ARCHITECTURE / ART / BOOKS / istanbulogy / June 30, 2015

A bibliophile’s haven #1: BU Library

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I was away. I have been neglecting the blog. It got me exhausted. No!

“When in april, the sweet showers fall/ that pierce March’s drought to the root and all/ and bathed every vein in liquor that has power/ to generate therein and sire the flower…” * I was taking refuge at the libraries all around the city– to finish my thesis on the Byzantine mosaics in Constantinople. I got it  finished; keep in tuned to my Mosaic Walk.

One of my favorite places  is Boğaziçi University library.  Did I take my days for granted when I was an undergrad here? I shall not know.  This time I did not. No doubt, it was time well-spent: I remember those spring showers hitting on the glass roof of  Aptullah Kuran library, the sweet smell of  ozone from xeroxed pages of  old books, the dark archives that remind one of cold war bunkers, homey feeling of cheap student eateries, the first freshly brewed coffee of my day, my right eye twitching from excessive reading, blooming judas trees, running into my former students-a kind of closure to my teaching career and a sense of gratitude for my former Boğaziçi  students who mentored me… 

Meanwhile I scraped a reading list for you:  Some of my favorite books in this haven…

1. Istanbul: The City of Dreams.  Pera Museum exhibition catalogue. A selection of art works from the collection of Pera Museum founders. Warning: daydreaming effects!



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2. The Art of Constantinople by John Beckwith. I am so tempted to steal this book. I cannot accept new editions as gifts, sorry. I want this 1965 edition!


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3. Balconies of Istanbul  by  Oya Şengör. Feast for the eyes.


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4. Turkish Art and Architecture by Oktay Aslanapa. For those who want to delve deep into Turkish art and architecture. Mind you not for beginners.


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5. Defile by Selçuk Demirel.  No  worries about the language just  amazing, fun art by a great illustrator.



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6. Mosque by David Macaulay. 101 for mosque complex architecture.


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7. The Glory of Byzantium by Antony Eastmond. A coffee-table book revealing Byzantine inheritance in all its glamour.


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8. El by Abidin Dino. No worries about the language! 


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9. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art Catalogue. The museum, recently opened to public after restoration, is a gem! It offers a select collection of Turkish and Islamic art.


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10. Three Istanbulites Exhibition Catalogue: The art work of 3 generations of Bulgarian Hristoff family who feels deeply  connected to Istanbul.


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11. I lived on art, I lived on love- Semiha Berksoy Exhibition Catalogue:  The art work of Semiha Berksoy, the first Turkish primadonna and painter.


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* the Prologue to Canterbury Tales, which every English literature major knows by heart and cannot help but recite every spring.

PS. The library has the largest Braille collection in the country and also is home to the sculptor İlhan Koman‘s Pi series on the ground floor. The third photo reveals  two pieces of the series.


Tags:  Abidin Dino Aptullah Kuran İlhan Koman Bebek Boğaziçi University Byzantine art Byzantium Constantinople design Etiler exhibition catalogue library lists mosaic mosques museum museum catalogue reading list sculptor

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