January 30, 2011

‘Mosques in Istanbul,’ an illuminating new guide book for Istanbul

In his book 'Mosques of Istanbul,' architectural historian Henry Matthews describes the mosques he has chosen in chronological order. The special features of each of the mosques are pointed out, as well as some of the background on how the mosque came to be built, whether the patron was a sultan or one of the powerful women who ruled the Ottoman Empire

According to census statistics for the year 2000, there were nearly 2,700 active mosques in Istanbul and by 2007, nearly 3,000 active mosques. That makes the choice of just 49 (including three mosques converted churches) to describe in a recent book, “The Mosques of Istanbul,” extremely interesting.

The author of "Mosques of Istanbul," Henry Matthews, says of his selection in the introduction: “The choice of mosques is my own, and reflects my interests. They were selected for their historical interest, architectural merit and to represent all the main stylistic periods. Two Byzantine churches are also included because of their strong influence on Ottoman mosques, plus one other because it highlights the different needs of church and mosque.”

Matthews has a distinguished career as an architectural historian. He has published books and articles on various aspects of architectural history.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: ‘Mosques in Istanbul,’ an illuminating new guide book for Istanbul

Tekcan Exhibition to Open at Çırağan Palace

The first in a series of exhibitions organized within the framework of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Süleyman Saim Tekcan’s first exhibition will open at the Çırağan Palace Kempinski Art Gallery.

Tekcan gained a school of followers for his style, one that modernized tradition both in original prints and in oil painting. He was an artist who achieved a number of firsts in the art of printing in Turkey.

While stressing the possibility of free expression in art he constantly renewed art and for this purpose established the Istanbul Graphic Arts Museum, or IMOGA.

The Tekcan exhibition, which consists of oil paintings and original prints is free and open 24 hours a day on the entrance floor of Çırağan Palace.

Çırağan Palace Kempinski Art Gallery is also hosting a series of lectures under the title “Çırağan Conversations.”

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Tekcan Exhibition to Open at Çırağan Palace

New Alternatives for Skiing Day Trips

Turkey's coastal strip may be a good destination for summer holidays, but its beautiful ski resorts are the inevitable option for anyone looking to have a good time during a winter holiday.

We recommend Kartepe for a day trip skiing holiday. We all want to escape from our busy work schedule and have a good time relaxing with family and friends, but we usually only get one or two days off at a time and end up postponing our plans because we do not want to wear ourselves out on a trip out of town. With clean air and ski runs just two hours from Istanbul, Kartepe is a good choice for spending time alone or with family and friends. Some love to ski, while others choose to take a cable car ride just to enjoy the beautiful scenery and snow-covered pines. Kartepe is a good venue for skiing and for those who simply miss the snow.

Read more on Sunday's Zaman: New Alternatives for Skiing Day Trips

Travel Writing Scholarship 2011- Applications Open!

Do you want to be a published travel writer?

Go on assignment to Istanbul with Rough Guides!

Kick start your travel writing career by going on assignment to Istanbul, Turkey. After touching base with your travel writing mentor, you will hit the road for 7 days reviewing and writing for The Rough Guide to Istanbul for your chance to get published. You will also have the chance to satisfy your adventure cravings on a 12 day Turkish Delight tour, biking, hiking and kayaking your way through Turkey with BikeHike Adventures.

Your Assignment Brief

* We'll fly you to Istanbul from your country of residence. You need to be available between June 7th - 28th, 2011 to participate on the assignment

* After spending two days learning the ropes with mentor Terry Richardson, you will research, review and update essential travel info for 'The Rough Guide to Istanbul', including accommodation, bars & restaurants, entertainment, shopping, tours, activities and transport, as well as searching out those local secrets that travellers want to read about.

* Your mentor will be at hand to offer guidance, but essentially this is your assignment; you will travel on your own for this part of the journey so you must be comfortable travelling solo. Terry will assign you a specific area based on your travel experience.

* Your work will feature in the new edition of 'The Rough Guide to Istanbul', placing your foot firmly in the door of the elusive travel writing industry!

Read more on WorldNomads: Travel Writing Scholarship 2011- Applications Open!

January 29, 2011

‘Turkey as important as BRIC countries for UK’

In the last of his three-day visit to Turkey, Bear -- who heads the British capital’s local authority City of London Corporation -- made the opening speech at the panel “İstanbul International Finance Center: What does the London experience say about İstanbul?” held at the İstanbul Stock Exchange (İMKB) on Friday.

London Lord Mayor Michael Bear (L) participated in a panel discussion on
how to make Istanbul a key international finance center, organized by the IMKB in Istanbul.
During his speech, he lauded Turkey’s economic performance and said, “The scale of opportunities in İstanbul is immense.” Speaking about Turkish-British relations, Bear reminded those present that the trade volume between the two countries was at $9 billion in 2009 and that they aim to double that figure by 2015. He also noted that 2,000 British companies are operating in Turkey.

Read more on Today's Zaman: ‘Turkey as important as BRIC countries for UK’

Online Istanbul-French Journal Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

Wanting to provide the French-speaking community in Istanbul with a supportive online platform and point of reference, the duo said their mission was to stamp out inaccurate European stereotypes of Turkey and strive instead to depict a portrait of the country that corresponded to today's reality.

Brigitte di Benadetto & Marie-Eve Richet, run the Istanbul branch of the free global newsletter 'lepetitjournal.'
As well as covering areas ranging from business relations between French and Turkish companies to what to do and where to go in Istanbul, the pair have also investigated and written features on the roles of Turkish women in the workplace.

“In Turkey, being a woman doesn't impede you from reaching top positions and being successful. In France there are still problems with regards to this matter – a woman must fight hard in order to be considered an equal in the workplace,” Benadetto said.

