May 30, 2011

Sisli Mayor receives Constantinople Patriarchate Order

Constantinople Patriarchate of the Armenian Apostolic Church honored Mustafa Sarıgül, the Mayor of Sisli district of Istanbul, with Hovhannes Kolot order.

On behalf of the Armenian community, monk Zakeom read aloud the address of Patriarchate co-adjuter Archbishop Aram Ateshyan to thank Mayor Sarıgül for his “assistance in reconstruction of Armenian churches and schools.”

Sarıgül has become the first Muslim to receive an Armenian order in Turkey, Hurriyet reported.

Istanbul's Freshtival Hosts Legendary Groups

British electronic duo Leftfield and soul music’s Noisettes were just some of the top-name international acts to perform at Istanbul’s Freshtival at Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park on Saturday.

The main stage hosted Leftfield and their electronica songs, which were accompanied by a light show.

This year festival’s groups ranged from soul to electronica and to different kinds of indie-rock styles.

Freshtival is known as one of the few festivals in the country to combine music and art under one roof.

This year’s Freshtival only lasted one day, but there are plans to expand the event in future years.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News:
Istanbul's Freshtival Hosts Legendary Groups

Turkish Miniaturist Depicting Aura of Istanbul's Conquest

Using his artistic skills to reach people, a Turkish miniaturist has been working on a new painting of Mehmed the Conqueror’s conquest of Istanbul.

“I aimed to reflect the spirit of the conquest,” miniaturist Özcan Özcan said of the work he started to compose two months ago. “I did it to make our people experience that moment and to offer more knowledge. I tried to fulfill the mission of art. You can only convey people’s spirit through art.”

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Turkish Miniaturist Depicting Aura of Istanbul's Conquest

Anniversary of Istanbul's Conquest Celebrated with Light, Laser Show

The 558th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest was celebrated with a laser, light and water show in the Golden Horn on Sunday.

The celebration started with voice and light shows before continuing with a movie, “The Conquest of Istanbul,” which was projected on a water curtain. The show took place on a platform made especially for the conquest celebration in Balat. The show included Mehter musicians from Janissary bands re-enacting the conquest and Mehmed the Conqueror’s entrance into the city.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Anniversary of Istanbul's Conquest Celebrated with Light, Laser Show

Istanbul Becomes a Shining Star in World Congress Tourism

Istanbul, which ranked seventh in world congress tourism last year and sixth in Europe, has become an international convention destination, according to Murat Yalçıntaş, chairman of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, or ICOC.

“By strengthening its position among the top 10 cities in world convention tourism, Istanbul should target to enter the top five in the next five years,” said Yalçıntaş, who has also been the chairman of the Istanbul Convention and Visitors Bureau, or ICVB, since March 2006.

Istanbul, which was home to a total of 109 international congresses last year, moved ahead of London, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Sidney, according to a recent report published by the International Congress and Convention Association, or ICCA, Yalçıntaş said.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 3 close battle for The Wave Muscat

Extreme Sailing Series 2011 Act 3 was hosted on the Halic estuary in Istanbul. Racing came to a close today, (Sunday 29 May) after five days of competition. Artemis Racing emerged victorious by just one point in front of second placed Emirates Team New Zealand.

The fleet raced 44 races this week in Istanbul, more than any other act this year. The city has thrown a mix of challenging conditions at the teams, with gusts hitting 25 knots on the first day, compared to a subdued 8 knots of wind by the final race today. The Istanbul public flocked to the race village today to watch the 10 boat fleet battle it out on the short race course, with racing taking place spectacularly close to the shore. The city of Istanbul has never witnessed the impressive Extreme 40s in action before and an estimated 15,500 people turned out to watch them in action today. After an action packed day on the water, a public firework show brought the regatta to a spectacular finish.

The Extreme Sailing Series now travels to Boston in the USA, Cowes, UK, Italy, France, and Spain, before it’s conclusion in Singapore in December.

May 28, 2011

Gourmet Cooking, Hip Decor and Decent Prices: Karaköy’s Lokanta Maya

Lokanta Maya does not have a view of the Bosphorus or old town from a distance; this hip new restaurant in Karaköy is all about taste and food! Walking inside the simple yet modern designed dining hall, which seats about 50 people, one is surprised to see that even the interior design is integrated with whole foods. On one wall is a decoration of hundreds of Turkish walnuts wired to the background with thin metal wires. And in the middle is a huge glass divider filled with all sorts of dried Turkish foods and spices like peppers, zucchini and various others.

The menu changes daily and while the daytime atmosphere is more casual with a limited menu, for the evenings it transforms itself into a “dine and wine” venue with white table clothes and wine glasses. During the daytime, the crowd is a mix of people from around the neighborhood or close vicinity, while for the nighttime diners from all over Istanbul come to sample Maya’s scrumptious and invigorating menu.

Byzantine Encounters

Istanbul is one of those destinations that guarantees a shock to the system. It is a seething metropolis at once ancient and modern. Yet when it comes to accommodation, many of the choices are less than exotic. Most travellers choose budget accommodation concentrated around the tourist golden triangle of the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet, or the luxury hotels of the funkier neighbourhoods of Beyoglu, Taksim and Ortakoy.

