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Are you going to be traveling to Turkey soon? Before you start packing your bags, it might be a good idea for you to learn a little more about the area. The best way to gather information about any destination is to read about it.

Reading books can help you get a small taste of Turkey and familiarize you with the culture and history before you go. Are you not sure where to begin with creating your reading list?

Check out this quick-reading guide to find out which books can give you the best representation of Turkey.

1. John Freely’s Istanbul

John Freely has been exploring Istanbul for over 40 years, so if anyone knows about the city, it’s him. He’s written over 30 books about the history and culture of Istanbul.

The book contains everything you need to know about the streets and mosques of the city. You can use it as a quick reference guide while you walk the same streets or use it to familiarize yourself with Istanbul before you visit.

2. Istanbul: City of Majesty at the Crossroads of the World- Thomas F. Madden

Thomas F. Madden will take you through the complete history of Istanbul from the beginning. The book is broken up into four parts, Byzantion (667 BCE-330), Byzantion Constantinople (330-1453), Ottoman Constantinople (1453-1923), and modern-day Istanbul (1923-2016).

Madden doesn’t only show you the history of the country with words. There are illustrated maps inside that display the various states of the land throughout the years.

3. Portrait of a Turkish Family- Ifan Orga

The Portrait of a Turkish Family is about loss. You will follow the trials of the Ottoman Empire through the eyes of the Orga family. The Orga’s lost everything they had due to the first World War.

They weren’t the only ones who suffered a loss, however. Many were hurt when the empire fell, but from loss comes the development of a great nation.

4. Turkish Delights- Philippa Scott

No, this book isn’t about the delicious Turkish sweet. It’s about art, which is just as delightful. When Constantinople fell, the West became greatly influenced by Turkish art.

In the book, you’ll see to what extent while learning more about Turkish paintings, textiles, ceramics, fashion, garden design, architecture, and fashion. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.

5. My Name Is Red: Orhan Pamuk

My Name is Red got Orhan Pamuk, a Nobel prize in literature and for a good reason. The book follows the murder of an Ottoman book illustrator.

As you read the mystery unfold, you’ll also see many detailed tidbits about the history of the Ottoman Era.

6. Ataturk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey- Andrew Mango

As the name suggests, this book is the biography of the founder of modern-day Turkey. It will take you through the fall of the Ottoman Empire up to the rise of the Republic. You’ll learn about Ataurk’s politics and military career.

You won’t only be reading about this great leader’s accomplishments. The book also beautifully displays who he was as a person. You’ll learn about his family, his dreams, feelings, desires, and goals.

7. Splendors of Istanbul: Houses and Places Along the Bosphorus- Chris Hellier

If you’re going to be taking a cruise across the Bosphorus, then it may be helpful to learn about the sights you’ll see along the way. Splendors of Istanbul: Houses and Places Along the Bosphorus can tell you all about it in great detail.

You’ll learn all about the mansions and waterside villas before taking your cruise. This book is a masterpiece not only for those who are visiting Istanbul but for those who have a passion for architecture in general.

8. Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire- Philip Mansel

Before it fell, Constantinople was a bustling city full of trade, intellect, and religion. This book focuses on the history of Constantinople as well as the culture and people. You’ll be reading much about the wealthy families who lived inside the city.

Each of these families contributed to the empire to expand and grow into something more significant.

9. Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds-Stephen Kinzer

In the newest edition of this book, you’ll get to know all the aspects of Turkey’s history from the Ottoman Empire up to the present day. You’ll get a feel for the real powers of the Turkish army.

Stephen Kinzer also describes the diplomatic potential of the state and gives the reader a taste of the country’s religious aspects. On top of politics, religion, and military, you’ll also read about some of the pleasures that Turkey has to offer, such as cafes, ruins, and mountain outposts.

10. Living in Istanbul- Kenize Mourad

The best way to learn about a country is to hear about it firsthand from someone who lived there. Kenize Mourad takes the reader through the hidden delights of Istanbul throughout the book.

There is a certain magic about the architecture and waters in Istanbul that the author goes over in great detail.

Books to Read Before Traveling to Turkey

Do a Little Reading Before Traveling to Turkey

Are you traveling to Turkey? It may be a good idea for you to do a little bit of light reading before leaving.

You’d be surprised at how much books can help you attune to the cultural, religious, and historical aspects of the country. Add some of these books to your reading list and brush up on your knowledge.

As accurate as the books are, nothing can prepare you for how amazing Turkey actually is. One of the best ways to view the country is by going on a tour. Contact us to learn more.