Cemal Kafadar introduced by Vedica Kant


Decisions made in Ottoman Istanbul, often known simply as ‘Polis’ (the City), affected millions across the width of the globe. From his palace on the Bosphorus, the 16th Grand Vizier, Mehmed Sokollu Pasha, simultaneously planned canals between the Don and the Volga and the Red Sea and the Mediterranean; one day he might send armaments to Sumatra to thwart the Portuguese, the next choose a new king of Poland to thwart the Russians. He ordered pictures and clocks from Venice, decorated the capital with one of the most beautiful mosques ever built and commissioned an 11 arched bridge over the River Drina. It was one of the most powerful, sophisticated and decadent capitals in the world. Cemal Kafadar, professor of Ottoman history at Harvard, takes us on a walk through the city in its golden age drawing on his classic study How Dark is the History of the Night, How Black the Story of Coffee, How Bitter the Tale of Love: The Changing Measure of Leisure and Pleasure in Early Modern Istanbul.