London, United Kingdom Travel 16 Feb 2022
Western fascination with the exoticism of this Ottoman world is whetted by the notion of calligraphy and kilims, eunuchs and seraglios, caravanserai and hammams, belly dancers and dervishes, concubines and harems, sultans and viziers, Turkish delights and smoking hookahs. It’s really the Bosphorus that’s the true founder of Istanbul where big oil tankers and small boats mesmerically share the shipping lanes: some chugging along, others seemingly serene. The Dolmabahçe, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are all delightful but my find is the mosque Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Cami’I where the silence amplifies the décor. I stay in luxury at the city’s two different Four Seasons hotels that border these main attractions.