The entourage of the Marquis de Ferriol, newly appointed
ambassador of the French government, finally reached
Istanbul in 1699 following a long and arduous voyage.
Emerging on deck, the passengers shared the joy of
arriving in the mysterious city they had heard about
in legends and seen in engravings. What they saw dazzled
their eyes. The leaden domes of its mosques and churches
sparkling in the rising sun, the city was slowly waking
up from sleep. As Ambassador Ferriol thrilled to the
sight of the palace in the distance, a man standing
next to him was speechless with pleasure. Clearly
this magnificent city enchanted him more than anyone
else. He was the Dutch painter Jean Baptiste Vanmour.
After surveying the scene with his painter’s
eye, his glance fell upon the people waiting on the
quay. Their countenances were sad: the Siege of Vienna
had ended in failure in 1683, and the Ottoman Empire
had ceded territory for the first time in the 1699
Treaty of Carlowitz.