Last night I was invited to attend a book club which meets in the oldest continuously-inhabited house in Dorset. We gathered in the old hall, with three beautiful 13th century lancet windows overlooking the croquet lawn. It was our host’s great-grandmother, I think, who had that part of the moat filled in for croquet. How civilised! We drank Venetian wine and nibbled on baklava, and people talked about the Yashim books, politely.
Something that emerged from the talk was the glaring demand for a map to accompany the books, and maybe a cast-list for people who get lost among the unfamiliar names. Let me know what you think.
Here is a pretty clear map of Istanbul/Constantinople, showing some of the major landmarks.
As I wrote in Lords of the Horizons, ‘Constantinople resembled the head of a dog, pointing east on a triangular peninsula. Over its nose the channel of the Golden Horn meets the Bosphorus; its throat is caressed by the Sea of Marmara; and the land walls erected by Theodosius in the fifth century are slung across as a sort of huge loose collar from ear to chest…’
You can see the Phanariot Quarter – modern-day Fener – incorporating Balat, where Yashim lives. Pera, across the Golden Horn, was the ‘European’ quarter’, and Ambassador Palewski’s Residence stands a little inland from Tophane, among the foreign embassies.
The Galata Tower, one of the fire-fighter’s watch points in The Janissary Tree, is here labelled Christ Tower, and Topkapi palace, home of the sultans and their harems, is called the New Seraglio. The church of Hagia Sophia is just outside its walls. The Hippodrome, or Atmeidan, is the site of the Serpent Column in The Snake Stone.
Of the two bridges shown across the Golden Horn, only the more easterly Galata bridge existed in Yashim’s time: its construction features in An Evil Eye.