“It would surprise many people in France to find out that the director of a top company was a woman. Madame Güler Sabancı was classed by the Financial Times as the third most influential woman in the world. The strong position that Turkish women command in the workforce is unknown in France, there are really less prejudices here between the sexes than in France,” Richet said.

To subscribe to Istanbul's “petitjournal” head to www.lepetitjournal.com/istanbul

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Online Istanbul-French Journal Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

January 28, 2011

Travel: The changing face of Istanbul

"From the Eminonu ferry dock in Istanbul's "Old City" it's a short walk to Yeni Camil, the "New Mosque," but in Istanbul the words old and new are relative rather than literate. The New Mosque was completed in AD1663, a mere 348 years before we visited it in 2010, but more than a thousand years after the Old City was established. 

It is still called the "New Mosque" but as I stand on its plaza watching the swarm of workboats in the harbour and the turmoil of pedestrian and vehicle traffic on shore, the New Mosque seems very old indeed - an anachronism in the business-driven society of Modern Istanbul. When the evening call to prayer booms from a loudspeaker on its minaret, no one pays any attention. There is not even a lull in the frenetic pace of business on the Eminonu waterfront.

The transformation of Istanbul began in 1923 when Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara and made Turkey a secular republic. A benevolent autocrat with boundless energy and an iron will, Ataturk dragged Turkey into the 20th century and let nothing interfere with his vision of a modern nation-state modeled on the west. The Roman alphabet replaced Arabic script. The European calendar was adopted. Sharia law was scrapped in favor of the Swiss civil code and the Italian penal code. Women were granted equal rights and religion was banished from schools and government institutions.

Since his death in 1938 Turkey's economy has swung wildly through several boom and bust cycles, but through it all Ataturk's vision of a modern, secular, westernized state has been the central tenet of the new Republic. But the country, and particularly Istanbul, are now facing new cultural and economic changes that are equally as challenging as those faced by Ataturk 85 years ago.


Until 1961 it was the terminus of the Orient Express, a train steeped in the glamour and intrigue of Agatha Christie spy thrillers. The trip from Paris took three and a half days (provided the train wasn't held up by bandits or stalled in a snowdrift) and if there were delays the carpeted cabins with leather armchairs and gas-lit chandeliers provided all the comforts a gentleman could desire. But that was a different era. Despite its extravagant luxury the Orient Express could not compete with air travel and today the only trains using Eminonu's Sirkeci Station are on short-haul domestic routes. Istanbul has become an ultra-modern jet-age city." (Jack Souther)

Read more on Pique News Magazine: Travel: The changing face of Istanbul

January 27, 2011

Magic Ice – Istanbul’s Ice Museum

I was intrigued when I first heard about one of Istanbul’s latest attractions: an ice museum because that’s one of the last things you would associate with a city in a generally hot country. In fact, the ice museum which opened its doors in April 2010 is the only one in Europe created in a warm country.

You can admire an entire Viking boat, a house, an elk and, of course a Viking
Located in FORUM Istanbul, one of the city’s most fashionable shopping malls, a visit to the ice museum is a brilliant choice. Apart from the show, history and exhibits, the museum is open every day of the week, whereas many other museums and historical places in Istanbul are closed on Mondays.

Read more on Reuters: Magic Ice – Istanbul’s Ice Museum

Best Vacation Spots for Foodies

There are many superb destinations for a culinary and cultural experience that aren't the normal cookie cutter experiences. Istanbul is a culinary delight and well worth the visit, for example.

Aya Sofya | Artist: Metin Babac. 
Read more on Fox News: Best Vacation Spots for Foodies

January 26, 2011

Istanbul Countdown to New Disney Musical Begins

The new production “Disney Live! Mickey's Music Festival” is scheduled to open in Istanbul on Thursday, with Mickey and friends set to delight audiences with the stars from “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “Toy Story.”

Some of the most famous Disney songs will be performed in this production, in an attractive combination of original musical scores fused with contemporary hip hop, pop, swing, reggae, rock and country music.

The program promises that audiences will not be able to resist dancing, singing, playing air guitar and laughing.

Tickets for “Disney Live! Mickey's Music Festival,” a unique experience of a live concert with characters straight out of a magical world, are available through Biletix.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Istanbul Countdown to New Disney Musical Begins

January 25, 2011

EMITT Istanbul to Attract 4,000 Participants

EMITT, the East Mediterranean International Tourism and Travel Exhibition, is being held in 10 halls at TUYAP between February 10 and 13. Thousands of tourism professionals from around the world and Turkey will come together at EMITT Exhibition in Istanbul.

Under the sponsorship of the guest country Yemen, EMITT is the world's 6th biggest tourism fair with its 10 halls covering 60,000 sqm, attracting some 4,000 participants from 60 countries…

If you are a tourism professional, come to EMITT to meet tourism professionals coming from around the world and Turkey, set up contacts, get a closer look at the innovations and developments in the industry, create new business opportunities.

Read more on Travel News Gazette: EMITT Istanbul to Attract 4,000 Participants

Social Media Week In 2011: From London To NYC

Social Media Week 2011 is quickly approaching and for those of you unaware of the dates or what it’s about don’t worry, we will tell you about it. Social Media Week is hosted in several locations; these are Istanbul, Toronto, Hong Kong, Paris, San Francisco, Rome, Sao Paulo, London and New York.

Crowdcentric Media LLC are the owners and operators of Social Media Week, their official website is currently in development, however it does say that it will launch in January 2011 so keep checking back to see if it is available. 

Read more on OnlineSocialMedia.Net: Social Media Week In 2011: From London To NYC

Royal Spanish Ship Elcano Anchors in Istanbul

A Spanish naval training ship named for a 15th-century captain that completed the first circumnavigation of the world has re-anchored in Istanbul after sailing other seas for the past 60 years.

