6 Books Based on Turkey You Need to Read

Istanbul | © Andrey/Flickr
Istanbul | © Andrey/Flickr
Photo of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
22 December 2017

From its rich history to its amazing cuisine, there’s plenty of reading to do in order to get to know Turkey from all of its angles. Check out some of the best books about Turkey and all the facets of its culture and history.

Turkey: A Short History

Written by the first-class historian Norman Stone, this book is a great introduction to Turkey’s history from a very insightful perspective. Going way back to the early Turks of Central Asia, Stone approaches Turkish history from a very different angle, always focusing on the past’s role in the current republic.

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Turkey: A Short History | Courtesy of Thames & Hudson

Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire

If you’re interested in the history of Istanbul, then this book by Philip Mansel is quite the fascinating read, as it’s a definitive history of the city once called Constantinople. Written by one of the most respected historians, the book delves deep into the details of empires past.

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Constantinople City of the World’s Desire | Courtesy of John Murray

Classical Turkish Cooking

If you’re a fan of Turkish cooking, then this lovely cookbook, written by Ayla Algar, should allow you to bring the basics of Turkish cuisine into your own kitchen. The cookbook features easy-to-follow recipes on everything from meze, soups, meat, and fish dishes, along with the history regarding Turkey’s amazing food culture.

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Classical Turkish Cooking | Courtesy of William Morrow Cookbooks

A Short History of Byzantium

What became Constantinople and then Istanbul was once known as Byzantium, and this excellent book travels back to the roots of an ancient empire that stood strong for more than 1,000 years. From the details of Byzantine art and all the emperors and their individual triumphs, this book is a condensed version of a study that spans three volumes.

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A Short History of Byzantium | Courtesy of Penguin

Turkish Letters

If you really want to travel back in time to the Ottoman Empire during its heyday, or during the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent, then there’s nothing better than reading the letters written by a Flemish nobleman who was in Istanbul between 1554 and 1562. These amazing accounts of the nobleman’s ambassadorial mission paint a very detailed picture of what the empire was really like in its glorious golden age.

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Turkish Letters | Courtesy of Eland

Strolling Through Istanbul

One of the best guides to Istanbul ever published, this book, written by Hilary Sumner-Boyd and John Freely, takes readers on a stroll through Istanbul and all of its most exceptional sights. Every historic monument and site is given its due, as well as tidbits of its secret history, anecdotes, and hidden corners.

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