June 29, 2011

Bosphorus Canal: Questions Raised Over a ‘Crazy but Magnificent’ Project


The steel hulls of the oil tankers, container ships and other vessels passing Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace contrast starkly with the late Ottoman building’s architectural delicacy.

But aesthetic concerns are only one among many worries about the constant passage of such vast vessels along the treacherous Bosphorus strait, through the heart of a city of about 14m people.

After serious accidents in past decades both Turkish and international observers have long expressed concern about the potential for a catastrophe if a vessel suffered a serious accident or exploded in the strait, which links the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

Government plans, announced this year, to build a sea canal bypassing the city could allow inhabitants of the country’s commercial capital to sleep more easily at night by taking ships away from the crowded natural channel.

However, with weeks having passed without elaboration of the initial, sketchy announcement, questions are being asked about how serious plans are. Even Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, called the project “crazy and magnificent” when he announced it, in the run-up to the June 12 general election.

Luis Mateus, head of research at Geneva-based Riverlake Shipping, says plans are still in the early stages.

“I reckon we’re still about 10 years away from its being built,” he says.

Read more on Financial Times: Bosphorus Canal: Questions Raised Over a ‘Crazy but Magnificent’ Project

Istanbul: Something for the Urban Global Elite


“The cities of Europe are getting quieter, but Istanbul just keeps getting noisier,” says Görgün Taner, general director of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.

The city’s emergence as a travel destination, especially for a long weekend, has much to do with Turkey’s own transformation from economic disaster zone to booming regional powerhouse.

The opening of the modern art museum – a converted customs store on the European bank of the Bosphorus – is also both cause and effect.

Some city residents date Istanbul’s new-found global status to the growing popularity of the Istanbul Biennale, perhaps the central event at the museum and the latest manifestation of which opens in September.

Read more on Financial Times: Istanbul: Something for the Urban Global Elite

Istanbul Hotels: Four of the Best

From a former Ottoman palace to stylish boutique hotels, the four best places to stay in Istanbul, as selected by Francesca Syz.


Ibrahim Pasha

This quietly brilliant and intimate boutique hotel is the ideal option for those looking for something stylish, affordable and atmospheric (you won’t miss the morning call to prayer). Located in two adjoining townhouses in the heart of the historic Sultanahmet district, or Old Istanbul, Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is named after the most popular Grand Vizier (second in command to the Sultan) of the Ottoman Empire, whose next-door palace now houses the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. Like a chic private house, the hotel has 20 rooms, individually decorated with a mix of comfortable contemporary furniture, antiques and vibrant textiles.

While standard rooms are fine, the deluxe rooms are noticeably more spacious, so it’s worth paying the extra. The hotel has no restaurant, but a good buffet breakfast is served in the lobby, which has comfortable sofas and two open fireplaces, and there are lots of great restaurants close at hand. One of the hotel’s best features is its guest-only roof terrace and bar overlooking the domes and minarets of the dramatic Blue Mosque, with the Sea of Marmara beyond.

Read more on The Telegraph: Istanbul Hotels: Four of the Best

Homosexuals Demand Rights at Istanbul’s Gay Pride March


Thousands took to the streets Sunday to express their support for Turkey’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community and to protest against hate crimes on the last day of Istanbul’s 19th LGBT Pride Week in Taksim Square.

Independent Istanbul deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, also lent their support to the demonstration.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Homosexuals Demand Rights at Istanbul’s Gay Pride March

Countdown starts for Istanbul Jazz Festival

Featuring over 40 concerts and more than 300 local and foreign artists, the 18th Istanbul Jazz Festival will kick off Friday, continuing through until July 19.

Building on its success last year, the second Tünel Feast will be run the first weekend of the festival with a program even more comprehensive than last year’s schedule. The “festival within the festival” begins Saturday and will continue until the late hours with concerts, workshops, special exhibitions, treats and events in the streets throughout Beyoğlu, Şişhane, Galata and Asmalımescit, alongside the main stages at Tünel and Galata squares.

