February 28, 2011

Istanbul gets the diplomatic treatment in new book

'Konsoloslukların Penceresinden Istanbul' (Istanbul from the Windows of the Consulates), produced by Istanbul Kültür A.Ş., shares memories, observations and stories from 28 consuls general who have spent time in the metropolis. The hospitality of the residents of Istanbul is a theme that runs throughout the book, a bilingual, English-Turkish work

So many of them are closed to the general public; visas are granted or not granted in other buildings or through side doors and cultural activities take place elsewhere. The higher-level diplomats travel in chauffeur-driven sedans with tinted windows, walk the streets with bodyguards or limit their activities to secure locations. Or so we think.

Are all of these things true or just figments of our imagination? How do we know?

Well, now, thanks to Istanbul Kültür A.Ş., the public can have a glimpse into the way 28 consular officials think about Istanbul in a new publication, “Konsoloslukların Penceresinden Istanbul” (Istanbul from the Windows of the Consulates).

The book, complete with superb photos taken from the windows of each consulate and elsewhere in Istanbul, shares memories, observations and stories from the two to four years (and sometimes more) each of the 28 consuls general has spent in the city.


Former U.S. Consul General Sharon Anderholm Wiener wrote that when people asked her what had changed from the 1970s when she first came, she points to greater democracy, ties to the global economy and more traffic.

“But what has not changed is the warm hospitality of its people, the delicious flavor of its rich and varied cuisine, the richness of its history and – of course – the magic of Istanbul,” she said.

A new chapter to sightseeing

The first time I entered a library I saw a sign that was to make a big impression on me, and fuel my curiosity. It simply read: “Prepare to explore new worlds”. And the sign was right – soon I was travelling on my own magic carpet through fairytales from Persia, walked as slowly as I could with Hansel and Gretel to the candy, sugar and gingerbread house, went mining with the seven dwarves and then, later, explored the wilds of Africa with a bit of help from Wilbur Smith, embarked on high adventure with Hammond Innes and Desmond Bagley, spurred on my horse as Louis L’Amour took me through the Wild West, and encountered death and betrayal in Trevanian’s The Eiger Sanction.

Many years later as part of a Contiki tour – we all have to start somewhere – I found myself gazing in awe at the jagged, snow-covered Eiger Mountain in Switzerland. I longed to take a cablecar to the top, but the weather was terrible, as it was in the book. At least there was no one with a ice hammer waiting behind a rock…

Sure, there are many travel authors and they do a good job of it – Paul Theroux comes to mind, as does Charley Boorman and Michael Palin – but what has really helped me remember a city I’ve visited has not been re-reading the travel brochures, or a guide book purchased at a tourist venue, but rather works of fiction, especially crime, set in that specific city.

It’s something I’ve done subconsciously and it hit home only recently when, after a brief visit to Istanbul – two days – I found myself wanting to know more about this millennia-old city that had captured my heart and so entranced me. By chance, a reading through the online Guardian led me to click on a profile of British author Barbara Nadel, and then…

Not only was she something of an expert on Istanbul – spending six months a year, every year, for more than a decade in the city will do that – but she had also written detective novels set in that city, 12 of them (the 13th is on its way) featuring Inspector Cetin Ikmen. Next thing I was back in the library, holding on to a grubby copy of Ikmen’s debut, Belshazzar’s Daughter.

Read more on IOL: A new chapter to sightseeing

Expat group bringing music to Istanbul's streets

You might bump into them in Taksim or elsewhere in Beyoğlu. Recently they appeared in a street in Cihangir and gave a small concert to patrons sitting in a café.

Among the customers were several figures from the Turkish music world, such as Emel Müftüoğlu and Yaşar Gaga. Müftüoğlu even gave tips to the group, which calls itself Billie and the Beyoğlu Boys.

“We sometimes earn 5 Turkish Liras or sometimes 50. Money is not important for us, what counts is the music. Our goal is to keep street music alive in Istanbul,” group said. “We are comfortable in the street because everyone minds his own business. We are free to be in any place of our choice.”

The singer of the band, Beckley, is 21. Born to a Danish mother and a British father, Beckley is in Istanbul for a year and has been studying cinema and television at Beykent University.

“I was curious about Turkey. I am not so happy with the school, but I love Istanbul very much. It’s worth being here. If I leave this city someday, I definitely want to come back,” she said.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Expat group bringing music to Istanbul's streets

Chefs Compete at the 9th International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival

Around 600 chefs around the world gathered in Istanbul for the 9th International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival, which is organized by the All Cooks Federation (TAF), held at the TÜYAP Fair and Congress Center 17-20 February 2011.

Everything from the taste of the dishes, the flavors mixed, the food presentation and the hygiene of the cooking counter were all significant criteria while evaluating the competitors.

President of TAF; Yalçın Manav said their festival, which is accepted into the World Association of Chefs Society (WACS) in 2008, now become even more reputable and prestigious than ever before.

Hosting more than 300 international chefs evaluating and guiding students in 20 kitchens with their improved techniques, the gastronomy festival was a great opportunity for people who wanted to catch up with the new trends, kitchen gadgets and cook books from the culinary world.

Read more on Focus on Travel News: Chefs Compete at the 9th International Istanbul Gastronomy Festival

Life of Ottoman fire brigades displayed at Rezan Has Museum

Istanbul’s Rezan Has Museum at Kadir Has University has welcomed a new exhibition. “Like Moths to the Flame: The Ottoman Fire Brigades” reveals how those hell-raisers of the late Ottoman Empire, both military-civilian firefighters and neighborhood symbols of courage, honor, and decency, evolved into today’s modern fire departments.

The museum’s event manager, Zeynep Çulha, said efforts began in 2005 to collect and document machines, tools, documents and photos used at the Cibali Tobacco and Cigarette Warehouse and in 2008 the collected pieces were loaned to the Rezan Has Museum after being registered in the inventory of the Islamic Sciences & Technology History Museum.

“With the project, we intend to reveal the street culture of Istanbul, showing the social cultural structure and state policy of the period as well as the unique relations and manners of fire brigades,” Çulha said.

The restoration and inventory of the objects took nearly five years. “After a five-year comprehensive effort, we have prepared a selection of these objects and created this unique exhibition.”

Çulha mentioned the contributions of many organizations like the Brigade Museum, Istanbul Research Institute, Atatürk Library and Istanbul University’s unique artifacts collection. “Visitors will travel in time while seeing these documents, objects and photos belonging to these colorful persons,” she said.

A unique culture and lifestyle

Although the use of water pumps to fight fires began in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe, mainly Hungary and France, it was first used in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 18th century by Gerçek Davud (originally David), an engineer of French origin living in Istanbul.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Life of Ottoman fire brigades displayed at Rezan Has Museum

All Around Istanbul

Neighborhood by neighborhood in the new international center of style.

