Pierre Loti, whose real name is Julien Viaud, (1850 – 1923) was a French writer who was in love with Turkey and the Turkish people. Originally he was from Rochefort. Do not miss the opportunity to discover the house of Pierre Loti, where he had built an Ottoman mosque and a Turkish salon. He loved living among the Turks and had even learned the language. Turkey was his second home and that’s why you can see streets that bear his name. For the Eastern question, he will support the Ottoman Empire against France as a journalist.
He would write about Turkish culture and Istanbul, even considering becoming an officer in the Turkish Imperial Fleet. In addition to being a writer, Pierre Loti had several occupations:
Photographer reporter Pierre has traveled the world, from India to the shores of the Bosporus in Istanbul to capture his experiences through his artistic gaze.
With his travel diary, Pierre Loti completes a veritable graphic and ethnographic work: from Easter Island to Japan, not to mention his favorite “Stamboul” as he called it. He accumulates watercolor sketches inspired by the portraits and the events he experiences.
Pierre Loti in Istanbul
Pierre Loti is represented through the only French school in Istanbul that respects the French educational regime (i.e. same calendar and same holidays). It is a prestigious school which is in great demand among the Turkish elite and French expatriates. The Pierre Loti café in Istanbul was also opened in his honor in the European district of Eyüp, on the heights of Istanbul, where he liked to come to meditate and write while enjoying the extraordinary view of the Golden Horn. From now on, we can come there to drink tea or coffee, taking pictures with paintings in his effigy. This is a must visit and very touristy.
How to get to the café?
Take the cable car from Eyüp (around 5 TL). It is more pleasant to walk down from the Pierre Loti café in Istanbul to pass through the Ottoman cemetery and discover the surrounding district with its mosque and its unique alleys.
Pierre in Istanbul: the works
His first successful novel by the eponymous name “Aziyadé” was published in 1879 and recounted his experience when he met a Circassian woman in the harem of a wealthy Istanbul resident. An almost autobiographical novel. With the book “Constantinople fin de siècle”, Pierre Loti in Istanbul describes a country with Ottoman identity threatened by cosmopolitanism. Pierre Loti identifies with his city, Stamboul: “Oh, Stamboul! Of all the names that still enchant me, this is still the most magical one. No capital is more diverse by itself, nor above all more changing from hour to hour, with the aspects of the sky, with the winds and the clouds – in this climate which has scorching summers and an admirable light, but which , on the other hand, has darkened winters, rains, coats of snow suddenly thrown over its thousands of black roofs. And these streets, these squares, these suburbs of Constantinople, it seems to me that they are a bit mine, as I also belong to them. “
Pierre Loti and his political commitment
He was politically engaged and often joined the Ottoman Empire. He himself said he was waging “a real war against the most entrenched misconceptions, against the most indestructible prejudices”.
Among his political works:
- The death of our dear France in the East (1920)
- The Armenian Massacres (1918)
- Supreme visions of the East (1921)
- To this day, Pierre Loti is a personality adored by the Turks. He still lives in the hearts of the Istanbulites.
To explore amazing views of Istanbul you can also visit these places.