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Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King 📚 a book review ❤️

July 31, 2017

I am writing to you from sunny Antalya! We just spent a wonderful 3 days in Istanbul, and are now at our final stop for the summer for sone much needed sun, sea and sand.

Whilst in Istanbul I came across this fantastic book I just had to read. I havent quite finished it yet but have read enough to tell you all about it.

The Book –

At midnight, December 31, 1925, citizens of the newly proclaimed Turkish Republic celebrated the New Year. For the first time ever, they had agreed to use a nationally unified calendar and clock.

Yet in Istanbul–an ancient crossroads and Turkey’s largest city–people were looking toward an uncertain future. Never purely Turkish, Istanbul was home to generations of Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, as well as Muslims. It welcomed White Russian nobles ousted by the Russian Revolution, Bolshevik assassins on the trail of the exiled Leon Trotsky, German professors, British diplomats, and American entrepreneurs–a multicultural panoply of performers and poets, do-gooders and ne’er-do-wells. 

During the Second World War, thousands of Jews fleeing occupied Europe found passage through Istanbul, some with the help of the future Pope John XXIII. At the Pera Palace, Istanbul’s most luxurious hotel, so many spies mingled in the lobby that the manager posted a sign asking them to relinquish their seats to paying guests.

In beguiling prose and rich character portraits, Charles King brings to life a remarkable era when a storied city stumbled into the modern world and reshaped the meaning of cosmopolitanism.

Verdict –

Pera Palace is one of my favourite hotels ever! Not only is it a beautifully amazing building set in the old part of Istanbul. It also has such a rich history I am not one bit suprised it has a book based around it.

Charles King has obviously researched the history of this amazing city very well. It is like looking back at Turkey’s history from the demise of the Ottoman empire through to the cosmopolitism it has reached today. After World War I Turkey went through immense changes, and became the Turkey it is today under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. 

A good book to read to understand the changes Turkey has gone through to get to where it is today. 

Next time you are in Istanbul be sure to visit the Pera Palace, it’s like walking back in time. 


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