Every night the muezzins' call to prayer mixes with the throbbing hip-hop of thronged nightclubs. Women in hijabs share sidewalks with others in spaghetti straps. Storied palace hotels compete with design-forward upstarts. Istanbul is not just where East meets West; it's where the past has always met whatever's coming next. The city's heritage is as layered as baklava--Roman beneath Byzantine beneath Ottoman. Its present is an arms-wide embrace of the 21st century, with a confidence borne aloft by the second-fastest-growing economy in the G20. Here's where to find the best Istanbul has to offer.

Read more on Forbes: All Around Istanbul

Reviving Carnival in Istanbul

Even in Istanbul, a city touted as a cultural mosaic, the sight of a few hundred costumed revelers parading through the streets in a pre-Lenten bash will certainly attract some attention.

“This is the only public Carnival in the Muslim world,” said the historian Haris Rigas, one of the organizers of Bakla Horani, which takes place on March 7.

For centuries, the local Greek communities throughout Istanbul celebrated pre-Lent Carnival with weeks of bawdy parades, lavish balls and street parties. Though led by the Greek Orthodox community, the celebrations were public and inter-communal, according to Mr. Rigas. Bakla Horani, the last day of Carnival season before Lent, brought everyone together for one final celebration in the Kurtulus district. The name of the event — which literally translates as “I eat beans” — is a reference to Lenten dietary restrictions and informs the traditional menu of the night: beans and other cold meze.

Until last year, Bakla Horani only lived in the memory of elderly city residents. The last public celebration in Istanbul was held in 1941. This tradition, it seems, was one of the cultural casualties of the near total destruction of the Greek community of Istanbul. Today, approximately 3,000 remain, down from 120,000 in 1923.

But this season, the organizing body, the Foundation of St. Dimitri Church in Kurtulus, is buttressed by a group of energetic, young Istanbul residents — both Greek and Turkish — who will be masked and dancing in the streets for Bakla Horani if not to prepare for Lent then to celebrate one part of this city’s diverse cultural heritage that was almost lost.

Read more on the New York Times: Reviving Carnival in Istanbul

Whirling Dervishes perform in honor of Nobel Prize laureate’s İstanbul visit

Wednesday night (25.02.2011) saw a performance by the Whirling Dervishes at the recently reopened Yenikapı Mevlevihanesi (Dervish Lodge) in İstanbul’s Mevlânakapı neighborhood to honor the visit of Martti Ahtisaari, the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president of Finland, in Istanbul.

Introducing the old Sufi tradition of the Whirling Dervishes ceremony, known as Mevlevi Sema, Karlığa explained that the performance, which he described as “a metaphysical elevation dance,” goes back to the founder of the Mevlevi order, Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi. The ritual, he said, carried a “message of peace from eight centuries ago” and “continued to attract the souls of people from different races and religions” until the present day.

Directing his attention to the guest of honor that evening, Karlığa said he hoped the ritual would inspire the former Finnish president, who in 2008 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his longstanding efforts to resolve international conflict, to continue to convey his own message of peace on a global stage. Karlığa concluded his remarks by stressing that “in today’s world such a message of peace is needed more than ever.”

Read more on Today's Zaman: Whirling Dervishes perform in honor of Nobel Prize laureate’s İstanbul visit

Istanbul: Minarets and Martinis

Istanbul straddles Europe and Asia, has a population of 13m and manages to be both lavishly ancient and vibrantly modern. But how do you pin down such a restless, dynamic city?

In the lobby of the cinema in Istanbul's Nisantasi district, salon-tanned kids stretch out on sofas overlooking the lights of the city, before a blue-lit cocktail bar. It takes me a while to realise that these glamorous teenagers aren't here to see Public Enemies or Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; they've come to the cinema lobby just to make the scene.

I'd heard for years that Istanbul, which was one of the European Capitals of Culture for 2010, calls itself "Europe's coolest city". It's certainly one of the most complex – the centre of a country that is 98% Islamic yet increasingly famous for its watermelon martinis. Here is a place whose Blue Mosque has an LCD screen flashing the time in Paris and Tokyo. Turkey's most cosmopolitan metropolis has more billionaires than any city other than New York, Moscow and London, and when I went to its Istinye Park mall, it was to see Aston Martin DB9s and Bentleys jammed outside a gilded avenue of fortresses labelled "Armani", "Gucci", "Vuitton" and "Dior". To my friends in business, and to many proud Istanbulians, this city is where the Islamic world meets the global order, serving as a bridge – literal and metaphorical – between Europe and the outer edges of Asia. But still nothing had prepared me for the flash and glitter of it all.

We foreigners like to recall that Istanbul is the only city on earth with one shore in Asia and one in Europe. But its real heart, according to its eloquent son, Orhan Pamuk, in his evocative memoir Istanbul: Memories of a City, lies rather in the division between the old (which is usually the local and the Islamic) and the new (generally the western and the secular).

What really excited me about the place, I came to realise, was simply the sense of ceaseless movement, the way the energies of an Asian metropolis pulsed through largely European streets, so that the whole place seemed, intoxicatingly, a work in perpetual progress. And nowhere was the habit of making hard-and-fast distinctions dissolve more apparent than on the water.

So I stepped on to a ferry in Eminönü, in Europe, and went across to Üsküdar, in Asia. On arrival, I passed through the turnstiles, turned around and bought another token for a ferry passing through the Golden Horn, back to Europe. The sun was starting to set, and the late-afternoon light turned every face to gold. Lovers were courting on the white wooden benches, waiters jounced past us carrying trays holding glasses of orange juice and apple tea. I watched secretaries in high heels teeter home through the sharpened dusk and giggling schoolgirls trying out their French on captive tourists on the boat. From every bridge we passed, men had thrown down fishing lines, which I'd never seen from the ferries of Hong Kong or New York.

To one side of us, the Bosphorus Bridge was turning red and blue and yellow again; to the other, the minarets and mosques of Sultanahmet looked more unearthly than ever, illuminated against a blue-black sky. As soon as you begin to know a place, I thought, all talk of "old" and "new" or "east" and "west" becomes redundant. Just the movements inside it, the way it comes closer and then slips away: that's all the excitement you need.

Read more on the Guardian: Istanbul: Minarets and Martinis

February 18, 2011


Built in the middle of the 19th century and set on the beautiful shores of the Bosporus, the Dolmabahce Palace shines out in its old splendor, the third sultan’s palace of Istanbul.

