Under the Ottomans, who ruled the eastern Mediterranean for 500 years, cosmopolitan life in Istanbul, or Constantinople as it was then, took a particularly vigorous and productive form, creating a web of connection and identity that is conspicuously absent in our own era. Installing himself in a former Benedictine monastery overlooking the Golden Horn, Nicholas Woodsworth looks into the social life of a city that was once the capital of a vast and ethnically-complex empire. He meets a diverse range of citizens, from fishermen of the Bosphorus to the remnants of the port-city’s Greek and Armenian communities. On the stage of a vital drama now being played out between modern secularism and traditional Islam, Nicholas Woodsworth finds in today’s Istanbul a city that offers solutions to the future of globalization. Despite the seriousness of the book’s theme, he keeps his narrative lively and down-to-earth by letting Mediterraneans do their own talking, something they excel at in any case.
Istanbul is the third and last destination of Woodsworth's Mediterranean Trilogy after Alexandria and Venice.
Nicholas Woodsworth was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1953 and grew up in Africa and south-east Asia. He was Africa Correspondent for the Financial Times in the late 1980s, and served as the Weekend FT’s staff travel writer from 1990 to 2003. He lives with his wife, Jany, in Aix-en-Provence.