Posts Tagged ‘Pera Palace Hotel’

Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica in Istanbul

April 13, 2011

Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica in Istanbul on St Joseph’s Day.

Scenes from press conference at Pera Palace Hotel and Istanbul street scene.

Photos by Marcos Borges.

Music Istanbul by Orient Expressions.

Paulo Coelho in Istanbul on St Joseph’s Day
Paulo Coelho Press Conference at Pera Palace Hotel
Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Pera Palace Hotel

An atom’s weight of good

March 31, 2011


(On the Day of Judgment) all humankind will issue forth in scattered groups to be shown their (past) deeds. Then whoever has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it, and whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil shall (also) see it. — The Holy Quran, 99:6-8

At his press conference to mark St Joseph’s Day and to explain why he was hosting a party with friends that evening, Paulo Coelho said the question God would ask would not be of our sin but of our love. He also quoted from the Quran.

You, who they call Lord

March 28, 2011
setting sun Tenerife

setting sun Tenerife

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.

When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.

You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.

Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.

I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.

Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.

Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.


— Abbot Burkhard

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

At the press conference and at the party too at Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul on St Joseph Day, Paulo Coelho explained why he held a party on St Joseph Day, and that prayers would be said to St Joseph, that it was not an obligation to join in, but that if you did, the prayers must come from your heart, from your soul.

He invited several people on to the platform so that a prayer could be said in many languages. One of those who he invited was the Abbot of Melk Abbey who said this prayer in German.

Paulo invited everyone to hold hands during the prayers. It was a very moving experience.

I look forward to Abbot Burkhard’s recent book being translated into English.

Top story in Religion Today (Tuesday 29 March 2011).

Spiritual experience of a sunset
Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Pera Palace Hotel
Abbot Burkhard’s book is # 1!!!
No mosteiro de Melk
Footprints in the Sand
Sand and Foam

Pera Palace Hotel

March 27, 2011
View from the balcony - Elaine Street

View from the balcony - Elaine Street

The sun that suddenly rises behind the hills of Pera, over the minarets of the city and the Golden Horn, fills your heart with a crimson joy. Everything that was asleep all night long is waking up now … — Knut Hamsun

Pera Palace Hotel was built in 1892 to serve passengers on the Orient Express. It sits on top of a hill in modern Istanbul with extensive views of the river, Bosphorus and the old part of Istanbul. Passengers on the Orient Express were conveyed from the station, across the river and up the hill in a sedan chair. An example of one such sedan chair may be found in the foyer.

In 1895 Pera Palace was opened with a Grand Ball.

Pera Palace soon established itself as the place to see and be seen.

It was at the Pera Palace Hotel that Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express (1934).

Other famous guests include Ernest Hemingway, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Mata Hari, Yehudi Menuhin, Jacqueline Kennedy, Rita Hayworth, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, King George V of England, King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, President Tito of Yugoslavia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

Room 101, a favourite of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during his many visits, is now a Atatürk museum.

The most recent famous visitor Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. He hosted a St Joseph’s Day Party (Saturday 19 March 2011) and earlier in the day a press conference.

Pera Palace Hotel has been recently renovated to restore it to its former glory. It was closed in 2006 and reopened 1 September 2010. The re-opening coincided with the year that Istanbul had been designated as the European Capital of Culture.

The electric lift inside the hotel was the second only installed in Europe. The first was the Eiffel Tower. British writer Daniel Farson described the elevator:

It is the most beautiful elevator in the world made of cast iron and wood… It ascends like a lady who curtsies. Tourists can not take their eyes off this utterly pretty and aristocrat elevator.

Apart from the Ottoman Palaces, Pera Palace was the first building to have electricity.

A few minutes walking distance from Pera Palace lies Istiklal Avenue, the heart of modern Istanbul. A historic tram mentioned by Orhan Pamuk in one of his novels runs through Istiklal Avenue. At the end of Istiklal Avenue, a funicular runs down to the tram station, from where a tram runs across the river to the old part of Istanbul and the railway station. Or a 10 lire taxi ride, but the funicular and tram is more fun.

Also within walking distance lies the Galata Tower.

Pera Palace is featured in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, with a copy opened at the relevant pages in a display cabinet in the hotel foyer.

Paulo Coelho meets readers in Istanbul
Paulo Coelho Press Conference at Pera Palace Hotel
Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Pera Palace Hotel
Pera Palace Hotel Istanbul « Historic Hotels of the World – Then & Now
Refurbished grandeur in Istanbul’s Pera Palace Hotel
Istanbul: Afternoon Tea at the Pera Palace Hotel

Alchemist Stone

March 24, 2011

At his St Joseph’s Day Party at the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, Paulo Coelho sat patiently signing books and chatting with his friends into the early hours of the morning.

It must have been around 1am and those of us who were left Paulo asked us to sit around his table. He then asked Ken Crane to tell us the story of the Alchemist Stone. I did not fully follow what Ken was telling us and I asked would he post it on his blog which he kindly did a few days later.


I was asked by Paulo to attend St Joseph’s party on early November. The party was to take place at Istanbul on 2011 March. But I did not answer immediately, I wrote to Paulo let me think for a while. I was not sure if I could save a money to go to Istanbul. Of course, I did want to attend the party and meet with Paulo but I left this for a while to think.

alchemist stone

alchemist stone

On one late November, my wife Yumi went to her friend’s exhibition at Tokyo. This Yumi’s friend, is a handicraft artist making necklaces with stones. She invited us to her exhibition, but I was away to do my job so Yumi went ahead to the exhibition, I decided to go to the exhibition after I finish my job. When Yumi entered the gallery, she saw more than a hundred beautiful necklaces hanged on the walls. All of those necklaces were using what they call power stone as a motif. After having a little conversation, the artist asked Yumi which necklace she likes the best. There were several kinds of necklaces hanged on the wall, all of them were using different kinds of stones. Yumi immediately pointed the necklace using a blue stone. “That’s interesting that you’ve chosen that stone” The artist said to Yumi.