Its royal buildings are considered to be the most beautiful examples of Osmanic architecture. The Turkish architect, Garabet Amira Balyan and his son, Nigoğayos, were encouraged to indulge themselves both financially and creatively in the design of this impressive and opulent palace.

As with its exterior, the beauty and splendor of the internal rooms is simply overwhelming, and its magnificent sunlit stairways were influenced by the design of the Paris Opera House.

The entire palace is like a magnificent museum. Various works of art, paintings and other valuable gifts from various diplomats and visiting royal families are on display throughout.

Whenever a gentle breeze travels across the Bosporus and makes the flowers and blossoms move like dancers, it is easy to understand why the last great sultans chose this place as their home.

Read more on Share Beauty: DOLMABAHCE PALACE Istanbul, Turkey

The Bazaar Bag: Just Tote It

One of the pleasures of living in Istanbul is to settle into a rhythm of shopping in the city’s various weekly produce bazaars. At our local bazaar, we watch the seasons change according to the produce sold from little stands that crowd the side-streets. It is a riot of color and smell that’s accompanied by the bark and banter particular to Turkish transactions.

While these weekly markets present us with an excuse to venture out into parts of town we’d usually never visit, within minutes of any shopping excursion our fingers begin to ache as we collect plastic bags filled with produce.

Not anymore.

Together with artist Olga Alexopoulou, we have designed a roomy, stylish bazaar bag to take to the markets. The image, inspired by a day at the Tarlabasi bazaar in Beyoglu, also conveniently lists the different neighborhood markets around Istanbul and the days on which they are held. It is printed on 100% cotton, heavy-duty canvas that was recently field-tested comfortably with more than 12 kg of vegetables.

So say goodbye to all that plastic and bring a Bazaar Bag next time you head out to the market.

Read more on Istanbul Eats: The Bazaar Bag: Just Tote It

TRAVEL: Istanbul the next gay hotspot

Istanbul. The only city where you can breakfast in Asia, take a taxi and lunch in Europe. A metropolis of 13 million souls – where modernity sits alongside the ancient.

Ever since I learnt about Constantinople I’ve been fascinated by this city – at different times the capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Now I’ve visited I’ll be back and I’m willing to predict that this will be the next big gay destination.

We stayed at the A’Jia – a traditional Ottoman Mansion which has been converted into a luxury boutique hotel perched on the shores of the Bosphorus. The mix of 1800s architectural elegance blends beautifully with contemporary style. The A’jia is tucked away in a quiet residential district on Asian side of the Bosphorus. Take breakfast on the terrace Turkish style and it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. It comes like a tray of bowl food; 13 separate dishes of olives, sausage, cheeses, jams and honeycomb. As you marvel at the feast in front of you it won’t be long before your distracted by an enormous container ship slipping through the waters on its way to the Black Sea. After breakfast take the hotel’s own water taxi – which is more like a speed boat – along the waterway into the historic old town of Istanbul – Sultanahmet.

Read more on Pink Magazine: TRAVEL: Istanbul the next gay hotspot

World's biggest sunken ship museum to establish in Turkey

Theodosius Harbor, an ancient harbor which has been surfaced during the excavation of the Istanbul Metro building, will be turned into the biggest sunken ship museum in the world.

According the Protection of Underwater Cultural Department of Istanbul University and Istanbul archeological Museum scientists, they reached 36 sunken ship wreckages during the excavation in the Theodosius Harbor which had been built in Byzantium Era in the 4.th century.

Dr. Ufuk Kocabas, President of Istanbul University's Yenikapi Shipwrecks Association Project, said the sunken ship which has astonished the western scientist, would be the world's biggest sunken ship museum in the world. Kocabas noted also they reached the biggest ship collection of Byzantium era.

"In the Yenikapı district, where the excavations are being held, we have reached the wreckages of the 36 sunken ships. We also surfaced 35.000 historical artifacts during the excavations. World's largest archaeological excavations continue in Istanbul since 6 years," said Kocabas.

"Theodosius Harbor was the world trade center in the 4th century. After the establishing of the Constantinople, There had been started biggest development projects in the city. After rising of population trade had developed in a rapid speed. Also the harbors become the center of the wheat center for the ship, which were carrying the wheat from the Egypt. Wheat was the biggest trade material 2000 years ago. During the excavation, we reached also 6 galleys, which are belong the another countries' navy in the history," Kocabas noted.

In the ongoing project, the scientist also draw 3D picture of the ship to understand the real structure of the ships.

Read more on World Bulletin: World's biggest sunken ship museum to establish in Turkey

Young artist sets the unconscious free in new show

The newest collection of works by young artist Medine İrak, who has been exploring the theme of flight in her works, is currently on display at the Kare Art Gallery in İstanbul.

“Gizli Söz” (Secret Word), which will run until Feb. 28 at the gallery located in Nişantaşı, features four paintings of kites and 12 other pieces devoted to a combination of various symbols that the artist “has dug out from her unconscious.”

In an interview with Today’s Zaman, the Kars-born artist explains that her latest collection, which she produced over the past eight months, was a direct outcome of her interest in letters and writing. “I have always been charmed by writing. Calligraphic works and hieroglyphics were always appealing to me. While I was painting the kites in this show, I began to add some symbols to the canvases, and eventually many other symbols emerged in my mind during the short, semi-conscious period of time just before sleeping,” she explained.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Young artist sets the unconscious free in new show

Historic film for Armenians, Kurds making Istanbul debut

The first Armenian and Kurdish film in cinematic history, “Zare,” will play at Turkey’s most prestigious independent film festival this weekend in Istanbul.

Directed by legendary Armenian director Hamo Beknazarian, “Zare” was produce on 35mm black-and-white film in 1926 and is set in an Armenian Yezidi village. Although the director is Armenian and the country is Armenia, the film was financially sponsored by members of the Kurdish community.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Historic film for Armenians, Kurds making Istanbul debut

February 17, 2011

New Wave of Jazz Musicians Seeks Niche in Istanbul

Jazz is a fluid genre, and the jazz scene in Istanbul is fluid, too, with new venues offering a fresh generation of Turkish players a chance to perform original compositions, even as more established artists wonder where the audience has gone.

The saxophonist Yahya Dai was leading his combo on a recent Sunday afternoon at Tamirane, a former water-purification warehouse remodeled into an industrial-décor cafe space on Bilgi University’s Santral Campus. The Sunday afternoon jazz brunch draws an artsy crowd of customers who snack on pizzas, beer and 20-lira, or $12.60, cocktails with names like Orange Blossom.

“You might think that the jazz scene in Istanbul is growing, in terms of there being more clubs, but the audience is not really keeping pace,” said Mr. Dai, who taught himself to play sax when he was 17 years old. “It was 1981, and I heard a song on the radio and said, “Oh hell — what is that? It was Grover Washington Jr. playing ‘Winelight.’ I’ll never forget it.”

