Today some 20 years ago I had flown form Amman, Jordan where I worked at the Canadian Embassy to attend the wedding of friends in Istanbul. What a wonderful time we had visiting the old Imperial Ottoman Capital on the Bosphorus. We all stayed at a wonderful small private hotel near the Aga Sophia and the Topkapi Palace.

The wedding was at an old imperial palace on the Bosphorus, Ciragan Palace is today a Kempinski hotel. It was really a dream location for a wedding, the weather was perfect, it was a very elegant affair. The bride was a Turkish diplomat in Amman and her Ambassador had flown to Istanbul to attend the wedding, the groom was a British diplomat. At the end of the evening a boat came to the sea gate of the palace and took the newlyweds up the Bosphorus, it was quite magical. I remember they stayed at the Pera Palace Hotel which was once the hotel of the Orient Express. What a wonderful time we had.




It was a weekend of parties and visits to museums like the Aga Sophia (Holy Wisdom) and to the Topkapi Palace which is built around 3 courtyard following an Asiatic palace plan. I in fact conducted a tour of the place with our little group. We had a dinner of seafood and fish in an old neighbourhood by the Sea of Marmara, in Kumkapi. I remember a belly dancer came by the restaurant with her mother who held her beautiful fur coat while she danced for us. Each male guest was to pay her an amount in Turkish Lira which in those days was always millions of Lira.


Topkapi Palace with the Divan of the Sultan, he would sit on this Divan or Diwan and the Court Officials would sit on the floor.


The Bagdat Pavillon on the grounds of the Palace, it contained a collection of rare books.