Best Turkish history Books
"So the visitor is advised to stroll to the Galata Bridge for his first view of the city. But you should do your sight-seeing there as do the Stamboullus, seated at a teahouse or a café on the lower level of the Bridge … looking out along the Golden Horn to where it meets the Bosphoros and the Sea of Marmara."
• Galata Bridge
One of the most enjoyable accounts of the city ever written, full of teeming life and startling contrasts. Yes, times have changed since 1877, but this complex and vibrant portrait of the city remains recognisable.
"One of the most splendid bazaars is for shoes … The walls are stacked with slippers; in velvet, in leather, in brocade, in satin, in the most startling colours and the oddest shapes, embroidered with filigree, glittering with sequins, decorated with swansdown and silk tassels, starred with flowers in gold and silver"
• The Grand Bazaar
A short, beautiful novel from one of Turkey's best-loved writers and lovingly translated by his wife, it centres on the idea of gaining grace through kindness to all living things by the old practice of releasing birds captured specifically for the purpose.
"Taksim is the most populous part of the town. Wouldn't there be some, among the crowds that always throng the square, just a few with still a modicum of humanity who, for a trifling sum, will take pride and joy in setting little birds free. Such a sight it is when those birds soar joyously up into the sky …"
• Taksim Square
The Nobel Prize winner recalls the Istanbul of his youth. Atmospheric black-and-white photos contribute to his depiction of hüzün ― a particularly Turkish form of melancholy.
"The beauty I see in Süleymaniye Mosque is in its lines, in the elegant space beneath its dome … Even four hundred years after it was built, I can look at Süleymaniye and see a mosque still standing in its entirety, just as it did, and see it as it was meant to be seen."
• Süleymaniye Mosque
Considered by Orhan Pamuk to be the greatest novel ever written about Istanbul, this is a lyrical tribute to both the city and human love.
"Çadircilar Street was bewildering as always. On the ground before a shop whose grate usually remained shuttered, waiting for who knows what, were a Russian-made samovar spigot, a doorknob, the remnants of a lady's mother-of-pearl fan so much the fashion thirty years ago, a few random parts belonging perhaps to a largish clock or gramophone …"
• Çadircilar Street (between Beyzait Square and the Grand Bazaar)
Though written in the 18nth century, the lively, incredibly modern voice of Lady Mary keeps us entertained throughout.