Mr. Dai is no doubt inspiring young Turks to pick up his instrument.

“Young people are getting more and more curious about jazz,” he said, “but there are so many young musicians now, and not that many places for all of them to play. I came from Ankara years ago, and you could play at the same club three times a week. Now it’s once a month.”

Read more on the New York Times: New Wave of Jazz Musicians Seeks Niche in Istanbul

An artistic look at ‘the ego’ at C.A.M. Gallery exhibit

It is a cliché that artists are people with over-inflated egos and that they do not prefer to interact with the society that they live in. Yet, this stereotype of an artist is quite superficial, as well as being not specific to artists.

In this respect, six artists are questioning the notion of the “ego” in their group exhibition “Ego Kırılmaları 4” (Ego Busters) at İstanbul’s C.A.M. Gallery in Nişantaşı.

Artists Ece Akay, Orhan Alptürk, Peter Hristoff, Matt Lifson, Burcu Yağcıoğlu and Erdoğan Zümrütoğlu have brought together their works, which question different aspects of the notion and which come from various disciplines of art, such as painting, photography, sculpture and installation, to the exhibition, now in its fourth year.

“We put on a couple of exhibitions of this kind at our gallery every year, which question concepts related to the human being,” Sevil Binat, the gallery’s owner, told Today’s Zaman. “We bring together artists from different disciplines and who work on related issues. Ego is a very vital part of us; on one hand we try to suppress it because it’s total peace and maturity when we get rid of it, while on the other hand we can’t help nurturing it incessantly. I wanted to delve into this question and saw that artists were very eager about the idea as well. Plus, it had been impossible to sum it up in one exhibition so we do this exhibition with different artists every year.”

Read more on Today's Zaman: An artistic look at ‘the ego’ at C.A.M. Gallery exhibit

High-rise living with a twist - Inspired by Istanbul

An eye-catching spiral skyscraper with a garden on every level is being planned for Abu Dhabi.

The so-called Stairscraper was one of the winners of the Total Housing Competition run by New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture, a non-profit organization which promotes innovative architecture, and Architizer, an online platform for architects.

Ferlito, 37, said the concept for the Stairscraper came to them while looking at a spiral staircase in Istanbul and trying to imagine it as a building.

"We were in Istanbul for the opening night of a building we recently built and while we were speaking we've been astonished by a spiral stair hanging from a building in front of us," said Ferlito. "We started joking about the form, playing and imagining the possibilities of transforming it into a building."

Marc Kurshner, co-founder of Architizer, said: "We were really beguiled by the project. Nabito have a great sense of humor and lightness of touch which is all too infrequent in smart architecture.

"The Stairscraper deals with real life issues and takes them to their extreme."

Read more on CNN: High-rise living with a twist

Restoration works complete at the Hagia Sophia

This major restoration project began back in 1993, a few years after the Hagia Sophia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the rest of the historic centre of Istanbul. It wasn't until last year, when the city was designated European Cultural Capital 2010, that the works were hurried along and finally finished, after nearly 20 years.

It was Ataturk, founder of the modern Republic of Turkey and the country's first president, who decided that this beautiful monument should be neither mosque nor church, but a museum open to the general public. The main focus of the restoration work was to restore the splendour of the building's immense sixth-century dome, an architectural wonder measuring 31.5 metres in diameter whose innovative design is largely responsible for the mystical quality of light for which the Hagia Sophia is famous. To clean and restore the golden mosaics that cover the dome, the craftsmen had to work on scaffolding at heights of up to 55 metres.

Besides the new dome, the basilica also debuts the opening of the baptistery atrium which was previously closed to tourists. Soon it will be possible to visit the baptistery itself, which houses a sixth-century baptismal font carved from a single block of marble. The baptistery, which is outside the Byzantine church, was used as a mausoleum for Ottoman sultans because Sultan Mustafa I and Sultan Ibrahim were not considered worthy of a separate mausoleum as they had been ousted from the throne. 

Inside the monument, a total of 600 square metres of mosaics have been restored, together with Islamic calligraphy that decorates the walls and medallions; in addition, the mosaic of the face of one of the winged seraphim of the four main dome supports has also been uncovered. Outside, the facades have been cleaned and the roofs of the domes have been reinforced with 50 tons of lead.

The current building dates from the reign of the Emperor Justinian, who decided to build a third church which would be both more splendid and more robust than its two predecessors. To this end, he had the finest of materials brought from the far reaches of the Byzantine Empire: green marble from Thessaly, porphyry from Egypt, black rock from the Bosphorus and even the columns of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The current Hagia Sophia was inaugurated at Christmastide in 537. Since then it has stood its ground despite earthquakes, fires and ravages during the Crusades, all of which badly damaged the building structure. In 1453 it was converted into Mosque and in the nineteenth century Sultan Abdulmecit ordered important restoration work.

Read more on HelloMagazine: Restoration works complete at the Hagia Sophia

"Tweet Your Way to Turkey" Social Media Contest Starts February 21, 2011

OneTravel is giving away three grand prize trips to Istanbul during its "Tweet Your Way to Turkey" contest, which launches Monday, February 21st. Three lucky winners will be awarded the grand prize trip consisting of two roundtrip tickets to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines and a five day, four night stay at the new, 4-star Edition Hotel.

The "Tweet Your Way to Turkey" contest runs for three weeks from Monday, February 21st to Friday, March 11th. Each Friday, a winner will be selected for one of the three grand prize free trips to Istanbul.
To enter the contest, simply visit the OneTravel blog (http://blog.onetravel.com) and tweet for the chance to win:

1. Look for the Turkey-themed blog post daily, Monday through Thursday, on the OneTravel blog
2. Click the "Send me to Turkey!" icon inside the blog post to automatically tweet the phrase "I'm Tweeting my way to Turkey thanks to @OneTravel"
3. Voila, you're entered for that day
4. Each day one tweet will be selected as a finalist for that Friday's prize giveaway

A unique hash tag will be used every day so check the blog diligently and tweet daily for more chances to win!

Daily finalists and weekly Friday winners will be announced on the OneTravel Blog.

Entrants must be followers of OneTravel on Twitter to be eligible and are limited to one tweet per day. For details on contest rules and eligibility visit the "Tweet Your Way to Turkey" contest page.

Start tweeting your way to Turkey and good luck!