I book a new holiday rental that offers a different way to discover this fascinating city, the chance to experience a slice of life where there isn't another tourist in sight. Verystanbul is hidden away on the shores of the Golden Horn, in the district of Fener, the historic home of a large Greek and Jewish population, just by the original city walls.

Read more on The Sydney Morning Herald: Byzantine Encounters

Liveable, Lovable – and Lauded

Well, that touched a nerve. The idea of liveable cities, it seems, is one that provokes the pen and the keyboard. My critique of the blandness of the cities that always seem to top the “world’s most liveable” lists, which was published in the FT’s House & Home section on May 8, engendered a vigorous response and a sustained debate. The results of an poll were surprising and, I think, intriguing. The city that came out top in a readers’ survey was Istanbul. I was truly glad when I saw it – here’s a city that is the antithesis of the bourgeois monoculture I had railed against and that seems to confirm everything I had argued for. Istanbul is cosmopolitan, busy, young in its population but historic in its fabric, socially mixed with a huge disparity of income, accessible and a city that has always built on its status as a bridge between not just continents but civilisations, ideas, religions and peoples.

Read more on Financial Times: Liveable, Lovable – and Lauded

Istanbul - A Tale of Two Cities

The city walls of Constantinople were famously impenetrable. A millennium's worth of would-be invaders perished at their base until the Ottoman armies of Mehmet II breached them in 1453 and found a new name for the conquered city: Istanbul. They're still pretty treacherous.

As my friend and I climbed some higgledy-piggledy steps to the top of the ruined fortification on a clear winter morning, a man with a suspicious moustache and an armful of piping called to us: 'Hayir!' That means no. He pointed out that the staircase we were climbing ended in a sheer drop: an Escher-esque optical illusion had blinded us to this abrupt fact. 'Better!' he said, gesturing towards a steeper ascent, though one that at least had the benefit of not throwing the triumphant climber to an absurd and painful death.

Read more on This is London: Istanbul - A Tale of Two Cities

Giant Pink Snails to Bring Slow Living Concept to Istanbul

Emaar Turkey, the country-subsidiary of Emaar Properties PJSC, is set to bring the famous Slow Living concept to Istanbul, accompanied by an exhibition of giant pink snails.

The snails will first be exhibited on May 31 at Bebek Park before moving on to Nişantaşı, Bağdat Street, Yeşilköy and Bahçeşehir, reaching the Tuscan Valley in Büyükçekmece (a project developed by Emaar Turkey) on June 3.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Giant Pink Snails to Bring Slow Living Concept to Istanbul

Festival Brings Different Art Disciplines Together in Istanbul, Vienna

Interdisciplinary art festival “Arada” (In Between), aiming to bring young artists together from different art disciplines and from different cultures, started Thursday in Istanbul with the participation of many Turkish and foreign artists.

The festival was founded by young artists from different countries and different disciplines, including visual arts, dance, writing and drama, and young participants who work in these fields. The second part of the festival will take place in Vienna in October with an aim to serve as a bridge between these two cities.

Admission to the events are free. For further info please visit

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Festival Brings Different Art Disciplines Together in Istanbul, Vienna

Turkish Delight

It may be a mind-boggling twenty-eight centuries old; it may still be outside of the EU; and it may have an average temperature of 28* in summer, but Istanbul has officially never been hotter.

Much has been made recently of the bubbling up of this exotic East-meets-West city from historic site to bona fide hip and happening hotspot (see Paula Reed’s top addresses for the city here) but now something has happened to confirm the city’s stellar status: the Chanel juggernaut has landed.

Last night Chanel held a glittering show of its Byzantium-inspired pre-fall collection in the opulent rooms of the Ciragan Palace on the Bosphorus. Lagerfeld lovely Kirsten Dunst was in attendance, where she joined a host of VIP guests in reclining on luscious Oriental divans to view the show.

Read more on Grazia Daily: Turkish Delight

Papergirl: The Art of Giving

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a rolled-up poster dispensed by a mystery cyclist any time on Saturday in the Taksim area of İstanbul, be sure not to gift it to the gutter or pass it off as promotional propaganda, because Saturday marks the first Papergirl Art Project event to be held in Turkey, a unique initiative whereby in the style of American newspaper boys/girls artwork is rolled into bundles of five pieces or more and randomly distributed by cyclists to unsuspecting pedestrians.

Now in it’s fifth year, the project was founded in 2006 by young artist Aisha Ronniger in Berlin, where following tightening laws and increasing fines for those pasting posters in public spaces, equaling those imposed for graffiti in Germany, Ronniger, then a first-year art student, brainstormed with a friend new ways to bring art into urban spaces without breaking any laws. The idea of passing out art in the streets by bicycle in the style of old-fashioned paperboys delivering newspapers was eventually brought to the table and thus the Papergirl Project was born.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Papergirl: The Art of Giving

Turkish Dessert: The Proof is in the Puddings

Some people travel to Istanbul to view the city’s unique skyline, studded by mosque domes, palaces, bridges and old Ottoman era buildings that hover over the Golden Horn and the Bosporus strait. Others are enchanted by the energy of the simultaneously ancient and modern city that’s ventilated by crisp ocean air. Still others swoon over the fact that in Tukey’s largest city, a sweet tooth is worn as a badge of honor.

