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Istanbul: City of Forgetting and Remembering
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Starting with a wild taxi ride into town from Ataturk airport, Tillinghast takes his readers on a voyage of discovery through the storied city of Istanbul, known in Byzantine times as the 'Queen of Cities' and to the Ottoman Turks as the 'Abode of Felicity'. As comfortable talking about the distinctive and delicious Turkish cuisine as he is about Byzantine mosaics, dervish ceremonies, Iznik ceramics, Anatolian carpets, and the imperial mosques, Tillinghast illuminates Istanbul's great buildings with stories that bring Ottoman and Byzantine history to life and is adept at discovering both what the city remembers and what it chooses to forget. Easily overlooked mosaics in the church of Hagia Sophia yield stories of a Byzantine emperor who died playing polo while drunk and an empress with several husbands. From an obscure gravestone, the author brings to life the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, when the Doge of Venice, though over ninety and practically blind, led the assault on the city.

Richard Tillinghast  first visited Istanbul in the early 1960s and he is the author of some fifteen travel books. His poems have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic and the New Yorker and his Finding Ireland: A Poet's Explorations of Irish Literature and Culture was awarded ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award for Travel Essays in 2008. He divides his time between the Big Island of Hawaii and the Tennessee mountains.

 

Review:

'Richard Tillinghast's Istanbul is a well-wrought and admirably clear guide to the history and present-day reality of the Turkish city' - Condé Nast Traveller

 

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