Read more on MarketWire: "Tweet Your Way to Turkey" Social Media Contest Starts February 21, 2011

February 16, 2011

Watercolour moments: Painting holidays

We say

There are few things more restful than an artistic break. Whether you're learning to capture a landscape in watercolours, seeing a new destination from behind a lens or getting tangled up on a willow-weaving course, allowing yourself time to focus on a new skill is an enormously liberating way of disengaging from the anxieties of daily life. You might even discover a new talent. Creative holidays compel you to consider your surroundings, rather than just pass through, and will help you engage with your location. Just don't forget your paintbrush.

They say

"Before the advent of photography, watercolour was used primarily for recording eye-witness accounts. Artists used watercolour because it was so versatile and portable." - Tate Britain

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." - Pablo Picasso

An urban photography safari
Gone are the days when photography holidays meant seeking out Athena poster images of palm-draped beaches or fluorescent cocktails backlit by a golden sunset. On Creative Escapes' five-day photography tours of Istanbul, you're not going to end up with hackneyed shots of the Blue Mosque or the Hagia Sophia. Instead, the company's ultra-contemporary trips focus on giving a thorough understanding of cameras and creative techniques by homing in on some of the city's coolest spots.

Read more on The Independent: Watercolour moments: Painting holidays

How to Spend 24 Hours in Istanbul

Istanbul is a tale of two cities. Straddling Europe and Asia and divided by the strait of Bosporus, the former capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires is the only metropolitan city that has its foot on two continents, with the old city sprawled over European territory and the modern, residential areas established on the Asian side. Considering its massive size, a timeframe of 24 hours can hardly do any of the city’s gems any justice at all, but it is sufficient to scratch the surface and instill a curiosity for more. It is an enchanting city, fusing the history of several cultures, languages, religions, and eras together and establishing itself as Turkey’s economic and cultural epicenter.

Formerly known as Constantinople, Istanbul is a city of contrasts, and not just in a geographical sense. Discover a synagogue, an orthodox church, and a mosque all erected in the same vicinity. Witness a man atop a horse, pulling a cart, and weaving in and out of traffic while a sea of luxury imported cars zoom by. Watch retired old men sitting and playing cards in quaint tea houses, while modern business women strut by in short skirts and suits, sipping their Starbucks coffee. Shop around in vast stylish, glass-fronted shopping malls or haggle at one of the old beautiful underground bazaars.

Have your camera on hand and be ready to shoot because everything will be picture-worthy.

1) Start your day with a traditional Turkish breakfast at one of the many waterfront cafes before introducing yourself to contemporary Turkey at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art a few steps away.

2) Stroll through the expansive Grand Bazaar and buy a wide array of spices, jewelry, hand-made crafts, carpets, and other trinkets.

4) Saunter through the quaint alleyways of historic Old Istanbul (Stamboul) and witness the restrained mystique of the East blended beautifully with the pronounced boldness of the West.

8 ) Whisk over to the other continent by ferry and admire the beautiful skyline along the Bosphorus.

10) Visit the stunning Ortaköy Mosque at night and watch the mosque come alive with a dazzling light show and serene evening prayers. For the best views of the mosque and the Bosphorus Bridge, make a trip to the Banyan Restaurant, an open-air rooftop restaurant that overlooks the Bosphorus strait.

11) Polish off the night with cocktails and other jet-setters on the rooftop terraces of Vogue or 360° Sky Lounge. Enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the city, dance to the latest electronic tunes, and mingle with the city’s glamorous denizens.

12) Head to the buzzing areas of Taksim or Beyoğlu, the nightlife hubs of Istanbul for late-night drinks and dancing. You may even be able to find venues that showcase the cultural Turkish dance of belly dancing, or göbek dans.

Read more on Venere Travel Blog: How to Spend 24 Hours in Istanbul

Thessaloniki mayor in Istanbul

Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris will travel to Istanbul on Wednesday where he will be received by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, while on Thursday he will inaugurate an exhibition by British painter and architect Doug Patterson.

The exhibition at the Patriarchate-affiliated Zografeion Lyceum, to run until March 8, will be inaugurated by Boutaris in his capacity as the Mount Athos Center chairman.

On display will be paintings of monastic communities, including Mount Athos and St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai.

Read more on Ana-Mpa.gr: Thessaloniki mayor in Istanbul

Historic structures near future bridge under restoration

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is opening to the private sector the historic structures in İstanbul’s village of Garipçe, which the third Bosporus Bridge is going to pass over. Garipçe Castle and the Garipçe Tower, both of which face the Bosporus, are to be rented out to local entrepreneurs to be used as “special facilities for cultural purposes.”

According to special conditions set down by the ministry in this case, the castle and tower must function as museums, exhibition halls, art ateliers, art galleries, libraries, archives, documentation centers, or folk culture, art culture research, education or practical application centers. Permission will be granted for museum stores and refreshment units such as cafeterias with these facilities.

The general model the ministry aims for in running these future facilities is based on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. That is, local entrepreneurs who manage these sites will have permission to run them for 49 years and will pay the state for use of the facilities.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Historic structures near future bridge under restoration

Turkey: Gay Travel in Istanbul

Istanbul with a population about 16 million is the capital of gay scene in Turkey. Just as Turkey is a mixture of east and west, Istanbul is a summary of all country.

Its cosmopolitan life leads to a very colorful gay life; you can encounter quite trendy gay clubs as well as astonishingly traditional and local ones near one another in this city.

The rich and the poor, the modern and the old-fashioned, the intellectual and the illiterate are all here in this city, sometimes inside one another. Queens, transvestites, modern gays, bisexuals, lesbians, rent-boys are all parts of this vivacious world. Since Istanbul itself is a very charming city with its historical, cultural and natural beauties, it won't be exaggeration to say: If you are gay, DON'T DIE BEFORE YOU SEE ISTANBUL!

Read more on Gayapolis: Turkey: Gay Travel in Istanbul

February 15, 2011

!f Istanbul celebrates decade of independent film

The !f Istanbul AFM International Independent Film Festival, Turkey’s premier festival dedicated to cutting-edge cinema, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

This year’s edition promises many award-winning films from around the world, a brand new partnership with the Sundance Institute and the chance to meet world-renowned directors. The festival will run from Thursday to Feb. 27 in Istanbul and from March 2 to 6 in Ankara.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: !f Istanbul celebrates decade of independent film

Edward Stourton explores the life and history of the Bosphorus, Istanbul.

BBC Radio 4 has a series of documentaries on the history of the Bosporus. Edward Stourton looks at that rich history and how the Bosporus works today.

Flowing through the heart of Istanbul, in Turkey, the Bosporus has been a flash point between cultures, religions and imperial powers for thousands of years; from the Roman and Byzantine Empires, to the clash between Islam and Christianity and the Cold War between the super powers of the East and West. The Bosporus has a rich and bloody history that’s inspired poets, writers and artists from around the world.