The Juan Sebastian de Elcano, or simply Elcano, an eight-time winner of the Boston Tea Pot Trophy – an international sea training competition – will be in Karaköy port until Wednesday.

The ambassador, whose father and grandfathers were also commanders on the ship, said the Elcano had always held a special place for Spain because the royal family also trained on it.

“This [white] ship, with such a sentimental history, is a symbol of Spain. The Elcano is always sent off with beautiful ceremonies including the presence of an orchestra. As it is among four midshipmen training ships in the world, it also [uniquely] differentiates itself from other ships,” he told the Daily News.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily NewsRoyal Spanish Ship Elcano Anchors in Istanbul

January 24, 2011

Forlorn Suriye Pasajı Brings Joy to the Fashion-Treasure Seeker

Admittedly, the entrance to İstiklal’s Avenue’s Suriye Passage isn’t too enticing. Cluttered with discount luggage and pastel-colored ear muffs, little remains of its glamor days when it was the site of Istanbul’s first movie theater. Save for a brightly lit barber and a scattering of stores selling fur and handbags, this 19th-century passage is largely empty.

One only needs to follow Suriye Passage to its end, to where generously proportioned moustaches on old film posters lead down to a magical underground world.

Hakan Vardar’s By Retro, regarded as one of Istanbul’s top retro fashion stores, is a true basement of treasures. The scent alone – reminiscent of grandmothers and their moth balls – is a welcome sign that this is the real deal. Popular with bargain hunters, fashion gurus, movie makers and the merely curious, this flamboyant store has established a colossal collection from Turkey and abroad, and it claims to be the largest second-hand store in the world.

Every square inch of By Retro seems to have been bestowed with meaning; the walls are covered with paintings depicting an alluring harem life, while the ceiling hosts elaborate, albeit a little worn, chandeliers.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Forlorn Suriye Pasajı Brings Joy to the Fashion-Treasure Seeker

Istanbul Getting Ready for the Opening of Its 8th Organic Market

Istanbul’s eighth organic bazaar offering fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products without additives will officially open next month at the Profilo Shopping Mall in the city’s Mecidiyeköy area.

“We started selling our products two weeks ago. The customers visiting our stands often have superficial information on organic products because they have become used to buying their groceries from supermarkets. However, once they taste our products, they understand the difference,” said Ahmet Sertkaya, a vegetable seller who graduated from Turkey’s first organic agriculture school, which was founded by Aydın Doğan in the northern province of Gümüşhane’s Kelkit district.

Handmade baby toys, baby clothes, adult robes, towels, and embodied apparels produced from organic cotton in Turkey’s Denizli province are also displayed in another section of the market.

“Some people say mass-produced clothes in factories might contain harmful heavy paints and metals that can be absorbed by our bodies when we sweat. They could be most dangerous for newborn babies,” said 56-year-old Nurten Erel, a salesperson at the stand.

Exhibition Brings Urban Germany to Istanbul

A traveling photography exhibition “The Entire City” - offering an array of perspectives on the “Urban German City” - is currently on display at the Milli Reasürans Art Gallery in Istanbul’s Teşvikiye neighborhood.

Featuring the works of Zoltán Jókay, Andreas Rost, Maria Sewcz, Ulrich Wüst, Tomo Yamaguchi and Eva Bertram, "The Entire City" -taking its name from a painting by German artist Max Ernst- brings together examples of subjective authorial photography.

“With its impressive and oppressive vision of a dream metropolis where natural and cultural space merge, Max Ernst’s painting does not really show a city but a utopian palace grown over in a strange jungle. The city is somehow hidden. A whole hidden city was the idea to take over the title because our exhibition wants to show different aspects of the city: the social life, architecture, suburbs, etc.” curator Matthias Flügge explains.

According to Flügge the theme -common to all the works in the exhibition- is concerned with the question of the identity of human beings and the urban environment - the relationship between public and private. 

Read more on Today's Zaman: Exhibition Brings Urban Germany to Istanbul

January 23, 2011

The City of Our Soul

ORHAN Pamuk’s lyrical ode to his home city, Istanbul: Memories and the City, is mesmerising. In recounting his youth there, Pamuk dazzlingly describes several fascinating facets of his beloved birthplace.

The 2006 Nobel Laureate admits, however, that the city depicted in many of his books does not resemble contemporary Istanbul. Instead, his portrayals are reminiscent of the Istanbul both of his youth in the 1970s and the Ottoman-era legacy.

Pamuk is not ashamed to acknowledge that his city defines him. Neither is he discomfited by it. He returns in his work to the sights, sounds and smells of his place of birth over and over again, revelling in its multi-dimensional character laid down through the centuries.

In a place caught not only between East and West, but also between a glorious past and an uncertain present, the prolific author never runs out of material. Much as he adores his city, though, he does not shy away from criticising it, often courting controversy and censure in the process.

Writers such as Pamuk, in their passion for their craft, leave no corner unexplored, no scene unpainted. Most significantly, they seem to eat, breathe and live their cities - giving as much back to these places as they extract from them.

Read more on theStar Online: The City of Our Soul

A New Name for an Ancient Region

 Businesswomen from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey will come together for a conference to be held in Istanbul Jan. 24-26.

“Invest for the Future: Women Driving Economic Growth” organized by the US State Department in collaboration with the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER) will be attended by 125 businesswomen looking for new ideas to expand their businesses. The panel discussions and sessions in the conference emphasize such issues as finance, communication, forming strategic partnerships and networking.

According to the information found on the conference's website, the ultimate purpose is to develop cooperation between businesswomen in the Eurasia region by launching educational workshops and conferences.

"Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan have much more in common with one another, and certainly a great deal in common with the Middle East as well. That those four countries aren’t quite fully the Middle East either speaks to something, and this intermediate state must be reflected in the positions and policies of those countries.