In several of his novels, Istanbul’s resident Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk manages to feature the role dessert shops play in daily life. Somewhat akin to the famed French neighborhood cafes that have become a quintessential part of their country’s identity, Istanbullus stop in to muhallebi, or sweets shops, daily to socialize, read their newspapers or just enjoy a treat — at any time of day or night.

May 26, 2011

Istancool Bringing World Culture to Turkey's Biggest City Again

With giants from the both the Turkish and international creative worlds, the second edition of the prestigious art, design, fashion, film, music, literature and architecture festival Istancool will run this weekend in Istanbul’s cultural heart.

Istancool is a fascinating and unique cultural experience bringing together some of the world’s most talented writers, designers, editors, actors, poets, filmmakers, dancers and musicians in the city. Festival organizers said they were committed to creating a dynamic arts diplomacy program in the world and forging greater cultural relations between Turkey and the international artistic community.

The event, which is being organized in association with AnOther Magazine, has been made possible by British international cultural diplomacy festival organization Liberatum and Turkish creative agency Istanbul’74, which has previously brought other global events to Istanbul from the world of culture, art, film and fashion.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istancool Bringing World Culture to Turkey's Biggest City Again

Topkapı Palace Welcomes Works from Istanbul Greek Painters

Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace is hosting a new exhibition featuring 100 pieces of art by Istanbul Greek painters who were influential in the late Ottoman artistic world.

“People from different faith groups have created very important works on Anatolian land. It is our mission to exhibit these works to the current generations,” Turkish Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay, who is helping to organize the Greek Painters of Istanbul at Topkapı Palace show, said Monday during the show’s opening ceremony.

The works of the Greek painters are a part of Turkish culture, said Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew, who attended the show’s opening ceremony Monday. “We, as the Greek community and the Greek Patriarchate, are a part of this country, too.”

The event is being organized by the Directorate of the Topkapı Palace Museum and the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul under the auspices of Günay’s ministry.

The exhibition will continue at the Topkapı Palace Museum Imperial Stables until June 30.

“Greek Painters of Istanbul at the Topkapi Palace” Exhibition Opens, Istanbul

The exhibition “Greek Painters of Istanbul at the Topkapi Palace” was inaugurated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the presence of Turkish Minister of Culture Mr. Ertuğrul Günay. The exhibition includes about 100 paintings of the 19th and the 20th century and was organized at the Imperial Stables of the Palace by the Directorate of the Museum, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul.

The exhibition was based on the research that has been conducted by Mayda Saris in her book “Greek Painters of Istanbul” and with Mr. Yusuf Benli’s help, who is the manager of the Museum. It mainly includes portraits of the Ottoman Empire’s Sultans and several personalities, portraits of Patriarchs and ecclesiastical paintings of the 19th and the 20th century.

Read more on Greek Reporter: “Greek Painters of Istanbul at the Topkapi Palace” Exhibition Opens, Istanbul

US Hamburger Chain Opens First Branch in Turkey

The first Turkey branch of U.S.-based fast food chain Carl’s Jr. has been opened at the Cevahir Shopping Mall in central Istanbul.

“Our eye was on Turkey for a long time,” said Ned Lyerly, the senior vice chairman of CKE Restaurants, the owner of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands which operate a total of 3,159 restaurants around the world.

Earlier this year, the company used Gizem Memiç, Miss Turkey award winner in 2010, as a model to promote its turkey burgers. Some cartoon mockups of Memiç eating a hamburger were placed at over 1,000 Carl’s Jr. stores across the U.S.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: US Hamburger Chain Opens First Branch in Turkey

Marianne Faithfull Delights Istanbul Modern Audience with Date

Award-winning English singer, songwriter and actress Marianne Faithfull fronted a multi-generational concert at Istanbul Modern on Saturday as part of the Avea Extraordinary Music Concerts series.

The concert, highlighting Faithfull’s latest album “Horses and High Heels,” also featured artists from the age of 19 to 60. Faithfull, who sang 17 songs in all, was accompanied by guitarists Doug Pettibone and Mark Krammer, along with a drummer and a female musician playing instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, accordion, piano and harpsichord.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Marianne Faithfull Delights Istanbul Modern Audience with Date

Istanbul's Çırağan to Host Special Commemorative Concert for Liszt

A special concert will be held on May 30 at the Mabeyn Salon of Çırağan Palace Kempinski to honor Franz Liszt, the legendary Hungarian musician who played at the Dolmabahçe and Çırağan palaces in 1847.