50,000 vessels make their way through the narrow straits every year – everything from small fishing boats to giant oil and gas tankers battles through the treacherous currents making it one of the busiest and most dangerous international waterways in the world.

Listen to part 1 of the documentary series on BBC: Edward Stourton explores the life and history of the Bosphorus, Istanbul.

February 14, 2011

Jackson Special Guest at Istanbul Fashion Week

Michael Jackson’s brother Jermaine Jackson was a special guest of famous fashion designer Atil Kutoglu during Istanbul Fashion Week.

Jackson met Atil Kutoglu couple of years ago during New York Fashion week. His muslim wife Halima was attending to this fashion show and they met Kutoglu there.

Jackson was one of the members of Jackson five in the 70’s and then became a consultant to his brother Micheal Jackson. He watched Atil Kutoglu’s 2012 Autumn/Winter collection at Santral Istanbul.

Read more on IstanbulView: Jackson Special Guest at Istanbul Fashion Week

Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend hits catwalk at Istanbul fashion week

Sport Illustrated swimsuit model Irina Shayk, hit the catwalk on her very first visit to Istanbul where she highlighted 2011 edition of the Istanbul fashion week, one of Turkey's most important fashion events of the year.

Shayk's modelling career has been meteoric since her discovery in 2004 when she won a beauty contest organised by fashion scout Guia Jikidze. Shayk is now an ambassador for the Intimissimi brand and the face of Lacoste and LaPerla. She has modelled for Armani Exchange and Guess and has graced the covers of GQ Spain and Elle Spain.

The event was held in Santralistanbul, an art complex created from an Ottoman-Era electric power plant. Shayk's presence here was part of a shock and awe campaign by Damat, a Turkish brand that focuses on men's casual and business wear.

Turkey historically is a major manufacturer and has the world's 4th largest textile industry.

Read more on e!tb: Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend hits catwalk at Istanbul fashion week

Berlin celebrates upcoming 30th Istanbul Film Festival

The 61st Berlin Film Festival, or Berlinale, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Istanbul International Film Festival on Friday in the German capital, saluting the increasing international success of Turkish films.

“Our festival is a developed one and proved its significance,” said Azize Tan, the Istanbul Film Festival director, adding that Turkish films had been very successful in recent years, indicating that a new generation was emerging.

“Turkish cinema is producing more films and is recognized around the world,” said Seyfi Teoman, the director of film “Bizim Büyük Çaresizliğimiz” (Our Grand Despair), which is competing for the Golden Bear at the Berlinale. Teoman also attended the celebration in Berlin at the Akademie der Künste, which is next to the historic Brandenburg Gate.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Berlin celebrates upcoming 30th Istanbul Film Festival

British writer-director Chris Morris to attend !f

British director, comedian and DJ Chris Morris will be in İstanbul later this month to present his acclaimed debut feature “Four Lions” as part of the upcoming !f İstanbul International Independent Film Festival, the fest’s organizers announced last week.

Morris’s “Four Lions,” a whip-smart satire about a group of British jihadis, will have a gala screening on Feb. 24 and a special screening on Feb. 26 that will be broadcast simultaneously to theaters in 25 cities across Turkey as well as to Ramallah (Palestine), Gymri (Armenia) and Morocco’s Tangiers as part of the festival’s ambitious digital outreach project, !f Live, the festival said in a written statement. The director will be on hand at both screenings to field questions from viewers in all locations.

Read more on Today's Zaman: British writer-director Chris Morris to attend !f

Azerbaijani film shown in Istanbul

Film 'Javad Khan' shot under the scenario of the People`s Poet of Azerbaijan Sabir Rustamkhanli shown in Eurasia Institute of the Istanbul University.

Before the demonstration, Rustamkhanli made a speech, describing the film a precious contribution to Azerbaijan`s national and spiritual values. He also stressed President Ilham Aliyev`s care and attention for making the “Javad Khan” film.

The presentation ceremony was attended by Azerbaijan`s Consul General in Istanbul Hasan Zeynalov, Azerbaijani compatriots and teaching staff of the Istanbul University.

Read more on News.Az: Azerbaijani film shown in Istanbul

Maritime world meets at Europort Istanbul

The 11th Exposhipping Europort Istanbul International Maritime Exhibition (Europort Istanbul) will bring together the international maritime sector in the Istanbul Expo Centre between 23 and 26 March.

Since 2002 Turkey has risen from the 23rd to 5th place in the shipbuilding industry worldwide, and to 7th place in mega yacht building. The number of shipyards has increased from 40 to 107. This number will rise to 175 with completion of ongoing investments.

In the maritime world, Istanbul occupies a central position. It is the centre of the Turkish shipbuilding industry and the link between Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, the Black Sea region and North Africa.

The 10th edition of this trade fair created a positive business environment, with 217 exhibitors representing 610 brands from 34 countries and 7,869 high quality visitors from 48 countries participating. Most of the international visitors came from the EU region with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and Greece in the Top 5, but there were also visitors from Bulgaria, France, Japan, Belgium, Italy and Scandinavian countries.

The event was accompanied by a high quality conference and workshop programme, covering many of the genuine issues in the Turkish maritime industry. The 2011 edition of Europort Istanbul is set to again provide it with a complete platform.

Entrance to Europort Istanbul 2011 is free of charge for trade visitors, who can pre-register via www.europort-istanbul.com.

Read more on Maritime Journal: Maritime world meets at Europort Istanbul

A little bit of Sundance comes to Istanbul for !f

The mecca of independent filmmaking and alternative cinema, the one and only Sundance Institute is leaving the chilling cold of Utah for 10 days and flying you to Istanbul for a dream collaboration for many. The !f Istanbul AFM International Independent Films Festival kicks off this Thursday with a selection of films bigger and richer than ever.

!f Istanbul (and the subsequent !f Ankara) has always been much more than a 10-day fest of film screenings. The changing world order, human rights and new media have always been reflected in !f’s collection of cutting-edge cinema, screened under such sections like Fix the World, Rainbow Films, and the Opening, inspired by the government’s efforts to offer a solution to the long-standing Kurdish conflict in Southeast Turkey.

The lineup of activities and the guests who have things to say, as opposed to just being there, have in the past contributed to the offbeat flair of !f Istanbul. This year, the festival celebrates its 10th year.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: A little bit of Sundance comes to Istanbul for !f

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 13, 2011

Deborah Davis comes to Istanbul stage

U.S. singer Deborah Davis will be on stage at Istanbul’s JC’s on Feb. 14, 17, 18, and 19 as part of ongoing Garanti Jazz Green concerts.

