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Istanbul: The Imperial City Paperback – 26 Feb 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (26 Feb. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140244611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140244618
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

John Freely first went to Istanbul in 1960 to teach physics at Robert College, now the University of the Bosphorus, to which he returned in 1993. His first book was STROLLING THROUGH ISTANBUL and he has subsequently written more than twenty other travel books including CLASSICAL TURKEY, STROLLING THROUGH ATHENS, and STROLLING THROUGH VENICE.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a delightful combination of history and guide, addressing the history of Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul from the earliest Greek settlements to the present day. Mr.Freely provides a short but very readable account of the reigns of every Emperor and Sultan (and regardless of origin or religion the vast majority were a ghastly but entertaining bunch!) and sets them in the context of the growth of the city and of its principle monuments. The book is worth purchasing for the guide section alone, which is at the end, and which provides excellent short descriptions of al the main architectural features and archaeological remains. This reader's only regret is that the book had not yet been published when he spent significant periods in Istanbul, for it is not only unique in concept and format, but also superior to any other book he has encountered as a guide to this wonderful city. It can be thoroughly recommended for anybody making a visit to Istanbul, however short. Readers whose interest is whetted by the chapters on pre-conquest Constantinople will find that John Julius Norwich's splendid three volume-history of Byzantium provides the extra, and fascinating, detail they crave.
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Format: Paperback
John Freely is a magnificant author and obviously in love with Istanbul. Actually he is a physic professor. You can follow his precise style in all of his books. The very fascinating film "Notting Hill" from Julia Roberst and Hugh Grant made this book popular all around the world. The travelbooks-shop owner Hugh Grant recommends this book to Julia Roberts just in the beginning of the film and emphasizes its high quality.
It goes without saying that Istanbul is a well written and well illustrated book. If you have been to Istanbul before, it will remarkably reinforce your memories. If you are a real fan of history and architecture and adore intellectually written books, dont skip this one. Really breathtaking! It will take you to a whimsical yet magnificent city and its history; particulary Byzantine era. The detailed information about Istanbul's monuments, Thedosian walls, churches, mosques, geography and historical events which were successfully chronicled will definetly help you to understand both its glory and history.
I must say that if you are interested in these type of books, it worths it, if not you may get a little bit bored. So consider your preferences and then order this one.
Also recommended; anything by John Freely, Atatürk by Andrew Mango and My name is Red by Orhan Pamuk.
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Format: Paperback
I found this invaluable reading before my first visit to Istanbul. I felt able to connect with the city the moment I arrived. John Freely has a very informative narrative style and the book flows through the very complicated history of the area over the last 2,500 years with great detail but with excellent continuity. His feel for this part of the world and his delight in exploring it's history is obvious in his writing. Am looking forward to reading other books by him.
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Format: Paperback
In theory I should love this book, as I love history, and Istanbul fascinates me, but .... I see this book for sale everywhere and it seems to be well regarded, but ... it is full of mistakes. I bought the book because I was interested in the Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman chapters, I started to read it from the beginning, correcting in pencil the odd mistake in the chapters I knew about (Greek and Roman). When I flipped through those chapters I was shocked how many pencil marks they were. So I stopped reading. If I found so many mistakes in chapters I knew about, how could I try the chapters whose history I was less familiar with ? So I stopped reading, and this is the first non-fiction book I have ever thrown out. I don't believe in book burning - people are free to have other opinions - but I do object to publishers allowing a book with so many basic factual mistakes to be in print.
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Format: Paperback
I guess, the best saying about Istanbul is from Petrus Gyllius, -a French humanist and diplomat- who had been to Istanbul during the age of Suleyman the Magnificent. Gyllius called the Bosphorus "the strait that surpasses all straits, because with one key it opens and closes two worlds, two seas".
This book starts with this comment and goes on emphasising the true beauty of the city.
John Freely is a magnificant author and obviously in love with Istanbul. Actually he is a physic professor. You can follow his precise style in all of his books. The very fascinating film "Notting Hill" from Julia Roberst and Hugh Grant made this book popular all around the world. The travelbooks-shop owner Hugh Grant recommends this book to Julia Roberts just in the beginning of the film and emphasizes its high quality.
It goes without saying that Istanbul is a well written and well illustrated book. If you have been to Istanbul before, it will remarkably reinforce your memories. If you are a real fan of history and architecture and adore intellectually written books, dont skip this one. Really breathtaking! It will take you to a whimsical yet magnificent city and its history; particulary Byzantine era. The detailed information about Istanbul's monuments, Theodosian walls (built by Theodosius II in the first half of fifth century, AD, which are still magnificent even in their ruins, the long line of towers and battlements one of the enduring symbols of Byzantium), churches, obelisks, mosques, geography and historical events which were successfully chronicled will definetly help you to understand both its glory and history. Whilst reading this book, you will see the talisman and smell judas trees, terebinths,cypress, plane trees and umbrella pines. The part of history is excellent.
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