The concert, which is part of a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the musician’s birth, will begin with a talk by London-based musicologist and orchestra conductor Emre Aracı, who will speak about Liszt’s visit to Istanbul 164 years ago. The concert will then continue with pianist Emre Elivar’s interpretations of Liszt while famous Hungarian mezzo-soprano Judit Rajk will offer songs from Liszt, Daromiski and Tchaikovsky.

Legendary Swedish duo Roxette performs in Istanbul

As part of a world tour that started in February, the legendary Swedish 1980s duo Roxette comes to Istanbul for a concert. The show, long awaited by Turkish fans, will be at Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park

Swedish pop music duo Roxette, a legendary act from the 1980s, comes to Turkey for the first time, playing Wednesday at Istanbul’s Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park as part of a world tour.

Tickets for the Istanbul concert, which is being organized by event-management company Unilife, are available at Biletix.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Legendary Swedish duo Roxette performs in Istanbul

Review: Orchestra life in Istanbul

When I tell people outside of Turkey that Istanbul has three symphony orchestras, jaws drop. “What? Are they any good?” they ask. I assure them they’re not only good, but in fact, quite outstanding.

The musical energy here is fresh and exciting. Sometimes a performance isn’t perfect, but I’d rather hear a concert that’s surging with vitality and a few bloopers rather than one that’s note-perfect and dull. That was the case with the İstanbul CRR Symphony Orchestra on May 21.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Review: Orchestra life in Istanbul

Istanbul: Mini Guide

If you’re a first-time visitor to Istanbul, there are some sights that are unmissable: the view from a ferry across the Bosphorus, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar and a hammam.

There are many ferry operators on the Bosphorus, and the most popular for day trips is the one that departs from Eminönü daily at 10.35am from June to September and costs about £4 return (turn up at least half an hour early to get a seat). The final stop is Anadolu Kavağı, just under two hours away, but Ortakoy is a good stop for a drink or meal en route (see below), or you can enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice on board.

Hagia Sophia, a one-time cathedral, basilica and mosque bears architectural features of all of three. Go upstairs to see the crumbling and elegant gold-leafed mosaics and a view from the balcony of the vast central hall and haunting archangels. It costs about £8 to enter and the best time to go is when it opens at 9am.

The Grand Bazaar is an Aladdin-inspired dream of bright carpets, aromatic spice, twinkling jewellery and persuasive salesmen. You will be offered Turkish Delight (lokum), which is at its best in its home country. There’s also nuts, tea and nougat tasters on offer - a veritable afternoon tea at no charge.

One of the best shops for classy souvenirs is Abdulla, famous for its Turkish soaps, sometimes packaged in a fez. There’s also good quality towels and linen. Head to Sofa for antiques and jewellery, and Erdun Collection for lanterns.

Then it’s time for a hammam (Turkish bath) - most are unisex but there are a couple that have mixed sessions, however if you go for one of these it’s unlikely to be a historic establishment - best to go to the relevant section then meet up after to compare stories of steam, scrubbing and massages. Try the Cagaloglu hammam, one of the oldest in the city and dripping in marble.

Read more on Skyscanner: Istanbul: Mini Guide

Extreme Sailing World Series Team Red Bull ready for Istanbul

Extreme Sailing World Series 2011 third stop is being held in Istanbul, Turkey from May 25th to May 29th 2011. Starting on Wednesday there will be up to six races each day. The grand finale is set for Sunday.

The world’s 11 best sailing syndicates will set sail starting on Wednesday on the Bosphorus in Istanbul. This year’s surprise package, Austria’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing team led by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, will again be battling the world’s elite for championship points.

Read more on Sail World: Extreme Sailing World Series Team Red Bull ready for Istanbul

Assassin's Creed: Revelations Locations have been Revealed

Game Informer has revealed the four regions that will be featured in Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

The cities explored will include the Syrian city of Masyaf, which has become a Templar stronghold, as well as underground Templar stronghold in the Turkish city of Cappadocia. The Greek island of Rhodes will serve as a multiplayer location, where the ruling Knights Hospitallers have transformed it into an enormous fortress to combat the invading Ottomans.

Finally, as revealed already, the city of Constantinople aka Istanbul, where most of the game will take place.

"Constantinople is a massive city. It actually spans two continents – on one side is Europe, and other Asia," Ubisoft Montreal creative director Alexandre Amancio promises, "This is the center of the known world at that time. The spice trading and all that related trade happened through Constantinople. It was one of the main reasons that Europeans tried to go around Africa – because Constantinople was this great hub controlled by the Ottomans. And, essentially, everything needed to go through that city."

Assassin's Creed: Revelations will be released in November for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

Viking Longship to Sail to Wirral on Maiden Voyage

A REPLICA of a Viking longship – claimed to be the biggest ever built – will sail to Wirral on its maiden voyage.

After a series of test sailings, it will embark on its first real voyage in summer, 2013, following the path of the Vikings from Scandinavia via the British Isles to Istanbul.

Project manager Marit Synnøve Vea said: “Our goal is to build a Viking ship that recaptures the superb sea qualities of an ocean-going Norwegian Viking ship.