A native of Texas, Davis sings all genres, from jazz and classic to gospel and from pop to country and R&B. She is a gifted singer and consummate performer with a warm angelic voice that has captivated and seduced audiences throughout the world. Davis is also a poet, lyricist, actress, artist, dancer, teacher and athlete, but it is her singing that makes one really take notice.

Although not from a musical family, Davis said she had been singing her entire lifetime. With no one to emulate and no real musical influences, she developed her own style of singing, creating her own opportunities to sing.

She has also led bands featuring many of New York's young lions of jazz such Delfeayo Marsalis, James Williams, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Marc Cary, Christian McBride, Peter Washington, Ron Affif, Russell Malone, Jeff Wats, Greg Hutchinson, Brian Blade, and too many others. Her performances have generated rave reviews from the New York Times, New York Newsday, and the Amsterdam News.

One of the favorites of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Davis also gives volunteer concerts to support leukemia and lymphoma groups.

Tickets for her Istanbul concerts are available at Biletix.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Deborah Davis comes to Istanbul stage

Weimar Istanbul

The City grew rapidly, dwarfing in size and population any other in the country. The streets stimulated like cocaine; horns honked, crowds surged, nerves jangled. To step outside was to be electrified by the harlequinade of roaring colors, bright lights, rushing traffic. Sybaritic nightclubs thrummed until dawn and well thereafter; strange and perverse sights were to be found on every boulevard, in every alley, at every hour, the aesthetic of contradiction between civilization and barbarity heightened by the ersatz baroque of the old architecture and the shocking ugliness of the new. Transvestites prowled, thieves pickpocketed, and in the fashionable cafés, intellectuals smoked furiously and complained of their anomie.

The Old World had vanished, and with it its agrarian economy, its reassuring class distinctions and social order. An alien and fragile political order had been imposed in its place. Experimental music, art, and cinema flourished; fascinations arose with utopianism, fortune-telling, mysticism, communism.


What is a Weimar City? It is a city rich in history and culture, animated by political precariousness and by a recent rupture with the past, vivified by a shocking conflict with mass urbanization and industrialization; a city where sudden liberalization has unleashed the social and political imagination—but where the threat of authoritarian reaction is always in the air.

Weimar Cities are not freaks of nature. They may be expected to arise under certain social, political, and historical circumstances.


Istanbul’s thrilling skyline, a glittering ribbon of palaces, mosques, and minarets, forms the backdrop to the sinister glamour of its rooftop nightclub scene, where the city’s privileged youths pass their summer nights spending their fathers’ money. I have rarely in the West seen promiscuity such as that which characterizes Istanbul’s elite, secular class. Come the Revolution, they will surely be shot. Yet the women complain to me, in tears, that they cannot understand why the men they bed never call the next day. The poor things, I think. They are so new to this.

North of the Golden Horn, on the European side of the city, it is almost impossible to walk down the crowded streets without passing a film crew. Turkish filmmakers are wan and drawn, earnest, deeply preoccupied with Turkey’s rapid social transformation. Film departments at universities throughout the city are packed. The Turkish film sector expanded by 10 percent last year. Not all the movies are good, but they are unified by the experimental drive characteristic of a Weimar City.


I am often asked why I stay in Istanbul. Often, I ask myself. But in the end, isn’t it obvious? After this, anyplace else would bore me senseless. What curious student of history could resist the chance to see something like this with her own eyes? Who wouldn’t want to know what will happen next?

Claire Berlinski, a contributing editor of City Journal, is an American journalist who lives in Istanbul. She is the author of There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.

Read more on CityJournal.org: Weimar Istanbul

February 12, 2011

Turkish Hospitality: A Non-Muslim’s Discovery

Different language, different religion, different sights, smells and tastes! Nothing could be more opposite to my small hometown near Seattle. Turkey was nothing that I expected or I could have ever imagined; but as soon as I met the people of Istanbul I immediately felt at home.

I had an interesting entrance into Istanbul. It could have been the worst hitchhiking experience, but it turned out to be my best. I had caught a lift with a Turkish truck driver from the Romanian-Bulgarian border a day and a half earlier and while we didn’t share a common language, he showed me amazing hospitality and gave me instant respect, which I later found to be the case with every Turkish person I met in my six weeks as a guest in their country.

When my lift dropped me off in the middle of a residential area in the outskirts of Istanbul, some kind men took it upon themselves to help me get to the center. They took me to their English-speaking friend. He attentively listened to my story: how I came to be there with no Turkish Lira, no nearby ATM, no knowledge of the Turkish language, and no idea what part of Istanbul I was in- or if I even really was in Istanbul.

The kind man could have pointed in any direction and told me to get on a bus or ask someone else. Instead, he made me tea, then coffee, and a sandwich, and invited me to sit down, relax and be his guest for a while. After about an hour, he wrote direction for me, flagged down a minibus, told the driver my situation, paid him and gave me 10 Lira. He told me it would be plenty to get me where I needed to be and further, but he thought it was better to give me too much rather than too little, just in case something went wrong. He then hopped out and waved goodbye before I had time to properly thank him. I looked in the rear window as he ran back into his shop with a smile on his face.

I was stunned by the amazing compassion he had for me, a woman he had just met and would probably never see again. His utter selflessness and care for others brought me peace and happiness the rest of my time in Turkey. It was a wonderful introduction to Turkish hospitality and a great representation of my time there.

While staying with various friends in Istanbul, some Turkish, some not, I was able to see this hospitality in different forms. One morning, a Turkish friend’s mother was cooking a breakfast feast for me and even though she didn’t understand English and I didn’t speak Turkish, she was happy to understand I enjoyed the food.

One afternoon, I was helped by a Turkish man in a coffee shop to connect my computer to the internet which was followed by a long conversation about my travels and how I liked Turkey. Many times, I was offered tea by shop owners whether or not I was buying something from them.

I was lucky to meet people who cared about me and never expected anything back. Their warmth and compassion welcomed me, a total stranger. I was just one of thousands of tourists passing through, but they made me feel like it was their personal duty to take care of me.

Read more on OnIslam: Turkish Hospitality: A Non-Muslim’s Discovery

Eurasia Boat Show opens its doors in Istanbul

It will be possible to see various product groups including luxury boats, yachts, sailboats and water sports equipment

The Fifth Sea Vehicles, Equipment and Accessories Exhibition (Eurasia Boat Show) will take place at Istanbul's CNR Expo between February 11 and 20.
Pozitif Trade Inc, an affiliate of CNR Holding, is organizing the exhibition in cooperation with Transportation Ministry, Maritime Undersecretariat and Turkish Maritime Industry Association (DENTUR).

"This is the biggest boat and yacht fair in Turkey, and the second in the world," CNR Holding's Executive Board President Ceyda Erem said.

