The Sufi and Byzantine Worlds of Istanbul
September 8th to 13th
Istanbul is one of the most beautiful and profound cities in the world. It is the only great city to span two continents – Europe and Asia – and perhaps no other city has such a rich texture of history, culture and spirituality. In its incarnation as Constantinople, it was a brilliant center of Byzantine Greek culture and, as the Ottoman capital, it had a great tradition of Sufism. As Samothrace lies only a few miles from the nautical boundary of Turkey, we have an invaluable opportunity to experience Istanbul in all its mystery and magnificence.
We will travel by bus from the port of Alexandroupolis to Istanbul, where we will meet with some of Turkey’s leading scholars of Sufism, continuing a theme from last year’s Esoteric Quest in Andalusia. For centuries, each of the 300 mosques of the city contained a lodge for wandering dervishes, and we will have the opportunity to experience the mystical practices of contemporary Sufis, heirs to the tradition of Rumi. Our guide will be Stephen Hirtenstein, scholar of Ibn ‘Arabi.
Among the city’s most striking features are The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, standing high above the Bosphorus on the Golden Horne. We will also explore the rich culture of Byzantium with its architecture and esoteric spirituality. Brian Cotnoir will lecture on Byzantine alchemy and we will sail along the shores of the Bosphorus viewing the castles and monuments that mark this place as one of the most significant in world history. Time will also be found to visit the vast Bazaar, eat in restaurants that exude Ottoman splendor, and glimpse the remains of the Roman Empire at its peak.
People not attending the conference on Samothrace are welcome to join us for this post-conference journey.
Price for those traveling with the Open Center from the main conference: $1350 per person for accommodations in a double room, $1490 for a single room. This cost includes accommodations from September 8–12, all meals (except for lunch on September 12th, which will be time for personal exploration in Istanbul), coach travel to Istanbul, English-speaking tour guides, all presentations, ground transport and entrance fees to scheduled sites, and a boat tour up the Bosphorus strait.
Price for those joining us in Istanbul on September 9: $1170 per person for accommodations in a double room, $1310 for a single room. This cost includes accommodations from September 9–12, all meals (except for lunch on September 12th, which will be time for personal exploration in Istanbul), English-speaking tour guides, all presentations, ground transport and entrance fees to scheduled sites, and a boat tour up the Bosphorus strait.
Click HERE to download arrival information and an itinerary.
Click HERE to download travel tips for Istanbul.