The festival is being organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, or İKSV, and sponsored by Garanti Bank.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Countdown starts for Istanbul Jazz Festival

Ballet Star Bolle Set for Istanbul Appearance

Famous Italian ballet dancer Roberto Bolle is set to enchant Istanbul with an exclusive gala show at Istanbul’s Cemil Topuzlu open-air theater next month, news agencies reported this week.


Arriving in Istanbul on Monday for a four-day trip to promote his show titled “Roberto Bolle and Friends,” the 36-year-old heartthrob was greeted at Istanbul Atatürk Airport by students of the classical ballet department of İstanbul University State Conservatory, who presented him with flowers, the Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.

Read more on Zaman:Ballet Star Bolle Set for Istanbul Appearance

Naked Woman Told the Events She Lived in Istanbul

American photographer-model Miru Kim taking off and posed to camera at Istanbul. She had done this at London, Seoul, Paris and she had exhibited these photos at NY.


She posed 2010-March and April in Istanbul. She and her team member worked at areas where people can't see them; historical buildings museums and some old and poor quarters etc. But they lived some problems with some people who have seen her naked.

Read more on OpEdNews: Naked Woman Told the Events She Lived in Istanbul

Turkey's Largest Aquarium Opens to Large Crowds


Turkey's largest aquarium has been drawing thousands of visitors since Saturday, when it was opened by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş.

Visitors will be able to see 15,000 species of fish at the Istanbul Aquarium, which features 16 regions of the world, from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Inside the aquarium are an exploration trail, an interactive rain forest and next-generation technology.

Erdoğan said this was another important step in Istanbul's desire to become one of the top 10 cities in the world and one of the top five cities in Europe for tourism.

Read more on World Bulletin: Turkey's Largest Aquarium Opens to Large Crowds

June 27, 2011

Istanbul Archaeology Museum turning 120

Istanbul’s premier Archaeology Museum is now 120 years old with a history all its own. The idea of an imperial museum in Istanbul emerged during an era when Ottoman authorities began trying to Westernize the empire.


The architecture of the museum reflects the styles that were in vogue in Istanbul during the 19th century.

Istanbul’s Archaeology Museum is celebrating its double diamond jubilee this month with more visitors than ever expected to come through its doors.

The museum welcomed a quarter of a million visitors last year, thanks in large part to renovations conducted for Istanbul’s tenure as the 2010 European Capital of Culture. But while the museum has become one of Istanbul’s best repositories for displaying the city’s ancient history, the facility itself has a history all its own, stretching well back into the 1800s.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Archaeology Museum turning 120

Istanbul Jazz Festival Hits the Streets

In this year’s Istanbul Jazz Festival, which runs from July 1 to 19, world-class performers hit the stage at interesting new venues throughout city. Now in its 18th year, the festival, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, is a major date for European jazz fans, but it is also an opportunity to explore Istanbul through the unusual selection of performance locations.


In recent years, the festival has moved from more traditional performance venues to an eclectic collection of concert sites — essentially using the city as a stage. A quintet led by Herbie Hancock will perform a tribute to Miles Davis at the Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater, where Paul Simon also will perform on July 19. In the former Byzantine Church of Hagia Eirine, the beloved local percussionist Misirli Ahmet, accompanied by Zakir Hussain, also a percussionist, will perform with the sitar virtuoso Niladri Kumar. The bassist Richard Bona and the singer and guitarist Raúl Midón will give a concert in the courtyard of the Archaeological Museum.

Read more on The New York Times: Istanbul Jazz Festival Hits the Streets

Turkish Gay Pride March Draws Thousands


Thousands of Turks marched through Istanbul in a demonstration calling for improved rights and greater social acceptance for the country's homosexual community.

Activists say the annual Turkish Gay Pride Parade, now in its ninth year, is the only march of its kind in a majority-Muslim country. Several thousand supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights carried signs and rainbow flags as they made their way down one of Istanbul's busiest pedestrian thoroughfares.