“To construct the ship, we are using Norwegian boat-building traditions supplemented with the results of archaeological investigations and information in Old Norse literature.

“The Dragon Harald Fairhair will be the largest Viking ship built in modern times, but in the Viking age that size would have been quite typical.

“This time, the Vikings will come in peace!”

Read more on Liverpool Daily Post: Viking Longship to Sail to Wirral on Maiden Voyage

May 25, 2011

5000-year-old Cycladic art exhibit opens at Sabancı Museum

The images are striking, memorable and Pablo Picasso would have probably eaten his heart out to have created them, not to mention Salvador Dali. They are probably the first truly abstract sculptures the world ever saw, for they were created around 3000 BC.

Round, almost one-dimensional bodies, which appear like stones found on a beach perfect to be then sent skipping across the surface of the water. Who were the sculptors? What do these figurines represent? Where did the first idea come from? We know so little, but have destroyed so much.

A visit to the new exhibition, which just opened at the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum, will introduce viewers to a world that is rarely seen and never before in Turkey on such a large scale as “Across - The Cyclades and Western Anatolia During the 3rd Millennium BC.” Around 340 artifacts have been collected to form this new exhibition, which opened on Monday and will continue until Aug. 28.

May 21, 2011

Istanbul Modern Hosts Marianne Faithfull on Saturday

An award-winning English singer, songwriter and actress will perform in Istanbul on Saturday. Marianne Faithfull, whose career has spanned five decades, will meet Turkish audiences at Istanbul Modern at 9 p.m.

Tickets for her Istanbul concert are available at Biletix.

Turkish-Style Design Exhibition Opens in Istanbul

Mint liquor next to a cup of Turkish coffee, a piece of lacework draped over a television and milk boiling in a pot are very familiar things to Turkish people. Now they are also among the inspirations for a new exhibition, “Tasarım Alaturka” (Design a la Turkey), which brings together Turkish cultural motifs with objects used in daily life.

Created by young talents from the Rafineri Advertising Agency, the collection – on display in central Istanbul until May 30 – plays with Turkey’s popular artists, cult song lyrics, habits, cultural values and indispensable parts of daily life in a surprising, humorous way.

The exhibition, opened as part of the “Akaretler Art & Design Day,” organized in the Akaretler Sıraevler in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district with the support of Bilgili Holding, also includes special presentations, videos and installations. It can be visited until May 30 and admission is free of charge.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Turkish-Style Design Exhibition Opens in Istanbul

A Rub with History in Istanbul's Hammams

by Chris Orrell
I feel like a boiled lobster, red-faced and raw, lying prostrate on a slab where millions of others have been cleansed before me. For my induction to the age-old ritual of the hammam, I have chosen one of Istanbul's most historic baths, Cemberlitas (, which was built in 1584 by Nurbanu Sultan, the wife of Selim II, who was known for his love of pleasure over politics.

Situated on Divanyolu Street in the heart of the city, and among Istanbul's greatest monuments - it overlooks the Column of Constantine and is close to the Grand Bazaar and Sultan Ahmet or Blue Mosque - the tall double-domed building is sandwiched in between local shops - a barber's, fruit and vegetable shop - and a traditional Turkish cafe. Today, Cemberlitas has to shout its presence by a huge white sign and narrow steps leading down to the front doors.

Read more on The National: A Rub with History in Istanbul's Hammams

Istanbul to Become World Center for Hydrogen Energy

The Istanbul Strait will become the world's most important center of hydrogen energy if the construction of a second canal that has been publicized by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a “crazy project” actually happens.

If the tankers use the canal for transportation, the traffic in the Bosporus will be minimized, and the sea flow in the strait will be used for the generation of hydrogen energy. Before the announcement of the Kanal Istanbul project, the International Center for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (ICHET) founded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Turkey in 2003 was planning to generate electrical energy out of the flow in the Bosporus.

However, the project was never implemented because of the heavy traffic in the Bosporus and a lack of infrastructure. In case the project is actually implemented, UNIDO-ICHET will station a turbine on a submarine in Arnavutköy-Istanbul to start generation of electricity. The center authorities who concluded that the magnitude of the undersea flow is sufficient for generation of electricity will produce 20 kilowatts of electricity by a generator to be installed on a platform in the strait.

May 20, 2011

Satellite Image Reveals Spread of a Megacity

A newly released satellite image reveals Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey at 15 million inhabitants, is quickly becoming a "megacity" covering almost 700 square miles.

Read more on MNN: Satellite Image Reveals Spread of a Megacity

May 19, 2011

Destruction 2011: An Art Event Full of Celebration

This May, Istanbul is witnessing an unconventional and multi-disciplinary art “act,” which can change every kind of artistic movement on the Turkish art scene.

“Destruction 2011,” an art event on Akarsu Street in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, aims to bring a new approach to the neighborhood, both with its art and with its perception of the discipline.

“What we tried to do is to create a ‘campaign’ that is living before and after this event,” said Rafet Arslan, one of the creators of the event.

Destruction 2011 is not a one-man exhibition or event, nor is it just an exhibition that welcomes audiences. “This is not just an exhibition, there are film screenings, forums, discussions and performance events,” said Arslan.

