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.
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).