Participants chanted slogans against harassment and blew whistles, waved large rainbow flags and carried signs in Turkish and English that sported messages like "We're everywhere, get used to it" and "Dance, dance, against homophobia, dance."

Read more on CNN: Turkish Gay Pride March Draws Thousands

9th European Universities Football Championship in Istanbul


The 9th European Universities Football Championship tournament takes place in Istanbul, Turkey and University teams from all over Europe are due to take part.

The event is being organised by a committee that also represents the European University Sports Association and the Turkish University Sports Federation. The hosts are the champions of the 8th European Universities Football Championship Halic University Istanbul.

There will be both a men’s and a women’s tournament and the matches will be taking place at a number of stadiums in Istanbul, including the Sariyer Stadium, the Marmara University Stadium, and the Eyup Stadium. Istanbul has a long and varied history and visitors will be able to do more than watch football, as the city is the cultural centre of the country.

Read more on National Turk: 9th European Universities Football Championship in Istanbul

Istanbul Secures Presence in World Heritage List

Istanbul has finally been assured that it will not be threatened with exclusion from UNESCO’s World Heritage List, according to a decision made by the organization’s board Thursday in Paris.


Last year, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee issued a statement that the city’s exclusion from the World Heritage List would be discussed at the board’s annual meeting in Brazil.

Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, UNESCO Turkey Representative Gürcan Türkoğlu said the decision was particularly important, because it also stated that Istanbul’s exclusion would not be on the agenda again.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Secures Presence in World Heritage List

Istanbul: Where Europe and Asia Collide

With its jumble of Byzantine cathedrals, Ottoman mosques and contemporary tower blocks, Istanbul is one of the world's most historic cities as well as a clamorous modern metropolis.


Straddling both Europe and Asia - making it the only city in the world to sit across two continents - Istanbul buzzes with a collision of cultures.

However, with its myriad of historic buildings, museums and colorful eateries, it's also extremely popular with tourists, particularly at this time of year.

If you're keen to avoid the hustle and bustle then Istanbul, set on a peninsula against the gleaming waters of the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus Strait, is perhaps most enjoyably experienced with the aid of a sail boat.

Here, with the help of Lonely Planet travel editor Tom Hall, is MainSail's guide to some of Istanbul's best waterside attractions.

Read more on CNN: Istanbul: Where Europe and Asia Collide

Spanish diva Paloma San Basilio Makes Turkey Debut with ‘Invierno Sur’


Paloma San Basilio, one of the most successful and beloved figures of the Latin music scene, finally made her debut in Turkey this week with the release of her 2007 album “Invierno Sur” through the EMI Music Turkey label.

You were in Istanbul once for an exclusive photo shoot in historical places for a Spanish magazine. How did you like İstanbul?

You can feel its cultural richness in every single corner. I was so impressed with almost all the places we visited for the shootings. I had a chance to see the Dolmabahçe [Palace], the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern and the Aya Sofya [Museum]. We also had a great time on the Bosporus. I even did some shopping at the Grand Bazaar. It was planned as a two-day trip for the shoot but we missed the plane. But I didn't care about missing the flight because I had a chance to enjoy the city for one more day. Istanbul is a great city.

Read more on Zaman: Spanish diva Paloma San Basilio Makes Turkey Debut with ‘Invierno Sur’

Yenikapı Metro Dig Reveals Fifth-Century Shipwreck

Archeological digs at Yenikapı, the site of excavations for an important transfer hub in Istanbul's metro system, the Marmaray project, have revealed yet another marvel: an intact shipwreck believed to be from the fifth century, complete with its load.


Researchers, who have been working on the site since 2004, are in the process of uncovering the well-preserved remains of the ship. One archeologist said this is probably the first time in the world that a shipwreck had been found with its full load and timber frame completely in tact.

“The width of the wreck is about five meters. This is one gunwale. There is probably another one which has not yet been uncovered. Some of the amphoras on top [of the cargo] are broken but those in the lower layers appear to be intact. This is the largest cargo ship yet to be uncovered. There is no other example in the world of a shipwreck where the timber of the ship as well as its load are in such good condition. If the wreck had been at sea, it would not have been this well preserved,” said archeologist Mehmet Ali Polat, quoted by the Radikal daily on Wednesday.

