Tchaikovsky Research

Istanbul is a provincial capital and the largest city in Turkey, located on the Bosphorus Strait which links the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea.

During Tchaikovsky's lifetime the city was known as Constantinople, and it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Tchaikovsky in Constantinople

Tchaikovsky visited Constantinople on two occasions:

From Until Notes
4/16 May 1886 5/17 May 1886 Following a visit to his brother Anatoly in Tiflis, Tchaikovsky embarked on a Mediterranean cruise from Constantinople, where he stayed at the "delightfully furnished" Hotel Luxembourg. The following day he toured the city, visiting the local coffee-houses, the ancient fortifications, the china market, and the Sultan's Palace; he found the Hagia Sophia mosque to be particularly impressive, but generally the unfamiliar surroundings were "not sympathetic" to him [1].
7/19 May 1888 8/20 May 1888 This time travelling in the reverse direction from London to see Anatoly in Tiflis. This time he reported that "of all the ancient monuments, Saint Sofia's made the most grandiose impression, but otherwise there is not much of interest in Constantinople" [2].

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Notes and References

  1. Diary entries for 4/16–5/17 May 1886 and Letter 2947 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 6/18 May 1886.
  2. Letter 3859 to Nadezhda von Meck, 19/31 May 1889.