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Tchaikovsky in Istanbul

Dear friends, we understand that Tchaikovsky once had a trip from Tbilis to France by vessel through Mediterranean sea, and necessariily calling at Bosphore (Istanbul), had a break for some hours or maybe one day there.

I think there are some notes about this trip in his diaries, and I would like to understand if he had also some notes for his stay in Istanbul for a short time.

If you have some information to kindly let me know, I will appreciate it.

Alp √úlgen


Tchaikovsky visited Istanbul (then known as Constantinople), on at least two occasions. His earlier visit was in 1886, when he arrived at the "delightfully furnished" Hotel Luxembourg on 4/16 May. His diary indicates that the following day he took a tour of the city, visiting the local coffee-houses, the ancient fortifications, the china market, and the Sultan's Palace, and he found the church of St Sofia to be particularly impressive. However, he did write to his brother Anatolii that the unfamiliar surroundings were "not sympathetic" to him. That same evening (5/17 May), he resumed his voyage from Tiflis to Marseilles.

His next visit was three years later (7/19 and 8/20 April 1889), this time travelling in the reverse direction from London to see his brother Anatolii in Tiflis. This time he reported that "Of all the ancient monuments, the most grandiose impression was given by [the church of] St Sofia, but otherwise there is not much of interest in Constantinople" (letter to Nadezhda von Meck, 19/31 May 1889).

Brett Langston

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