Read more on Zaman: Yenikapı Metro Dig Reveals Fifth-Century Shipwreck

June 26, 2011

Travel: From Byzantium to Constantinople to Istanbul


Denny Stein - They don't make magic carpets anymore, and if they did you'd probably have to pay a fee for each suitcase and extra legroom. It's a long flight from San Francisco to Istanbul, but it worth every minute of stale air and leg cramps.

The Old Town section is called Sultanhamet. Its streets are cobblestoned and narrow, the stone or wood buildings lean in toward you, or rest comfortably against each other. Small cafes and bufes materialize when you are hungry, or a man with a cart full of warm sesame sprinkled simet approaches. For one Turkish Lira you get a crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside cross between a bagel and a soft pretzel, and a smile from the vendor. Every experience we had in Sultanhamet was enchanting, near magical. But then of course, we had on our "visitors' goggles."

Read more on Tri-City Voice: Travel: From Byzantium to Constantinople to Istanbul

Istanbul Music Festival, Review

Presented under the banner of “Journeys to Faraway Lands”, this year’s Istanbul Music Festival puts Turkish composers and musicians into a mix featuring performers and works from around the world. Elsewhere, that might sound like a catch-all theme, yet here it makes complete sense. Taking as its starting point the Années de pèlerinage of Liszt in his bicentennial year, the entire programme flows naturally in a city that has long been at the cultural crossroads.

And it’s impossible not to feel Istanbul’s cultural heritage when listening to music here. Most of the concerts are given in the ideal acoustics of the fourth-century Byzantine church of Hagia Eirene (the only such church not to have been converted into a mosque, and now a museum) in the outer courtyard of the Topkapi Palace, in the shadow of Hagia Sophia.

Read more on The Telegraph: Istanbul Music Festival, Review

June 23, 2011

Roberto Cavalli : Holiday in Turkey, Partying With Belly Dancers

Prominent designer Roberto Cavalli spotted yesterday enjoying wonderful Istanbul nights, by having dinner and belly dancers party at Turkey holiday.

The famed designer paid a visit to Turkish Lebanese restaurant Arabesque during his visit in İstanbul last night and by the looks of things, he had a great time.

Read more on National Turk: Roberto Cavalli : Holiday in Turkey, Partying With Belly Dancers

Opera Gets 21st Century Makeover at Istanbul Festival

The city’s historic venues -- including Yıldız Palace, Topkapı Palace, the Rumeli Fortress and the Aya İrini Museum -- will be home to 18 opera performances from July 1 to 21 for the second edition of the Istanbul Opera Festival, launched last year as part of the city’s tenure in 2010 as a European Capital of Culture.


In one of the festival’s much-talked about posters, model/actress Sedef Avcı is seen getting in a cab at the gate of the Yıldız Palace while in another, actor Yetkin Dikinciler, as Sultan Mehmet II, converses with young people in Tophane. Another poster shows baritone Kenan Dağaşan in the role of Sultan Murat IV as he points to a target for the riot police in Beyoğlu’s Tünel quarter. Other posters depict singer/actress Zuhal Olcay as she poses for a street artist in Salacak, and actor Selçuk Yöntem captured by paparazzi as he exits the Adile Sultan Palace with a young woman next to him.

The festival’s posters feature scenes from present-day Istanbul, everyday people, characters from opera pieces and celebrities. Yekta Kara, the artistic director of the İstanbul Opera Festival and chief director of the State Opera and Ballet General Directorate (DOBGM), tells us why.




Read more on Zaman: Opera Gets 21st Century Makeover at Istanbul Festival

CITY GUIDE: ISTANBUL

One of the most striking things about Turkey's largest city is its youthfulness. Long celebrated for its mix of East and West, Istanbul capitalises on its ancient roots even as it moves into the 21st century. The Sultanahmet district is the old city; Beyoğlu is the 19th-century European quarter; Nisantasi, with its malls and restaurants, is the stomping ground of the bourgeoisie; lastly, the Asian side offers leafy neighbourhoods and swanky waterfront pads. And swirling about everything is the Bosphorus, the body of water that defines Istanbul.


