January 23, 2012

Gael Towey's Guest Blog From Turkey

Last summer, Gael Towey, the Chief Creative and Editorial Director of Living, traveled to Turkey for the first time with her husband, Stephen Doyle, her daughter, Maud Doyle, and her son, August Doyle. Thank you Gael, for sharing these fabulous photos!

Last July, my family and I took an amazing vacation in fascinating Turkey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited regions in the world.  We started off in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and we stayed at House Hotel Bosphorus in the Ortakoy district.  This landmark building offers beautiful views, a great design, and delicious breakfasts.   If you like boutique hotels, this is a very hip area with lots of nightclubs and trendy restaurants nearby.  The Bosphorus, which separates European and Asian Turkey, is a romantic and beautiful river.  We were very fortunate to have the company of Gencay Ucok, who was introduced to us through our friend, Richard Story, the Editor-in-Chief of Departures. Gencay, who is the chef at Meze, in Istanbul, was our guide through this magnificent country.   The first monument that Gencay took us to was Haga Sophia, one of the great architectural treasures of the world.  In 537, Emperor Justinian, inaugurated Haga Sophia as an orthodox basilica.   During the 15th Century, when the Ottomans conquered Istanbul, which was then known as Constantinople, it was converted into a mosque and most of the religious frescos and mosaics were covered over.  Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, converted the building into a museum and now you can see the Christian mosaics side-by-side with huge calligraphic roundels in praise of Allah.   I hope you’ll enjoy my guest blog.