Eurasia Boat Show is organized in seven halls covering an exhibition space of 125,000 sqm with the expected 125,000 visitors and 500 exhibitors.

It will be possible to see various product groups including luxury boats, yachts, sailboats and water sports equipment. Boat accessories & boat building materials, speedboats & cruisers, motorboats, yacht & power equipment, sailboats, marinas & marina equipments, water sports equipment, diving clothes & accessories, sea rescue & emergency kits are among the main product groups of the exhibition.

Read more on WorldBulletin: Eurasia Boat Show opens its doors in Istanbul

Audio story: Istanbul. The place to be

There are many reasons for people in their 20s to move to Istanbul. They come looking for a job; they come looking for a party.

American Rebecca Doffing originally came for a Fulbright Fellowship and then fell in love with Turkey and stayed on to copyedit at a top English language newspaper.

Australian Melanie Poole originally came for her boyfriend and then fell in love with the city.

"It's trapped between East and West, and I hate that phrase, but I think it is really that essence … is why Istanbul is that city that everyone comes to."

Listen to the story on SeTimes: Audio story: Istanbul. The place to be

Renee Fleming to grace Aya İrini stage in July

Soprano Renée Fleming will headline the upcoming İstanbul International Music Festival, the organizers of the eagerly anticipated annual event announced Thursday.

The world-famous American soprano, who is turning 52 on Monday, will take to the stage at the historic Aya İrini Museum on July 22 for a special concert where she will be accompanied by the Borusan İstanbul Philharmonic, the festival’s orchestra in residence, under the baton of maestro Sasha Goetzel.

The program for the concert will be announced at a later date, said the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Art (İKSV), which has been organizing the festival for the past 38 years, in a written statement.

The international award-winning soprano, with some 12 Grammy Award nominations and three wins, is billed as “the people’s diva” and was named the number one female singer by Salzburger Festspiele Magazin in 2010. Her 2010-11 concert season began with the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Last Night of the Proms performance in September, followed by appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the National Symphony and the Saint Louis Symphony, all for their 2010-11 gala concerts. Fleming’s 2010-11 season at the Metropolitan Opera includes performances of Rossini’s “Armida” and Strauss’s “Capriccio.”

Tickets for July’s concert, which will be Fleming’s first ever appearance in Turkey, will go on sale on Feb. 26 through Biletix, İKSV said.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Renee Fleming to grace Aya İrini stage in July

February 11, 2011

Istanbul residents select their own tram

Istanbul residents have selected the new tram model that will be operating in the city in the near future.

More than 43,000 Istanbul residents have voted for the type A Tramway, which counts for 63 percent of the votes given to two tramway model alternatives, within the framework of the “Istanbul Selects its Own Tramway” campaign.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul residents select their own tram

Through the eyes of a student: Pharmacy practice in Turkey

In July I headed to Istanbul, Turkey. My experience began amid a surging, immensely crowded population of 12 million people, 98% of whom are Muslim. The community practice I was going to was located right off Istiklal Avenue in Taksim Square, in the Beyoglu district — perhaps the most diverse and progressive sector of a city steeped in rich tradition.

I quickly learned that for pharmacists in Turkey, primary professional options are in either industry or community pharmacy, specifically independent pharmacy. This is in notable contrast to the status quo in America, where most career paths lead to either retail chains or hospitals and health systems.

Mike LaRosa is a third-year pharmacy student at Jefferson School of Pharmacy, Thomas Jefferson University, in Philadelphia. Read more about his experience http://istanbulpharmacy.blogspot.com

Read more on ModernMedicine: Through the eyes of a student: Pharmacy practice in Turkey


In his novel about his home city, Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk reflects on its melancholy quality. He uses the Turkish word, hüzün, to describe Istanbul’s collective melancholia, which “brings… comfort, softening the view like the condensation on a window when a tea kettle has been spouting steam on a winter’s day”.

But there are very many ways to look at this ancient city, which straddles two continents, has served as the capital of two empires and comprises a stunning array of historical, cultural and architectural artefacts that makes it one of the most enchanting places in the world. And it is the city’s visual brilliance — manifest not only in its old yet beautifully preserved mosques, museums and markets but also in the swanky fashion centres and highrises — that ISTANBUL: CITY OF TWO CONTINENTS (Editions Didier Millet, $30) manages to capture with a fair degree of success.

The book is a collaboration between the architectural photographer, John Cleave, and the celebrated archivist of Istanbul’s myriad treasures, John Freely. Cleave provides the 175-odd illustrations that depict Istanbul’s famous and not-so-famous landmarks from the past and the present. Cleave’s annotated illustrations — which have been stylized in the form of water colours but are, in fact, computerized reproductions of original digital images — reflect the ease with which Istanbul balances its historical legacy with a vibrant modernity.

Read more on The Telegraph India: IMMORTAL CITY

Istanbul on the ramp - A City That Inspires...

Lina Tipnis' collection, an invitation to celebrate Istanbul with its glorious heritage at different phases of time, brings out splendid jewels of the Topkapi palace, the serenity of the Turkish deverishes, the intricately detailed Iznik tiles, and the energy of the 14th century grand bazaar and other historical aspects.

The Turkish influence can easily be seen in the way the summer dress collection was showcased. Trapeze and tent silhouettes, cocktail dresses in sheath, shift and contemporised caftans along with low fork trousers in nudes and skin tones juxtaposed with deep colours of semi-precious stones along with ivory and mahogany that complemented as neutrals.

Read on Mid-Day: Istanbul on the ramp - A City That Inspires...

February 10, 2011

Turkish Translated

THERE were plenty of innovative twists and turns, most notably in the fabric department, at the fourth edition of Istanbul Fashion Week. Staged in a converted power-station-turned-contemporary-art-complex, Turkey's talents showed what they were made of for autumn/winter 2011-12.

But then again, this is Europe's second (and the world's fourth), largest textile supplier. Now it seems, a new generation of Turkish designers are tapping into all that luxe leather, cashmere, silk and fur for themselves.

Read more on Vogue: Turkish Translated

Istanbul Style

ONLY three seasons old and Istanbul Fashion Week is working to put itself on the fashion map - having presented 21 shows and a host of Turkish design talent for spring/summer 2011.

A collaboration between the Fashion Designers Association, the United Brands Association and the Istanbul Fashion Academy with the support of Istanbul 2010 Europe Culture Capital Agency - all of which make up the ITKIB organisation - this year drew the likes of Anna Piaggi, Patricia Field, fashion blogger Susie Bubble and Browns' Erin Mullaney. On the catwalk, sartorial support came from models Alexandra Richards and Alessandra Ambrosio.

Read more on Vogue: Istanbul Style