Where does it leave them, then? The neither here, nor there, the in-between limbo state can be frustrating all right, but it can also be an opportunity to forge a new understanding of the cultures and societies of this particular region. They form the nearer East, or perhaps even the nearest East, for that matter. They are nearer to Europe than the rest of the Middle East, while still being nearer to the East than the rest of Europe -- nearest both to and from the East.

On their own terms, however, to be fair, I would propose that the region be more properly described as “Western Asia” because those people have the Orient as the basis of their societies -- an Asia in the classical sense of the word -- while at the same time being Westernized and looking to the West for their future.

Ultimately, the people of Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan must come to terms with their relationships to those around them, chiefly with regards to one another, and must assert themselves in who they are and where they are, instead of relying on external factors to define their place in the world." (Nareg Seferian from Today's Zaman)

Read More on Today's Zaman & PanArmenian.Net:
         A new name for an ancient region by Nareg Seferian
         Armenian, Azerbaijani businesswomen to meet at Istanbul-hosted conference

Impressions of Istanbul (Part I) By Jack Souther

From Camlica Hill, the highest point in greater Istanbul, we can see across the Bosphorus to the Golden Horn and beyond to the fortified walls built by the Romans 1,600 years ago. The Bosphorus, a narrow marine channel running north to south between the Marmara and Black Seas, separates Europe from Asia and it runs right through the middle of the city, making Istanbul the only city on earth that straddles the boundary between two continents.

The Golden Horn, a long inlet extending westward from the Bosphorus, divides the European side of the city into two parts. From the Golden Horn south to the Marmara Sea the "Old City" bristles with minarets and the domes of 14th century churches while north of the Golden Horn the "New City" is a mix of apartments and businesses with all the challenges of a rapidly growing modern city.

The three parts of the city are linked together by suspension bridges across both the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.


With its tulip gardens, lawns and shade trees it's where the Imperial family once came to relax and play. But what was once a refuge reserved for the ruling elite is now shared by everyone. We were immediately surrounded by a swarm of enthusiastic and curious kids on a school outing - "Where are you from?" "Is Canada far away?" "Do you enjoy your visit here?" - Their command of English surprised me but it shouldn't have. Istanbul may be very old but it is also one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and, with Turkey poised to become part of the European family of nations, these kids are part of a new generation that is destined to see their city transformed yet again.

Read More on Pique News Magazine: Impressions of Istanbul (Part I) By Jack Souther

Turkish Delight [Travel Notes]

Istanbul is a huge noisy, interesting city, positioned a little in Europe and a lot in Asia. This important spot was known throughout history, and various nations have ruled from this city. Whoever ruled Constantinople, controlled the Bosphorus, the Black Sea and the Dardanelles opening into the Aegean Sea but also the vast lands to the south and east and the lands north, towards Europe.

King Constantine, a cruel and powerful Roman ruler, brought fame and fortune to this city, the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. He also became the first Roman ruler to become Christian – no doubt for political reasons. There is plenty of information available on his dubious influences on Christianity and the Bible, but he ordered the building of the beautiful St Sophia Basilica in Istanbul. Also known as Haga Sophia today, it is being restored to its past beauty after being used as a mosque and museum after the Ottomans took power.

Istanbul is filled with a cosmopolitan group of people; shops filled to the brim. It has colourful and disorganised streets, and has plenty of museums and places to eat, relax and chat. It is crowded yet one feels quite safe.

There are a range of food outlets available, from sit-down restaurants to “lie and chill” cafés, and even “instant” donor stands. Mielies are a favourite, served hot from push-carts positioned in the main thoroughfares.

The night-life is plentiful – catering for the international mix of this city, also called “European Capital of Culture for 2010” with Pecs in Hungary and Essen in Germany.

Shopping is one of the main reasons for visiting Turkey and the upmarket Taksim Square, the old city of Sultahnamet, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) are favourites in the capital. At the same time I would recommend visiting some websites such as TripAdvisor for some advice from other travellers. I found that prices (of Turkish carpets for instance) were not necessarily cheaper in Turkey.

Read more on Iol Travel: Turkish Delight

As always, Istanbul has 3 religions

Three of main religions’ temples can be found in public places around Istanbul.

Sabiha Gökçen Airport which serves to 25 million passangers in a year has 3 kind of prayer rooms in the terminal building for Muslims, Christians and Jewish people.

The new stadium “TT Arena” which owned by Galatasaray FC, also has 3 prayer rooms next to changing rooms for players.

Read more on NationalTurk.Com: As always, Istanbul has 3 religions

Queen’s Creating Partnerships Between Kingston and Istanbul

Ariel Salzmann’s prestigious interdisciplinary fellowship at Koç University’s Research Centre for Anatolian Civilizations in Istanbul adds another connection between Queen’s and academic institutions in Turkey.

Queen’s currently has partnerships with three universities in Turkey: Koç and Boğaziçi universities in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara. Undergraduate student exchanges are available for students in Arts and Science (all three universities) and Engineering and Applied Science (Bilkent University).

“The establishment of these exchange and study-abroad agreements, together with an increased emphasis on Near East studies, demonstrates Queen’s commitment to developing closer academic ties with institutions, faculty and students in the region,” says Vice-Provost (International) John Dixon.

Dr. Salzmann will have the opportunity to conduct research at numerous archives in Turkey, including the Prime Minister’s Archive in Istanbul, one of the largest archives in the world with millions of documents spanning the half millennium of history of the Ottoman Empire.

Read More on Kingston Herald: Queen’s Creating Partnerships Between Kingston and Istanbul

ArtBosphorus to gather 300 artists in Istanbul

The upcoming ArtBosphorus Contemporary Art Fair in İstanbul will bring together the work of 300 artists from 20 countries when the fair unveils its 2011 edition in April, the event’s organizers announced this week.