Read more on Yahoo Lifestyle: CITY GUIDE: ISTANBUL

June 22, 2011

Istanbul, Ankara to host king of pop Elton John

Pop music fans in Turkey are counting down the last two weeks until they can see Sir Elton John, one of the most influential musicians of all time, perform two live gigs in Istanbul and Ankara in early July.

The pop icon will be onstage the night of July 5 at Istanbul’s Küçükçiftlik Park open-air concert area and on July 6 in the Turkish capital at the Ankara Arena in what will be his second visit to Turkey in 10 years.

The concerts are part of the Elton John 2011 World Tour, which kicked off on Jan. 26 at the Stade Couvert Régional de Liévin in France, taking the flamboyant superstar to 47 cities across 21 countries.

Read more on Zaman: Istanbul, Ankara to host king of pop Elton John

Amy Winehouse : Instead of Concert, Vacation in Istanbul

After troubled British singer Amy Winehouse has announced she cancelled her concerts in Turkey and Greece, following a disastrous drunken performance in Serbia, Winehouse stays now in Istanbul for vacation.


“She has agreed with management that she cannot perform to the best of her ability and will return home.” stated the official announcement from her manager and the head of the concert organisation. However she seems to have found the right environment for sobriety and brief rehab in Istanbul, Turkey.

Read more on National Turk: Amy Winehouse : Instead of Concert, Vacation in Istanbul

Walking Holidays in the Sun: Greece or Turkey

If you're planning walking holidays in the sunny climes, you'll certainly have plenty of gorgeous destinations to choose from. Offering sun, sea and historical attractions, Greece and Turkey are both perfectly suited to this kind of trip.


Of course, each destination has its own attractions and the types of things you're hoping to see and do will largely guide you on where you want to go. You can choose between independent walking trips - during which your tour operator will provide you with maps and routes, but you ultimately explore on your own - or guided tours, where an experienced guide will walk with you each day.

Visiting Istanbul - once dubbed 'New Rome' - you will be able to see amazing architectural feats such as the famous Blue Mosque, as well as immerse yourself in the local culture by exploring bustling markets and colourful, lively bazaars.

Read more on Travelbite: Walking Holidays in the Sun: Greece or Turkey

+1T Design Days Kick off with Enthusiastic Participants


The sixth annual +1T Newspaper and Design Days started on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Zaman daily in Istanbul with the participation of 300 enthusiastic young designers.

The headquarters of the Zaman daily in Istanbul is to host 300 enthusiastic young designers at the sixth annual +1T Newspaper and Design Days aimed at educating designers of the future about the relationship between news and design

Attendees will participate in eight days of seminars aimed at educating designers of the future about the relationship between news and design. The program brings together experts in the field from both Turkey and abroad.

Read more on Zaman: +1T Design Days Kick off with Enthusiastic Participants

Ricky Martin Peforms at Cemil Topuzlu Hall

Broadway-bound Ricky Martin, who will soon appear in the Broadway revival of EVITA, just performed at Cemil Topuzlu Hall in Istanbul.




Read more on Broadway World: Ricky Martin Peforms at Cemil Topuzlu Hall

June 20, 2011

The Jewel of Istanbul


King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, Emperor Franz Joseph, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Sarah Bernhardt, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis have strolled through the halls of this iconic hotel. Being the prominent symbol of Istanbul's urban culture for over a century, Pera Palace has always been the heart of the heart of the cosmopolitan Istanbul, bringing together neo-classical, art nouveau and oriental styles in an elegant mix.

In fact there is more to Pera Palace than meets the eye. The hotel was the first building in Istanbul to have electricity, an electric lift and the only running hot water. In addition to its magnificent original nineteenth-century features such as precious white Carrara marble and exquisite Murano glass chandeliers, Pera Palace-of-2011 also features hi-tech services that guarantee the luxury and comfort it once did.