The preparation for the event lasted for nine months. “All the work in this event, all the performances and screenings are somehow related to each other,” said Arslan.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Destruction 2011: An Art Event Full of Celebration

New Atatürk Memorabilia on Display at Istanbul's Rahmi M. Koç Museum

The Rahmi M. Koç Museum in Istanbul has added new displays to its section featuring objects related to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The addition was made to coincide with the May 19 Youth and Sports Day, which marks the date in 1919 when Atatürk launched the struggle for national independence.

As well as photos that have never before been revealed and March 1923 and February 1927 issues of TIME magazine featuring Atatürk on the cover, objects from Atatürk’s office, his personal belongings and clothing are among the new objects added to the section.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: New Atatürk Memorabilia on Display at Istanbul's Rahmi M. Koç Museum

Documentary Days Come to Inform and Entertain Istanbul

With 80 films from more than 40 countries, the fourth edition of Documentarist 2011, Istanbul’s premier documentary film festival, will run in the city’s Beyoğlu district from May 31 to June 5.

The films on offer at this year’s festival explore themes in a number of categories, including “The World We Consume,” “Human Portraits,” “International Panorama,” “Post Communism Term,” “Focus Romania,” “From the Arab World,” Anthropology – Documentary” and “Music Films.”

The films will be screened at the French Institute for Anatolian Research and Akbank Sanat; 40 foreign guests including directors, producers, festival representatives, project owners and educators are expected to participate in the event.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Documentary Days Come to Inform and Entertain Istanbul

The Cinematic Orchestra Playing Two Concerts at Tamirane This Weekend

The world-famous British nu jazz and electronic ensemble The Cinematic Orchestra is currently in Istanbul for two eagerly anticipated live gigs this weekend at the Tamirane club at SantralIstanbul.

The Cinematic Orchestra, noted for its unique sound that is a blend of live jazz improvisation with electronic elements and the performance of a turntablist, made its international breakthrough with its critically acclaimed debut album, “Motion,” in 1999. One of the most important aspects of The Cinematic Orchestra is that each member of the band is a virtuoso, leading to often mesmerizing live performances of recorded pieces from their albums.

This weekend’s concerts will serve as a preview of The Cinematic Orchestra’s upcoming album, which is currently in the works, as the band will present songs from their next album as well as those from their previous releases in the concerts. Tickets are available through Biletix.

Turkish Magnate Puts His Passion on Display

Art collecting is often a very private passion, but the textile magnate Oner Kocabeyoglu has taken his passion very public with the exhibition “20 Turkish Artists of the XXth Century” at Santralistanbul, an art, music and education space at the tip of the Golden Horn.

The show, through June 19, features more than 430 works by 18 painters and two sculptors, accumulated by Mr. Kocabeyoglu and selected and arranged over three floors in collaboration with the writer and art critic Ferit Edgu.

At first, visitors may think they are seeing earlier works by Picasso or Klimt, but many of the paintings are by Turks who lived in France after 1940 as part of the École de Paris wave, working, studying and carousing with the Westerners creating masterpieces.

Read more on The New York Times: Turkish Magnate Puts His Passion on Display

Istanbul Becomes Top City in Turkey's Foreign Trade in Jan-Mar 2011

Turkey's commercial hub of Istanbul has shined out in foreign trade in January-March period of 2011.

Nearly 44.6 percent of Turkey's export activities, amounting to 14.04 billion USD, was conducted from Istanbul during the first three months of the year, according to the data released by Turkey's statistics authority, TurkStat.

Read more on World Bulletin:  Istanbul Becomes Top City in Turkey's Foreign Trade in Jan-Mar 2011

Five Unforgettable Experiences in Istanbul

1 Explore the Historic Sights
The Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia Cathedral and Topkapi Palace are three historic and impressive building very close to each other in the Old town of Sultanahmet. Architect Mimar Sinan designed the Blue Mosque with its semi and quarter cupolas attached to the main dome and devised four minarets. Aya Sophia's poignant tale speaks of the arrival of Islam in Constantinople and the intrigues of the harem at the Royal Palace will have you spellbound.

2 Stroll the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market
The Grand Bazaar has been the epicentre of trade between Asia, Europe and Africa for centuries. Roam its isles to find silvers and gold jewellery and ceramics. At the exotic Spice Market, you can try many Turkish delights.

3 Sail down the Bosphorus
According to author Orhan Pamuk, the Bosphorus, a 32-kilometre tranquil strait, is of “spiritual import” to the people of Istanbul. The sultans of yore had their summer homes here, and today, the tall, slim houses along the waters are avidly sought after. Hop on a ferry or cruise liner at Sultanahmet or any other stop along the way and enjoy a two hour ride back and forth, taking in historic sights and modern bridges.

4 Try the Local Restaurants
Subashi is very casual restaurant serving local food just outside the Grand Bazaar. Fez Cafe inside the Grand Bazaar serves delectable snacks with coffee. Hamdi is a lively place with a leafy terrace just outside the Spice Market. They are famous for their pistachio kebabs.

Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir in Beyoglu serves delectable sweets. Bebek serves Bedem Ezmesi, an almond pastry worth the long lines. Vegetarians will love okra dishes, fava beans, goat’s cheese, local breads and salads.

5 Walk the Neighbourhoods
Istanbul's rich visuals have been documented in Ara Guler's famous photographs. Walk the old historic streets of Sultanahmet, discover the eateries and art galleries of Beyoglu, see the modern, upmarket buzz in Nisantasi and find views of the Bosphorus. Watch the people going by- ladies in hijabs and peroxide blondes rub shoulders. Suave businessmen converse with elderly men knitting skull caps outside mosques. Istanbul is a unique city, steeped in rich and fascinating history and it combines the past and future and the east and west like none other.

Read more on Hindustan Times: Five Unforgettable Experiences in Istanbul

Istanbul Photography Museum to Open in June

CNA - June will welcome the opening of the İstanbul Photography Museum in the Kadırga neighborhood of İstanbul's historical peninsula.

The project, which is a collaboration between the Fatih Municipality and an İstanbul-based photography society called the Friends of Photography, is driven by an objective of providing a strong platform for the support and development of photography in Turkey.

Another underlying aim of the initiative is to contribute a new and innovative cultural service in the historic Kadırga area, Fatih Mayor Mustafa Demir told the Anatolia news agency on Tuesday.

"Until the 1950s, Kadırga was an area of considerable importance in İstanbul," Demir said. "This is evidenced by the legacy of period buildings remaining from both Byzantine and Ottoman times, the Sultanahmet Mosque, for example.

As an ex-port district, Kadırga was an important platform for socioeconomic interaction amongst religions and peoples throughout history and one of best examples of coexistence in İstanbul. Our aim is to bring awareness of Kadırga's rich history back into the public mind and revitalize its place on the cultural map once again."

Read more on World Bulletin: Istanbul Photography Museum to Open in June

Irresistable Istanbul Attracts Growing Tourist Interest

Turkey's travel industry authorities have been promoting the exotic and diverse city of Istanbul as an ideal place for British holidaymakers to visit this year.

The Turkish Culture and Tourism Office highlighted the cultural and historical delights of taking an Istanbul city break. A spokesperson referenced the eclectic mix of historical influences that can be seen in every facet of the city's make-up; from the times of Ancient Rome, through the Byzantine Empire era and Ottoman Empire right up until the current day.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Office spokeswoman Joanna Marsh said that Istanbul is: "one of those cities which everyone has on their list of places to visit at least once in their lifetime."

Istanbul on the Hop

Ian Jarrett - The man standing outside Istanbul's Topkapi Palace is holding two small white rabbits. Intrigued, I hop across the road to find out more.

"These are," he says, pointing to Fluff and Stuff, "two very clever rabbits. They can tell fortunes."

Fair enough, for just one Turkish lira, I'll give it a go. One of the rabbits, I think it's Fluff, noses around inside a cardboard box and pulls out a small piece of white paper, which the rabbit owner then unwraps and reads.

"You will enjoy a long and prosperous life," the man says.

"Anything else?"

"You can try again if you give me another lira." I don't hang around because I'm anxious to get on with my long and prosperous life so I wink and suggest the same words are written - in Turkish - on every piece of paper.

Now confident about my own future, I wonder about the outlook for Turkey, a country with a complex and multi-layered history that continues to perch, precariously at times, between Europe and Asia, between democratic government and military rule, between a secular society and one influenced by Islam.
The influence of the Ottomans, who knocked about these parts for centuries, pervades Istanbul, nowhere more so than in the domed and beautiful mosaic hammams (bath houses), the crowning example being the Baths of Roxelana, with its towering steam rooms, ritual washing quarters, and extensive massage platforms. Roxelana - named after the wife of a sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, became an important social centre, particularly for Muslim women.

The baths were designated for the use of the congregation of Hagia Sophia when it was used as a mosque. The women's entrance was at one end of the building and the men's at the other. Oddly, the building is now a government-run upmarket carpet shop,

Hagia Sophia, built by Constantine the Great in the fourth century and reconstructed by Justinian in the sixth century, has twice burnt down and been rebuilt. For the past 16 years the ornate ceilings have been restored to their original glory, the work finishing only last year.

Istanbul's icons also include the Ottoman Empire's Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque and the grand palaces, Dolmabahce Palace and the Ciragan Palace.

No less impressive - and my personal favourite - is Basilica Cistern, the sixth century underground cistern below St Sophia Square, built by the Romans to bring water to palaces in the vicinity.

Tucked between and beyond the most popular tourists sites, life goes on in old Istanbul pretty much undisturbed. Turkish, Arab and Kurdish families still live side by side in early 20th century apartment blocks in streets surrounding the Galata Tower.

Read more on The West: Istanbul on the Hop

May 18, 2011

'Spiderman' Climber Saved by Safety Ropes

Known for illegally climbing some of the world's tallest buildings without ropes, Mr Robert was lucky that this time he was wearing a harness while attempting to climb Istanbul's Sapphire building.