The fair will mark its fourth year under the main theme “Dreams, Colors, Realities” and will feature a colorful program complete with dance and performing arts shows, video art programs and arthouse film screenings in addition to regular art exhibitions, the organizers said in a press conference on Tuesday to announce the program.

Artists from four corners of the world, from the US to Italy, Iceland, Poland, Armenia, Japan, France, Serbia, South Korea and the UK, will be showcasing a selection of their works during the fair, which will run April 7-10 at the Fulya Fair and Congress Center.

For more details, visit the website www.artbosphorus.com/english.php.

Read more on Sunday's Zaman: ArtBosphorus to gather 300 artists in Istanbul

Istanbul lore finds its way into new volume

Like every city in the world, Istanbul has its healthy share of urban legends. Now, many lesser-known stories on Istanbul have been gathered into one book with the publishing of Mehmet Halit Bayri’s archive.

As interesting examples of oral literature compilation, these tales have been translated from Ottoman and rewritten. Enriched by modern drawings, “The Tales of Istanbul” is an indispensable resource in the popular literature of Istanbul.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Istanbul lore finds its way into new volume

World-renowned Chilean director to attend !f Istanbul

The !f Istanbul AFM International Independent Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in February, this year hosts director Alejandro Jodorowsky, one of the great visionaries of our times.

The Chilean director, who has influenced countless artists and directors from John Lennon to David Lynch, will be in Istanbul for the first ever Turkish theatrical screening of his 1989 cult film “Santa Sangre,” one of Empire Magazine’s 500 Greatest Movies of All Times. Newly restored, the film will be shown on Feb. 20 and Mr. Jodorowsky will be on hand for a Q&A.

Read More on Hürriyet Daily News: World-renowned Chilean director to attend !f Istanbul

Central Istanbul's Tünel celebrates 136th anniversary

To mark the 136th anniversary of the establishment of the Tünel in central Istanbul, the Istanbul Public Transport Authority, or İETT, has translated French engineer Eugene Henri Gavand’s book “Tunnel de Constantinople” (Istanbul Tunnel), which he released in 1876 in Paris, into Turkish for a new edition.

Read More on Hürriyet Daily News: Central Istanbul's Tünel celebrates 136th anniversary

Hyatt Chooses Moleskine Istanbul City Notebooks

This year the most valued guests and business partners of the Grand Hyatt Istanbul and the Park Hyatt Istanbul were able to discover Istanbul in greater detail and record their discoveries in a name personalized Custom Edition Moleskine Istanbul City Notebook.
Featuring 36 pages of Istanbul maps, along with a detailed street-by-street index, the Moleskine Istanbul City Notebook is a unique travel tool designed to help visitors and professionals alike as they explore the city. The Istanbul City Notebook includes 44 blank pages for notes, plus 12 tabbed sections 6 of which are for recording key city information about everything from accommodations and dining to likes and dislikes, as well as 6 tabs blank tabs for personal interests that can be personalized with special stickers which are enclosed.

Read more on Focus on Travel News: Hyatt Chooses Moleskine Istanbul City Notebooks

Istanbul Modern exhibits influential Chinese photographer

Chinese artist Yao Lu, one of the key figures introducing contemporary Chinese photography to the world, opened an exhibiton Tuesday at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. 'We have been trying to bring the artist to Turkey for four years and finally found a chance to exhibit her work,' says the curator of the exhibition

Lu said Beijing and Istanbul were similar in terms of their development of modern arts and their long cultural histories.

Lu said he was very excited to be opening an exhibition in a big museum in Istanbul. “Istanbul is a city of both history and modernism. It is magnificent that it has Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet. I admire this city. The art of photography is the most popular modern art in China because of the reason that photography is the easiest way to express yourself.”

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Istanbul Modern exhibits influential Chinese photographer

Istanbul residents keep watch on Beyazıt Tower for weather updates

The first fire pump in Istanbul was built in the 18th century, but the most effective tool in the fight against the city’s devastating blazes was the Beyazıt Fire Tower, constructed in 1828. The tower is no longer used for fire watching, but residents can turn to it to learn the next day’s weather thanks to a forecast system using colored lights

Bringing back a system that was last employed during the 1960s and 1970s, residents of Istanbul can now look to the tower, which is located on Istanbul University’s campus in Fatih, to learn the next day’s weather: red, means snow; yellow means fog; blue means clear skies; and green means rain.

For the forecast, the first letter in the name of the color in Turkish corresponds to the fırst letter of the expected weather pattern; as such kırmızı (red) = kar (snow); sarı (yellow) = sis (fog); yeşil (green) = yağmur (rain); and mavi (blue) = an obscure Ottoman word meaning clear skies.

Beyazıt Fire Tower has a special place among the dozens of symbols that represent Istanbul; for centuries it served as an observation post for firefighters under the Ottomans and into the modern era. With the city’s growth and advancing technology, firefighter eventually left the tower, allowing it to serve its meteorological function, which continued until 1995. The tower was then restored starting in 1997.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Istanbul residents keep watch on Beyazıt Tower for weather updates