Read more on Brand Critique: The Jewel of Istanbul

Long-awaited Amy Winehouse Visits Istanbul for the First Time | Revised


World popular singer Amy Winehouse will perform on June 20 at Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park as part of the promotional tour of her new album.

The 27-year-old Winehouse is the first British singer to win five Grammy Awards including three of the “Big Four,” which are Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. She has been credited as being an influence in the rise in popularity of female musicians and soul music and revitalizing British music.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amy Winehouse canceled part of her European tour on Sunday, a day after the British singer was heavily booed for being late and displaying erratic behavior on stage during a concert in Serbia.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Long-awaited Amy Winehouse Visits Istanbul for the First Time

Istanbul Becoming Proud of Pride Week

Turkey’s LGBT communities and their supporters will be flying the rainbow flag high as Istanbul’s 19th Pride Week kicks off Monday. A week of events will be capped by next week’s Pride Parade, during which thousands will march against discrimination. The Hürriyet Daily News talks to event organizer Rüzgar Gökçe Gözüm about the week’s history.


It’s that time of the year for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, people to put on their high heels, get their rainbow flags out of the closet and strut their stuff on the street to Lady Gaga’s anthem on acceptance, “Born This Way.”

June is Pride Month in many countries as LGBT communities the world hold events in time with the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots that kick-started the gay rights movement in the United States.

It was not until Pride Week’s 10th anniversary that the event closed with a parade. “The first Pride Parade took place on İstiklal Avenue with the participation of not more than 30 people. But the number increased exponentially each year, with around 5,000 people gathering and marching against homophobia and transphobia last year,” Rüzgar Gökçe Gözüm, a volunteer both for lambdaistanbul and an organizer of Pride Week, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Becoming Proud of Pride Week

Blueprints for 3,000mph Hypersonic Plane are Unveiled


Plans were yesterday unveiled for the first hypersonic passenger jet, which would use three sets of engines to reach 3,125mph, more than four times the speed of sound, known as Mach 4.


A flight to Istanbul (from London) would take 30 minutes, and the plane could reach the east coast of the U.S. in around one hour

Read more on Daily Mail: Blueprints for 3,000mph Hypersonic Plane are Unveiled

Istanbul Event Builds Cultural Bridge Between Turkey and Turkmenistan

A three-day event co-organized by the Turkish and Turkmen ministries of culture, which aims to highlight the dynamic development of a strategic partnership between the two countries and the aspirations of the Turkmen and Turkish peoples to enhance friendship and mutual confidence, kicked off on Saturday in Istanbul.


The cultural event, titled “Turkmenistan Culture Days,” is a result of top-level agreements between Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and Turkish President Abdullah Gül and aims to promote Turkmen culture for three days. An inauguration ceremony was held at the Istanbul-based Fatih University on Saturday with the attendance of high-level Turkmen and Turkish officials.

Read more on Zaman: Istanbul Event Builds Cultural Bridge Between Turkey and Turkmenistan

Cristiano Ronaldo Rocks Istanbul's Beyoğlu


World-famous soccer player of Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team, Cristiano Ronaldo, was in Istanbul on Saturday as the guest of Beşiktaş Chairman Yıldırım Demirören, drawing a huge crowd to İstikal Street in Taksim, where he attended the inauguration ceremony of a shopping mall owned by Demirören.

Read more on Zaman: Cristiano Ronaldo Rocks Istanbul's Beyoğlu

Istanbul Goes Comic Strip Crazy


Long gone are the days when the concept of comic strips forged an irrevocable association with images of nerdy teenage boys of the antisocial variety. For as recent decades have shown, the barbed humor of this diverse arts medium not only has the power to engage the attention of millions of avid followers of all ages worldwide but has proved to be a potent weapon in the tackling of unspoken and otherwise taboo personal and political struggles from both the past and the present.

