Constantinople: City Of The World'S Desire, 14531924
Publish Date: 2006-10-19
Author: Philip Mansel
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Wedding elegant prose with impeccable historical research, this highly acclaimed history absorbingly charts the interaction between the vibrantly cosmopolitan capital of Constantinople?the city of the world's desire?and its ruling family. In 1453, Mehmed the Conqueror entered Constantinople on a white horse, beginning an Ottoman love affair with the city that lasted until 1924, when the last Caliph hurriedly left on the Orient Express. For almost five centuries Constantinople, with its enormous racial and cultural diversity, was the center of the dramatic and often depraved story of an extraordinary dynasty. This is the definitive history of one of the worlds most exotic and exciting cities.
Philip Mandsel's book is a five-hundred-year history of Constantinople (now Istanbul) which attempts to convey the rich history of this one-time capital city and describe the defining characteristics which point toward its potential to return to global grandeur. The book is sizable in scope and weight: there's a wealth of details and illustrations. Mandsel addresses the development of Constantinople into an Islamic city, covering the five-century dynasty of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Turks conquered the Byzantine Empire in 1453, converting the city from the capital of Eastern Orthodox Christianity to the home of sultans, eunuchs, and janizaries. They created a city of mosques and minarets that served as the Ottoman capital until the end of World War I. Mandsel's attention falls particularly on the palaces and the political history of the capital, as well as the great architectural works which still constitute the city's skyline. This is a highly readable history of the great city on the Bosporus, marked by keen perceptions of art and palace life.