she explores 'hüzün', the feeling of collective melancholy that used to linger over the city that she knew as a child.

Famously described by Orhan Pamuk, whose work Freely translates, 'hüzün' is the feeling of decay, sadness and nostalgia that seemed to envelop the Istanbul of the sixties and seventies, a time when things were changing fast, but when 'Old Istanbul' was still visible in the boats, buildings and even the people of the city.

Now, some fifty years on, Istanbul is certainly a very different, more modern city, but one in which the feeling of 'hüzün' can still be sensed in its isolated corners.

It was chosen this year as the joint European Capital of Culture.

These essays paint five very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.