Last October marked a considerable step in the development of a comic network in Turkey with the establishment of IstanBulles, the First International Comics Festival of Istanbul, a 10-day event curated by comic book historian Didier Pasamonik. Inspired by the encouraging response to October’s events, Pasamonik returned once more to the Turkish cultural capital, where he has played an integral role in the coordination of the “Comic Strips in the Second Degree” exhibition, which opened on Thursday at the Istanbul French Institute in the city’s Taksim neighborhood.

Read more on Zaman: Istanbul Goes Comic Strip Crazy

Conventional Istanbul Bazaars Slowly Being Phased Out

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, and for centuries bazaars in the city represented the center of commercial exchange, stocking everything from daily grocery requirements to quilts and household needs.


Today, Istanbul is filled with multi-complex shopping malls and shopping districts, selling a wide range of national and international brand names. The bazaar concept is slowly being phased out in the fast-paced, dynamic city, but its remnants linger as many historic bazaars continue to stand their ground. Modern shopping facilities in Istanbul are a delicate mix of old and new as demonstrated by the existing bazaars, markets, shopping districts and shopping malls.

Although many Turks still appreciate the historic charm of the Grand Bazaar, most will tell you that the nowadays they specifically cater to tourists, from the items that they sell at exaggerated prices. In fact, most bazaars, apart from a distinct few, have slowly started to be phased out and do not cater, like they once did, to the shopping needs of Istanbulites.

Read more on Zaman: Conventional Istanbul Bazaars Slowly Being Phased Out

June 19, 2011

WikiLeaks' Assange to Travel to Turkey for Media Conference

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will travel to Turkey this October to deliver a speech during the “New Media Order Conference” to be held in Istanbul, news reports said on Tuesday.


Assange will deliver a speech at the conference, scheduled to be held at the Lütfü Kırdar Convention Center in Istanbul. The conference will also host Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wales will give a speech on the topic of the democratization of knowledge. The conference is slated for Oct. 5.

Read more on Zaman: WikiLeaks' Assange to Travel to Turkey for Media Conference

Music Festival to Tell Tales from the East

The Hagia Irene Museum hosted “Tales from the East” on Saturday as part of the 39th Istanbul Music Festival.

The young and multi-faceted artist Nicola Benedetti performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto at the concert, accompanied by Turkey’s first private academic international artistic ensemble, the Bilkent Symphony, which played under the baton of Işın Metin.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Music Festival to Tell Tales from the East

Spanish Day Celebrations to Paint Galata Red

Lovers of Spanish culture and language gathered in Istanbul’s Galata Square on Saturday for a Spanish-themed day of activities in celebration of the third annual June 18 Spanish Language Day, courtesy of the Cervantes Institute.

The Istanbul Cervantes Institute has prepared an exciting program for Spanish Language Day, kicking off with a morning vocabulary test bright and early at 11 a.m. and continuing to 8 p.m., when the day’s events wraped up with a twilight flamenco dance performance thanks to Istanbul-based Andalusian flamenco dancer Manuel Reina.

Throughout the day’s events, participants had the opportunity to put their language skills to the test, tuck into a vast Spanish breakfast spread, better their skills in Latino dance workshops, watch some breathtaking flamenco performances and bask in the buzz of Latin music all day long.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Spanish Day Celebrations to Paint Galata Red

The Beauty of Trade at the Grand Bazaar

Doug French - The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul has been a beehive of mutually beneficial exchanges for 550 years. Americans may think of Rodeo Drive or Madison Avenue when they think shopping, but while everyone pays the sticker price in America, price tags are rare at the Grand Bazaar.


Show any interest in an item at one of the 4,300 shops in the bazaar and the proprietor or store employee will engage you immediately. If English is your language and he doesn't speak it, in seconds someone will appear who does. This shopping experience isn't anything like a leisurely stroll through Walmart, where you only occasionally spot blue-smock- and big-button-wearing employees.

With thousands of choices, shopkeepers try a variety of come-ons to get passing shoppers to look at their wares. Some make you feel foolish: "You look lost, come in my shop." Others make you laugh: "Let me sell you something you don't need," or "Cheaper than Walmart!" And then there's the appeal to the shopper's ego: "You look like a professional rug buyer. Come and see my selection."