Saudi Contemporary Art in Istanbul

"The Edge of Arabia Istanbul: Transition"  is the latest international exhibition by Saudi Arabian artists. It has been among the contributions to Istanbul’s year as European Capital of Culture 2010. The organizers of Edge of Arabia Istanbulwere perceptive in recognizing that this year, Istanbul has been the right place to be. The Islamic city has a thriving vitality that makes it a real European culture capital and it has been an apt setting for exhibiting the work of Saudi Arabia’s barrier-pushing, individualistic artists.
The Transition in the Edge of Arabia exhibition title reflects the complex effects of change that permeate the works of these Saudi artists. Istanbul’s Sanat Limani contemporary art center stands on the shore on the very edge of Europe, facing Asia across the Bosphorus, one of the most celebrated seaways of transition in the Mediterranean. The late Ottoman Dolmabahce Mosque beside the Sanat Limani marks another transition in its contrast to the functionalist and the logo of Edge of Arabia at the Saudi exhibition entrance. It is a well-chosen setting for showing the efflorescence of Saudi Arabia’s contemporary art scene.
The Edge of Arabia organizers divided the exhibition into five themed rooms, “Century of the Self”, “Solitary Prayer”, “The Rise of Video Art”, “Consumer Kingdom” and “Message to the Messengers”. Within these loosely conceived framing concepts, the striking individualism of the work of each artist shines through in an exhibition of diversity.
Islam and the written Arabic word inevitably permeate much of these Saudi artists’ work, both explicitly and implicitly. There is also a strong element of social comment and a persistent, thoughtful and pervasive sense of anxiety about Arabia now and in the future, especially with respect to the environment.
Read more on Arabnews.comSaudi contemporary art in Istanbul

Turkey becomes hub for world-leading companies

Turkey has become a prominent global and regional hub for many international companies in managing, production and distribution, mainly due to the geographical advantages it offers, according to data gathered by Anatolia news agency.

Companies that manage operations in tens of countries from headquarters in Istanbul also employ many top level Turkish senior executives, the data showed.

Turkey provides economic access to a large region when its surrounding countries are also taken into consideration, International Investors Association, or YASED, Chairman Piraye Antika recently told Anatolia news agency.

“I believe this is partly affected by Turkey’s logistic location, partly by its more rapidly ameliorating investment environment than its neighbors and partly by its relatively sounder political stability,” she said, adding that many international companies directed their operations in surrounding countries from their Istanbul headquarters.

“But the major determinant here is geographical location and the logistic advantages supporting it. Air traffic is of the utmost importance here. I think we should not underestimate the power of our country’s high-quality labor force,” she said, adding that Turkey’s white-collar labor force was an experienced, qualified, flexible and hardworking.

She also said Istanbul was capable of adapting to the cultures of the surrounding Balkan, Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries, adding that it had established good communications with such cultures.

Turkey also has good managerial skills, Antika added.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Turkey becomes hub for world-leading companies

Sabancı University, MIT sign partnership deal

The prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, and Istanbul-based Sabancı University’s school of management signed an academic partnership agreement Friday.

For Sabancı University, the opportunities of forming such ties with international universities are important to facilitate growth in the educational sector, said Nakiye Boyacigiller, dean of the university’s school of management. ”We can really become a regional center for management and higher education, which is important for Istanbul in its aims of becoming an educational hub of the highest caliber,” she told the Daily News.

The international partnership between the business schools will create an educational exchange program, allowing 50 Executive MBA students from Sabancı to spend several weeks at MIT every year.

Read More on Hürriyet Daily News: Sabancı University, MIT sign partnership deal

Turkish, Argentine firms meet in Istanbul

35 companies from Argentina and 140 companies from Turkey, are holding talks in Istanbul on Thursday.

Argentine President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner met members of Turkey's leading business organization in Istanbul on Friday.

Argentina wants to set up a trade office in Istanbul, said the country's President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, in her address to the Turkey-Argentina Business Council on Friday.

She said this would enable Turkish and Argentine businessmen to get to know the business opportunities in the two countries.

Read More on WorldBulletin.Net:
                          Argentine President meets Turkish businesspeople
                          Turkish, Argentine firms meet in Istanbul

January 10, 2011

Harem Dining Lures Modern Ottomans to Istanbul's Tugra

<<Ottoman Empire chef Ugur Alparslan spends more time in the library than he does in the kitchen.
“These are the lost recipes,” Alparslan says as the sun sets over the Golden Horn and the tables at his Tugra restaurant in the Ciragan Palace Kempinski hotel on Istanbul’s shore begin to fill with 21st-century merchants seeking the missing tastes and aromas of imperial Ottoman Constantinople.
For the 49-year-old Alparslan, his ancient menu is as real today as the many portraits of Sultan Mehmed II, who in 1453 conquered Byzantium. The House of Osman, or Ottoman Dynasty, shaped the city on the Bosphorus into the first headquarters for what would become the luxury-goods industry.>>

January 09, 2011

Unusual photos of Istanbul at Gama Art Gallery

<<Details of Istanbul are revealed in a new photographic exhibition at Gama Art Gallery with graphic design-oriented images portraying the urban identity of the city by focusing on the smaller aspects of the landscape’s buildings and other forgotten details of the city.

Hakan Kürklü’s new exhibition “Wall Paper” opened in July and combines his longtime profession of graphic design with photography to expose what he calls the “junk:shot.”

“I took photos of torn papers lining the walls of Istanbul,” he said. “I believe there are beautiful graphic-design shots hidden behind them.”>>

Read More on: Unusual photos of Istanbul at Gama Art Gallery

Istanbul as Seen by Travelers, Neighborhood by Neighborhood

<<(Burçak) Evren’s book features the writings of more than 30 travelers, including Alphonse de Lamartine, Baroness Durand De Fontmagne, Evliya Çelebi, Gerard De Nerval, Knut Hamsun, Julia Pardoe, Pierre Loti and Sermet Muhtar Alus. The neighborhoods are listed in alphabetical order. The book starts off with Adalar (the islands) and continues on with Ahırkapı, Anadoluhisarı and so on. The last neighborhoods mentioned are Yeniköy and Yeşilköy.