After an hour or so, after I finished a job, I arrived the gallery. Yumi asked me a same question that she was asked. “Which necklace do you like the best?”

After looking at them for a while, I pointed the same necklace out of a hundred necklaces. It was the same necklace that Yumi have chosen. “The name of the stone on this necklace is Aqua Aura” the artist started describing to us. “Aqua Aura is very good for a creative people. The stone makes the people connect to universe. And it is related to throat chakra, so this stone is also very good for the people who sings (note: Yumi is a very good singer)”

To be very honest, I was reading many spiritual books, but I did not believe in stone power, but Yumi believed in it.

Ken, Paulo & Yumi

Ken, Paulo & Yumi

The artist continued: “the stone is a natural crystal but it wasn’t originally blue when it was mined from the ground. It is turned blue by an alchemical process using gold. So this Aqua Aura is also called Alchemist Stone”

Yumi screamed when she heard this (I didn’t scream, but I was very surprised). We were talking what to do about St Joseph’s party for many days. Yumi started explaining to the artist why she screamed. After hearing Yumi’s story, the artist told us that she is also a Paulo Coelho’s fan.

So this was the the day we’ve decided to go Istanbul. I felt like I have to give this stone to Paulo.


Alchemists turn base metal into gold. Here we have gold being used to change a crystal. In The Alchemist Santiago learns how to read the signs, to communicate with the Soul of the World.

Alchemists sought to turn base metals into gold. Aqua Aura is created through an alchemical process where molecules of pure gold are bonded to the quartz by the natural electric charge of the crystal, which amplifies the conductivity of the quartz. This produces a celestial shade of blue that reflects a spectrum of opalescent metallic colors (it is not a coating, but permanently permeates the quartz). Aqua Aura creates an immensely powerful protection combination, which fuses the White, Blue and Gold Rays into an iridescent display of Light.

I stayed in the old part of Istanbul. The receptionist at my hotel was called Elif. She was a Paulo Coelho fan. I met Işil who owned a spice shop. She too was a Paulo Coelho fan. I left as gifts for both of them signed copies of Elif which had just been published in Turkey.

I noticed at the party that Paulo Coelho was wearing an Alchemist Stone!

Aqua Aura
The Alchemist Himself

Paulo Coelho Press Conference at Pera Palace Hotel

March 19, 2011
Paulo Coelho at press conference

Paulo Coelho at press conference

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. — 1 John 4:8, NIV

Paulo Coelho died at birth, strangled by his umbilical cord. His mother prayed and he survived. The hospital was called Saint Joseph. His mother made a promise to Saint Joseph. Paulo Coelho upholds that promise and one way he does so is to hold a party each year on St Joseph’s Day with his friends to celebrate.

Last year it was at Melk Abbey. This year it is at the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. And that ıs why this afternoon he held this press conference. Not, as some may think, to promote his new book Elif as he did not need to.

Elif (O Aleph in Portugal and Brazil) was released ın Turkey last week. It has already reached Number One in Turkey without any help or promotion by Paulo Coelho. His books do not need it, they sell by word of mouth.

To date almost 150 million books sold. If we assume at least three people read each book, then we are approaching half a billion readers.

Why do people read the books? Ask the readers. All Paulo Coelho does is write them.

Why does he write? We all have stories to tell. That is how we retain our culture. Some of us follow our dreams.

Joseph, a simple carpenter, followed his dreams. He worked with with love.

That is the question we should all ask ourselves: Do we work with love, do we put love into our work? That is the the question God will ask us, not did we sin, but did we put love into our work?

Jesus told stories. The Koran tells us to tell stories and reflect on those stories. The Hindu classics are stories.

People are rising up, they are demanding change, they will no longer accept the old order.

Elif, released in Turkey last week, is the story of a journey. A journey that starts in Moscow on the Trans-Siberian railway. It is a spiritual journey. It is the story of a Turkish woman called Elif.

Elif or Aleph is a point in space and time.

It is rare for Paulo Coelho to hold a press conference, which explains the massed TV cameras. I was told even CNN was there. On the platform with Paulo Coelho was his publisher in Turkey and the Brazilian Ambassador to Turkey.

This evening Paulo Coelho will be hosting a party for his friends at the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul.

On leaving Pera Palace I wandered to Istiklal Avenue where I found copies of Elif on display in a bookshop. I had hoped to see the historic tram which Orhan Pamuk writes of in one of his books but I was out of luck. The street was blocked by a massive anti-nuclear demonstration.

Pera Palace Hotel has been recently renovated. It was built for passengers on the Orient Express. Many famous guests including Ernest Hemmingway, Greta Garbo, Agatha Christie, who wrote Murder on the Orient Express whilst staying at the Pera Palace Hotel. In the entrance foyer is an old sedan chair. Chairs such as this were used to carry guests from the station, across the river and up the hill to the Pera Palace Hotel. The electric lift inside the hotel was the second only installed in Europe. The first was the Eiffel Tower. Pera Palace is listed in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, with a copy opened at the relevant pages in a display cabinet in the hotel foyer.

Paulo Coelho in Turkey
Paulo Coelho meets readers in Istanbul
Paulo Coelho İstanbul’da “Elif”i anlattı
Coelho ‘Elif’ ile İstanbul’da
Paulo Coelho: Paylaşmazsanız insan değilsiniz
Paulo Coelho İstanbul’da
Brezilyalı Yazar Paulo Coelho İstanbul’da
Coelho, İstanbul’da

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