Read more on Campaign for Liberty: The Beauty of Trade at the Grand Bazaar

Turning Lemons into Lemonade


I love İstanbul -- it’s an amazing city with so many sights and hidden treasures that the possible list of favorite things is endless. When one considers the architecture, history, art and the number of people from all over the world with whom I get to interact, I become even more enamored.

But when I get together with my expat friends, invariably the conversation will turn to the problems in İstanbul. As I listen to people talking, I am reminded that the problems they are talking about seem more to do with living in a big city rather than problems that can be attributed solely to Turkish customs or culture.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Vana Barba Visits Istanbul Regarding New TV Show


Vana Barba was in Istanbul for the preparation of a show that she will present. ’The webcast’ talks about the common traits of Greece and Turkey and will be screened simultaneously in both nations. It is produced by Mary Ekmektsioglou and directed by Erdal Murat Aktaş.

Read more on Greek Reporter: Vana Barba Visits Istanbul Regarding New TV Show

Greece Consulate in Istanbul Hosts 3-day Event for East Macedonia and Thrace

The Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul and the Periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace organise at the Sismanoglio Megaro a three-day event dedicated to the tourist destinations, attractions and culture of East Macedonia and Thrace.The opening was held on Friday, 17 June, at 19.00, at the Sismanoglio Megaro.


Under the motto “We are next to you”, the prefectures of Drama, Kavala, Ksanthi, Rodope and Evros, and the islands of Thassos and Samothrace come to Istanbul from 17 to 19 June 2011. A place of unrivalled beauty, endowed with crystal-clear sea water, virgin forests, archaeological sites of unique interest, with byzantine citadels, ottoman monuments and traditional settlements that take the visitor back to time, East Macedonia and Thrace is an exceptional gateway to the history and culture of Europe and the Balkans.

Read more on FTN New: Greece Consulate in Istanbul Hosts 3-day Event for East Macedonia and Thrace

June 18, 2011

American Doctors, Nurses Share Experiences of Turkey


The city of Istanbul and Turkish culture were promoted by 22 American doctors and nurses who visited İstanbul this past April during an event on Thursday as part of a program organized by the Turkish Employee Resource Group at Cleveland Clinic.

The event was supported by the Cleveland Clinic Office of Diversity and Inclusion and sponsored by a local Turkish-American-owned business, Dervish Restaurant, and the Turkish Embassy in Washington. The event was free and included the sharing of Turkish cuisine, music and photography. Approximately 250 Cleveland Clinic employees attended the event.

Read more on Today's Zaman: American Doctors, Nurses Share Experiences of Turkey

Warhol's Beauties and Celebrities Come to Life in Istanbul

Displaying works that captured the beauty of the glamorous in the everyday, Istanbul’s Galerist is hosting a much-anticipated exhibition of iconic 20th-century artist Andy Warhol throughout June.


The show centers on the famous artist’s films and polaroids, which are coming to Turkey’s largest city for the first time.

Galerist’s branches in Galatasaray and Pera are featuring such Warhol films as “Lupe,” starring Sedgwick and made in 1965; “Empire,” a 16-millimeter film from 1964; “Blow Jo,” another 16-millimeter film from 1964; “Camp” from 1965; “Horse,” also from 1965, and “Mario Banana No.1” from 1964.

The exhibition will continue until July 9.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Warhol's Beauties and Celebrities Come to Life in Istanbul

Golden Moments at the Istanbul Music Festival


Russian pianist Anna Vinnitskaya played a powerful and expressive concert of the music from her homeland -- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Four Seasons” and Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” -- at the Istanbul Modern Museum.

June 8, the fourth concert of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art’s (İKSV) İstanbul Music Festival, was the organization’s first time to use this museum as a classical music venue. Acoustically, it was ideal for letting the romantic Russian pianistic tradition sweep you away. And Vinnitskaya did just that.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Golden Moments at the Istanbul Music Festival