Aubry de la Mortraye, 1732
In Galata and Beyoğlu, just like in the European neighborhood in İzmir, the Europeans live by their own customs without any hindrance. Beyoğlu, that houses the palaces of the British, French, Flemish and Venetian envoys, could be called the “European neighborhood.” That’s because most of the Europeans own residences here and are free to lead the life they like. On Mardi Gras, they play masquerade, sing and drink. In short, they are free to enjoy any and all sorts of indulgence and entertainment as long as they do not infringe on the Turkish religion, the Turkish state or Turkish women.

Sermet Muhtar Alus, 1939
Balat is the most distinctive and characteristic Jewish neighborhood in İstanbul. It used to be called Balat Gate because it used to have a gate on the city walls right by the seaside. … The current state of Balat is very well off compared to its former times. On Saturdays, Balat is filled with gentlefold: old men with beards reaching down to their bellies and fur coats on their backs and Jewish women with needle lace headscarves wrapped around their heads and velvet coats with furs on their backs.>>

Read More on Sunday's Zaman: Istanbul as Seen by Travelers, Neighborhood by Neighborhood

January 07, 2011

Istanbul surpasses New York in cultural life, NYC transplant says

<<Former opera singer and fashion designer, Alexandra Ivanoff definitely knows a thing or two about the thriving music scene in Istanbul.

As a music critic for five publications including Time Out Istanbul and a singing teacher to Turkish and French students, Ivanoff undoubtedly has a jam-packed schedule training the next generation of singers and discovering the city's musical hotspots. Yet, Ivanoff described her life in Istanbul as “a continual adventure” and said that the only thing that she missed about her former home, New York, was its “special brand of humor.”

As a music critic, Ivanoff spends time both promoting and reviewing cutting-edge concerts and shows. She puts down Istanbul's unique charm to the fact that it lies at the crossroads of many different cultures and their respective influences.

“Istanbul is the place where everything crosses over, you find fusions of things that are uniquely born here because of what Istanbul is: a crossroads,” she said.>>

Read More on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul surpasses New York in cultural life, NYC transplant says

Celtic tradition to be celebrated in Istanbul with Eclipse Ensemble

<<A feast of Irish jigs, English folk songs, Celtic legends and Baroque sounds is coming to İstanbul from the heart of England next week for an extraordinary musical experience.

Made up of Joy Smith on Celtic harp and Layil Barr on recorder-viyol, with Bjarte Eike on violin as guest, this international ensemble performs with rarely heard and seen instruments, creating a fusion between the worlds of early and contemporary music and dance. They will be performing on Jan. 13 at the Akbank Art Center as a part of its annual series, Baroque Music Days.

Playing the music of a wide span of time mainly from the medieval period through to the 18th century, the group brings the music of old into today’s world. “We are always fascinated by the power of ancient music that originates from many centuries ago but still is able to move us in 2011,” says Barr. “Our approach is to create our own personal voice rather than reconstruct the historical sounds. We enjoy learning about the history and background and reading the old academic sources, but our final musical decisions are made by what moves us at a certain moment in time.”

This is not the first time the group is playing in Turkey. “This is Eclipse’s fourth visit to Turkey and our third time in İstanbul,” says Barr. “It is one of our favorite cities in the world, and we are always very excited to come back. We love the beautiful fusion of the East and the West and the warm hospitality of the Turkish people. In our last visit we got to see the blossom of the purple flower. Our favorite street is in Tunel with all the music shops. We have to buy a darbuka for our percussionist on this trip. We have never visited İstanbul in during the winter.”

Read More on Today's Zaman: Celtic tradition to be celebrated in Istanbul

Turkish fans gather to celebrate Elvis' birthday in Istanbul

<< Turkish aficionados of 1950s rock are preparing to celebrate Friday the 76th birthday of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, at the Olimpia Event Hall in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district.
The commemorational night is thanks to the initiative of the “Elvis is in Istanbul Now” fan group, an association of Presley’s fans in Turkey headed by Kemal Öznoyan.
“People are attending our events just like Elvis is alive and they will see him on the stage,” Öznoyan recently told Anatolian news agency. The event at the hall will feature Turkish Elvis impersonators, as well as concert videos of the legendary musician. A dance contest will also be held and participants will receive Elvis albums and posters.
Öznoyan said his group had been responsible for bringing together a number of Elvis fans in Turkey for various events.

“People from various areas come together because of their love for the artist. This impressed me a lot and I received the necessary permissions from the Elvis Presley Companies Group, headed by his daughter Lisa Marie Presley, to form a fan group in Turkey,” he said.>>

Read More on Hurriyet Daily News: Turkish fans gather to celebrate Elvis' birthday in Istanbul

Greek Orthodox Christians take a dive to celebrate Epiphany in İstanbul

<<Members of the Greek Orthodox community in İstanbul as well as pilgrims from Greece yesterday braved cold waters to retrieve a wooden cross thrown into the sea by Metropolitan Athanasios Papas as part of the Feast of the Epiphany.

Five young Christian men plunged into the sea near Yeşilköy to retrieve the cross thrown by Metropolitan Konstantin after prayers. Erkan Bedro became the champion the fourth time in a row after retrieving the cross. Retrieving the cross from the water is an old tradition in the Greek Orthodox Church and is thought to be good luck.>>

Read More on Today's Zaman: Christians take a dive to celebrate Epiphany in Istanbul

January 05, 2011

The 10 best cities for business meetings - and-blowing off steam

Views of the Bosphorus from the infinity pool of Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul – a hotel built in 1719 originally as an imperial palace – clinched Ms. Fickes’s view of Istanbul as a “stupendous” place for meetings. Her group visited the Blue Mosque; the Basilica Cistern, a subterranean waterworks; and shopped the famous Grand Bazaar (grandbazaaristanbul.org).

