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Pera Palas Hotel - Leon Trotsky Room

by Ken Brezinsky
August 11, 2003
Istanbul, OT (Turkey)

Pera Palas Hotel - Leon Trotsky Room

By Ken Brezinsky
August 11, 2003


Attending the Baila Tango workshop had a surprise for me: I stayed in the very same room as Leon Trotsky, the famous, or infamous, Bolshevik revolutionary. Of course, the thrill of association with a political celebrity (or at least his room) can be very short lived but in this case the ironies of the situation kept me bemused for the week. It was ironic that the relative opulence of the room (see photo below) and of the hotel was completely incongruent with the whole philosophy of the Bolshevik revolutionary. What was Trotsky doing in the Pera Palas hotel with all its ornate opulence? What was I doing there for that matter? The answer to the latter question is easy. The Pera Palas is a well-known hotel, built at the peak of the Orient Express train operation by the management of the train line to house their guests. Now the Pera Palas is well past its prime but retains its old style on the ground and first few lower floors where some tango workshops and a grand tango ball was held.

So for me, being at this materialistically intense hotel was part of our tango plan. However, Trotsky lacked my excuse since he was not a tango dancer. Had he been one, then, perhaps he could have danced out of the way of the bullet that killed him in Mexico many years after his Istanbul visit. It was also ironic that all the adjoining rooms on the luxurious second floor had been occupied by Kings, Sultans and Presidents. The ultimate egalitarian, Trotsky, shared the notoriety of having stayed on the honored Pera Palas second floor with the ultimates in one-person rule. Lastly, what was I, a Brezinsky, doing in the room once occupied by Trotsky? Is there some ironic meaning to this "sky"ing?

Photos courtesy of Ken Brezinsky


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