Istanbul: City of the World's Desire

Image saucer with astrological decoration
Image saucer with astrological decoration
The Angel Ruh holding the celestial spheres
The Angel Ruh holding the celestial spheres
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

An enriching introduction to the incredible city of Istanbul, with the opportunity to view some beautiful pottery and other artefacts from the Ottoman and wider Islamic world.

  • Led by Terry Richardson, one of Andante’s most popular guide lecturers, who knows the great metropolis of Istanbul inside out
  • Special access to the Western Art Print Room, an integral part of Oxford’s historic Ashmolean Museum
  • A guided tour of the innovative temporary exhibit Power and Protection: the Islamic World and the Supernatural

Istanbul is one of the great cities of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of cultures that produced some of the most iconic architecture in the world. Strategically located where Europe and Asia meet, at the western terminus of the Silk Route and controlling shipping between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the city grew fat on trade. This study day is an ideal introduction to what remains a truly great world city, and gives us the opportunity to view some of the fine objects (particularly pottery) produced when Istanbul was the nerve-centre of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known, that of the Ottoman Turks. Our guided tour of ‘Power and Protection: the Islamic World and the Supernatural’ will give us an illuminating insight into a seldom-explored facet of Islam.

Special access: to the Western Art Print Room of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum


  • Great Cities

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

Morning: 09:45am Start

09:45 - We arrive at the St. Giles entrance to the Ashmolean Museum, and enjoy tea and biscuits in the Board Rooms looking out over the spires of Oxford. 

10:00 - We begin with an introductory lecture from Terry Richardson. He will present us with the history and archaeology of the great city of Istanbul.

11:00 - We break for tea and coffee before the lecture continues.

11:30 - After an introduction to Ottoman Art, we will have a handling session incorporating Ottoman period ceramics and title in the Jameel Centre. 

13:00 - We leave for Lunch at a nearby French restaurant.


14:45 - We visit the Print Room of the Ashmolean Museum, to view European impressions of Istanbul, accompanied by Ashmolean curators. 

15:45 - We end the day with a guided tour of the Islamic Middle East Gallery with Terry Richardson. 

16:15 - Disperse, or choose to browse the Ashmolean Museum shop with your special discount.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Lunch
  3. Fact Sheet - Including background information about your Guide Lecturer, historical context for the Day, detailed itinerary, a suggested reading list and directions to the venue

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What to expect 

  • An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
  • A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
  • Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
  • Small Groups 12-25 guests 
  • The company of like-minded people!
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