It was at the top of the 261 metre high building that the Frenchman encountered trouble: "On the last 15 metres of the building unfortunately there is some grease, there is some oil inside the groove, that becomes impossible to jam the right foot."

After recovering from his slip, Mr Robert went on to complete the climb in one hour 50 minutes.

Read more on The Telegraph: 'Spiderman' Climber Saved by Safety Ropes

Istanbul Still Top Migration Destination, Figures Show

The rate of migration for Istanbul has more than doubled during the 2009-2010 period due to the city’s economic opportunities and income disparities between the country’s west and east, according to official statistics.

Experts’ opinions however diverge regarding possible effects of urban projects, such as the construction of a third Bosphorus bridge, adding two new cities to Istanbul and the Istanbul Canal, could have on net migration rates in Istanbul.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Still Top Migration Destination, Figures Show

Turkey to hold 12th Istanbul Biennial

Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the event will run from September 17 to November 13, 2011, presenting five group shows and 45 solo presentations by both established and emerging artists.

The Biennial will be held in a space conceived by Tokyo-based architect Ryue Nishizawa of Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates (SANAA) who won the prestigious 2010 Pritzker Prize.

The graphic design will be developed in collaboration with Jon Sueda of Stripe, San Francisco.

Read more on PressTV: Turkey to hold 12th Istanbul Biennial

Have A Holiday In Turkey – A Place Not To Miss Out On

When going to Turkey, make a stop at the Grand Bazaar. It offers some of the finest shopping in the whole country. It is located in Istanbul and had a variety of great places to shop. Some of the things you will find include antiques, jewelry and many other items that are hand made locally. All of the shops are setup in a way that categorizes them by the items they sell. This makes it easy to find exactly what you want.

There is also a fortress called the Maiden Tower that has been around for centuries. This was a traffic control center for watercraft vehicles for many years, and has since been turned into a fabulous tourist attraction. They have done various rebuilding and restoration projects to keep it in great condition so that people can continue to enjoy everything that it has to offer. The Maiden Tower has also been in a few movies and even a popular television show.

Read more on UK News Reporter: Have A Holiday In Turkey – A Place Not To Miss Out On

May 17, 2011

Turkish University to Offer Armenian Language Course

By SUSANNE FOWLER - Using a $23,500 grant from the German Marshall Fund’s Black Sea Trust, Kadir Has University in Istanbul plans to begin offering Armenian language lessons this month.

Serdar Dinler, director of the university’s Center for Lifelong Learning, said by telephone that the course would be taught by a doctoral candidate from Armenia as part of a cultural exchange between countries whose ties have been fraught for a century.

“Turkey is becoming an energy-transit corridor and a center for diplomacy in the region,” Mr. Dinler said. “Also the Turkish government has a new ‘zero problems’ policy with its neighbors, so we believe that the new generation in Turkey needs to have more dialogue with neighboring countries, including Armenia, Russia, Iran, Greece, etc. Knowing the language can only help.”

Kadir Has is a private university established along the Golden Horn in 1997 and named after its founder, a Turkish automotive magnate.

Read more on The New York Times: Turkish University to Offer Armenian Language Course

Nardis Prepares to Celebrate 10th birthday

One of the prominent jazz clubs in Turkey, Nardis, which successfully brings jazz musicians and audiences together, will celebrate its 10th birthday in 2012.

During preparations of its anniversary, owner Zuhal Focan told Hürriyet Daily News how a small performance hall in Istabul’s Tophane district turned into a successful jazz club despite lacking support from both from the government and big corporations, which often fund big jazz festivals. She stated the importance of the club for Turkish jazz history.

New projects are being prepared for the 10th anniversary, said Focan, adding that they are working on a documentary to tell the story of Nardis.

Nardis continues to host prominent names from Turkey and abroad this month. For example, Danny Lerman, a popular saxophonist, was on stage on May 13. Huseyin Badilli, the son of an Anatolian traditional composer and singer İsmail Badilli, and his band will play on May 31.

John D’Eart & Bob Hallahan & Francesco Anguili & Emre Kartarı Quartet will take the stage on May 25. Turkey’s first singer who had a master’s degree in jazz vocals, Ece Göksu will sing beautiful jazz standards on May 19.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Nardis Prepares to Celebrate 10th birthday

Istanbul Prepares for Cuban Legend Valdes

Revered Cuban musician Chucho Valdes, billed as one of the five best pianists of all time and the winner of eight Grammy awards to date, will take to the Cemal Reşit Rey (CRR) Concert Hall stage in Istanbul on Tuesday night.

Accompanied by the Afro-Cuban Messengers band, Valdes will play a selection of pieces from his Latin Grammy award-winning album, “Chucho’s Steps,” as well as a repertoire relating the history of Cuban jazz.

Tickets range from TL 50 to TL 80 in price and are available for purchase from the CRR box office or online at The concert starts at 8 p.m.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Istanbul Prepares for Cuban Legend Valdes