Turkish institute in London launches term with dazzling Ottoman arts

Offering a wide choice for art and culture lovers who wish to take Turkish language, art and music courses both online and in person, the London branch of the Yunus Emre Institute – Türkiye’s flagship agency for Turkish language training abroad with 60 branches worldwide – is ready to launch its brand new term.

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The institute’s curriculum diversity this year includes Oud, Ney, Tezhip (illumination art), Ebru (paper marbling), Hüsn-i-Hut (calligraphy), Iznik ceramics and of course Ottoman Turkish and Turkish language courses.

After two years of online education, courses are finally returning to an on-campus format this semester, with the online alternative also remaining as an option. The Institute’s most in-demand course – Turkish Language – aims to provide students with the four basic skills of the Turkish language.

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In addition to modern Turkish, the institute also offers Ottoman Turkish courses taught by historian Cumhur Bekar – a course that enables students to gain the knowledge to understand centuries of texts from the Ottoman Empire. A wide range of texts are used in the course to introduce students to Ottoman Turkish, including chronicles, travel books, first-person narratives, newspapers, sultan’s orders, reference works, treatises and letters from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Students practice the art of Tezhip at the Yunus Emre Institute London, in London, UK (Photo courtesy of the Yunus Emre Institute)

Students practice the art of Tezhip at the Yunus Emre Institute London, in London, UK (Photo courtesy of the Yunus Emre Institute)

In addition to language courses, the institute also offers comprehensive Turkish art classes, one of the most fascinating of which is the art of tezhip, or illumination. Tezhip – which literally means “decorate with gold” – is a unique Turkish decorative art form that has adorned books, manuscripts, calligraphy and more for hundreds of years. As the intersection of the uniquely complex cultures of Turks and Islam, tezhip is one of the most prized arts in both cultures. This year’s Tezhip courses will be attended by artist Nagihan Seymour.

When one thinks of Tezhip, one naturally also thinks of calligraphy, the beautiful art of writing that is also taught at the institute. Adorning the pages of books, tiles of mosques, walls of houses and monumental places alike, the art of calligraphy, with its aesthetic beauty, combines visual aesthetics with the precision and functionality of hand-drawn letters created with pens or brushes. This year Master Gulnaz Fatima Mahboob will teach the students this art form.

Other wonders of Turkish culture offered at the institute include Ebru, or paper marbling – a centuries-old art that uses aqueous natural pigments mixed with ox bile in a rectangular trough and thickened water to create spectacular and unique images; Ney courses – which give an overview of one of the oldest musical instruments still in use and undoubtedly represent a very important part of Ottoman courtly and Turkish classical music – and of course Oud or Ud courses – which teach mastery of this large corpus, short-necked, fretless Stringed instrument alongside basic musical theories, practices and maqams used in Turkish music.

Ever since the Yunus Emre Institute opened its doors in London in 2010, it has improved the friendship between Türkiye and the UK.

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