Topkapi palace

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The first time I read about the Topkapi Palace I was an eighteen year old doing some rather nervous work experience in a museum, and being asked to look for examples of Chinese porcelain ripped off by western factories and then Indian or Turkish knock offs of the Dutch sort.

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Clueless would be a polite way to describe it, although the curator I was working to firmly gave me a list of Sotheby’s catalogues and monographs – one of which mentioned this unpronounceable Palace that for some reason I decided must be Hungarian – and off I went. A lot of photocopying and post-it noting later I wasn’t much the wiser.

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A few years and some truly bad, trashy historical novels later I couldn’t have you told you anything more except that my mental picture was probably of dark stone, gloomy rooms (had I heard that it’s now empty and been unable to envisage a building without furniture?) and was somewhat sceptical that I was really going to enjoy it.

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So thank you Becca for recommending that it was still least a half day trip. These photos from an afternoon’s wander are pretty much the order in which we came across things, so if you feel eye-crossing set in at the glorious tiles, then I’ve done my job.

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As you can see, the building had a good deal of the Rococo about it, and also elements of chinoiserie – maybe in the sense of outdoor pavilions and also the whimsical names given to them all.

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I’m afraid I can’t any longer remember what room was what: the library, the closet of the sultan’s turbans, the moon light or breakfast divan, the grand council room, but who cares (my inner historian just did a Munch face there) when you can see this?!

All photos March 2018.

Little sister

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The so-called “little” Hagia Sophia / Aya Sofia (also once known as the church of saints Sergius and Bacchus) is tucked down a little side street and doesn’t seem to be hugely visited, but I thought it was actually much nicer than the big sister 🙂

All photos March 2018.

Interesting

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This dead end really brought me up sharp – it was like another Paris has been airdropped into the Rue Varenne: a bomb site maybe; the banlieus; the skyscrapers of La Defense… It could also be a piece of art by Rachel Whiteread, who specialises in installations about absence and space.

January 2018.

Catnip

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The Instagram feed @churchescathedralsofbritain could have been drawn up just for me. After a childhood of summer holidays involving a hefty amount of church crawling, I really believe these are some of great most beautiful overlooked buildings in the U.K. All photos from the feed.

Nesting again

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Rather like these projects by Neil Dusheiko architects; they look very livable, and have a good use of light and space. He uses some interesting materials too, like charred wood, which is naturally rain and fire resistant.

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