TRIP TIP: Build ample free time into events abroad. Too often, participants flown to an exotic destination can’t enjoy it because “organizers feel pushed to use every second for an event,” says Mr. Jones.>>

Read More on The Globe and Mail: The 10 best cities for business meetings - and-blowing off steam

January 04, 2011

Guidebook looking to provide definitive take on Istanbul

<<A comprehensive guide book on Istanbul by British editor Pat Yale and professional Turkish tour guide Saffet Emre Tonguç looks to provide a different take on the city from other resource books by focusing on locations less well-known by visitors. 'Istanbul: The Ultimate Guide,’ which has won international awards, is available in English and Turkish.

Seeking to move beyond a clichéd guide to Istanbul that starts and ends at the Haghia Sophia, the authors of a new book on the city hope to provide a comprehensive – and critical – look at the metropolis.

“The historical peninsula is very important but it is a very small part of Istanbul,” Saffet Emre Tonguç, who has been working as a professional tour guide for 23 years, recently told Anatolia news agency. “We present the city in a frame from Büyükçekmece, Silivri and Çatalca [on the European side] to Gebze, Darıca and Eskihisar [on the Anatolian side].”>>

January 02, 2011

Istanbul's oriental business district - The 19th Century Hans of Eminönü

<<As İstanbul's year as the European Capital of Culture comes to an end two small exhibitions have been highlighting the mark left on the city by 19th-century architects of Armenian and Greek extraction.
Among the Armenians, the prolific Balyan family stood head and shoulders above the crowd as the men responsible for the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi palaces, as well as other city landmarks such as the Beyazıt Fire Tower on the grounds of İstanbul University. None of the Greek architects is anything like as well known, although Konstantinos Kyriakidis masterminded buildings as various as the Fatih fire station and an apartment block on İstiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu whose gates were fashioned in the shape of giant bees.

For many people, 19th-century İstanbul is typified by İstiklal Caddesi, once the Grand Rue de Pera and the heart of the European part of town. In reality, there were several parts of the city that were marked by the 1800s, including the busy port area of Karaköy and some of the Bosporus suburbs. One of the most interesting to explore is Eminönü, a bustling maze of seemingly workaday streets that rambles inland from the ferry landing stages and turns out to be filled with fine buildings erected in the last years of Ottoman supremacy as the sultans struggled to Westernize the city and keep their empire afloat.

If Beyoğlu was the city's European business center, Eminönü was its oriental counterpart, and its narrow, overcrowded streets are lined with what were still called “hans,” 19th-century office blocks that had evolved from the original hans, the urban equivalents of rural caravanserais where traveling salesmen could find accommodation as they moved from place to place. Those older hans were usually two-storied, brick-built structures centered on a courtyard, sometimes with a small mosque in the center, where animals would have been stabled downstairs while their owners slept above them. There are still plenty of these old hans left in the city, many of them still in use today.>>

Read More on Sunday's Zaman: Istanbul's oriental business district - The 19th Century Hans of Eminönü

Istanbul through the eyes of the past: Travelers tell about ‘dream’ city

<<Istanbul, a point of attraction for thousands of travelers both before and after the Ottoman conquest, is depicted through the eyes of dozens of Muslim and non-Muslim travelers in a newly published book, sponsored by the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO).

The book, titled “Şehristan-Seyyahların Hayal Şehri İstanbul” (Dream City of Travelers - İstanbul), by historian and writer Şafak Tunç, presents what travelers noted down about the cultural and social aspects of the famous city -- a point that lots of mainly political research on the Ottoman Empire has missed.>>

Read More on Sunday's Zaman: Istanbul through the eyes of the past: Travelers tell about ‘dream’ city

Istanbul to host international gastronomy festival

<<The ninth International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival will take place between Feb. 17 and 20, 2011, in Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district.

During the festival, Turkish cuisine will be introduced to other cuisine cultures...

More than 30 countries will attend the festival, which will take place at the TÜYAP Fair & Congress Center, the statement said. The festival will also host two seminars of the World Association of Chefs' Societies, or WACS, for the first time. Successful participants will be given a jury membership certificate by WACS.>>

Read More on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul to host international gastronomy festival

And the Winner Is…Istanbul

<<In early 2010, as our readers were no doubt whittling down their list of New Year’s resolutions, we asked them a question that is a bit more fun to contemplate: where do you want to travel this year?

The question, in a multimedia presentation, accompanied our 2010 Places to Go issue.
Now that we are putting the finishing touches on our 2011 list, voting is officially closed, and we can unveil the winner for 2010: Istanbul, by a landslide.

The readers who recommended Istanbul repeated some themes. Alan of New York, Peter of Istanbul and others mentioned the history. “What you see here today literally spans the centuries (and millenniums), in terms of the stones beneath your feet and cultures,” Peter wrote. Several other readers mentioned the people and the culture.>>
Read More on the New York Times: And the Winner Is…Istanbul

Istanbul thrives as the new party capital of Europe

The Golden Horn is booming as the world's most dynamic city transforms its skyline and artists and students help make it buzz
<<Istanbul's covered market, an early shrine to shopaholism, is about to celebrate its 550th anniversary with a multimillion-pound facelift. In fact, the entire city is in the throes of a multibillion-pound makeover, as what was once an outpost on the edge of Europe rebrands itself as a regional magnet.
The city is buzzing. Only a few years ago, when residents spoke of millennium domes it was not the O2 venue for the latest Lady Gaga concert they had in mind, but the thousand years separating the Church of Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque on the skyline of the city's historic peninsula. But now there are new skylines. At the European entrance to the Bosphorus bridge, work goes on through the night on the Zorlu Centre, a hotel-arts-shopping-residential-office complex. It is just down the road from the Sapphire skyscraper, which advertises itself as Istanbul's tallest building, and with a strong arm you could throw a stone at the new Trump Towers.
"Istanbul is a country, not a city," says its mayor, Kadir Topbas, and the explanation of its modern boom is buried in the history of the past 30 years.>>