June 24, 2012

Shop Istanbul: A Fashionista's Paradise

When it comes to shopping destinations, the main ones that spring to mind are Paris, New York, London and Milan. But right now Istanbul is the place to go. This Turkish hot spot that spans continents, civilizations, cultures and beliefs, is rapidly becoming not only a shopping hub, but also one of entertainment and culture.

During the Istanbul Shopping Fest, the streets of one of the most dynamic cities in the world, where east meets west, sparkle with lights and decorations. A whole range of cultural activities take place: concerts; street parties; parades; and competitions, bringing Istanbul's shopping centres and main shopping streets to life.

During the three week festival, which is in its second year, you'll have the chance to bag yourself a bargain from new collections offering generous discounts of up to 50 per cent. It's an exciting chance for shopping lovers to see another side of this city whilst experiencing shopping between two diverse continents on the same day. And there's an extra bonus – as a foreign visitor, you'll be able to claim back part of the VAT at the TAX FREE points located in the shopping centres around the city!

Read more on Hello Magazine: Shop Istanbul: A Fashionista's Paradise

The Many Tastes of Istanbul Gather in a New Series of ‘Istanbul’s 100 Faces’

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Culture Inc. has done it again. This time Culture Inc. has produced “Istanbul’s 100 Dishes,” (“Istanbul’un 100 Lezzeti” in Turkish) as part of its Istanbul’s 100 Faces series. Prepared by researcher Nilgun Tatli, the book offers a glimpse into the food culture of the city which has been enriched with the fusion of several cultures from Roman to Turkish cuisine seasoned with Greek, Armenian and Arabic offerings. The purpose of the book is to let future generations know about Istanbul’s culinary culture and encourage them to keep its heritage alive.

In the introduction to the book, the author presents information on the development and variation of the Istanbul kitchen, the organization of the kitchen and its hierarchy, the vessels and utensils used in cooking, the layout of the traditional Turkish table, table etiquette and what sultans were accustomed to eating and drinking.

“Istanbul’s 100 Dishes” contains 11 chapters devoted to soups, meat dishes, seafood, olive oil dishes, salads, pickles, beans, pastries, milk products and sherbets.

The book has many stories about the dishes which span from the Ottoman period to today, expounding on their names, the characteristics of the ingredients used in the dishes and many interesting details on the value of these ingredients. There are even menus containing the dishes prepared in the palace kitchens.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily NewsThe Many Tastes of Istanbul Gather in a New Series of ‘Istanbul’s 100 Faces’

June 23, 2012

A Show Prepared Especially for Istanbul

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) celebrates its 40th anniversary with a new project titled “Istanbul Istanbul.” The foundation commissioned La Fura dels Baus, a world renowned theater company known for creating magnificent street theater, digital theater and opera shows, to organize a show for the anniversary celebration.

The world premiere of the project was made on June 21 and 22 at Haliç Camialtı Tersaneleri at 9 p.m.

“Istanbul Istanbul” was promoted June 18 at a press conference held at Haliç Camialtı Tersaneleri by IKSV Director Görgün Taner, the Istanbul Theater Festival Director Dikmen Gürün along with the art directors of La Fura dels Baus, Alex Olle and Carlus Padrissa.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: A Show Prepared Especially for Istanbul

Daily Life in Istanbul

The sun rises behind the Blue Mosque in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul on February 22, 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey. Though not the capital, Istanbul is the cultural, economic, and financial heart of Turkey with a population of over 13 million people. Situated on the Bosphorus strait, this metropolis, a former capital of the Roman Empire, spans Europe and Asia, the only city in the world to cross two continents. The city is dominated by historical monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman era, with modern nightclubs, up-market restaurants and boutique hotels helping the city become a tourist hotspot. Istanbul was awarded the status of European Capital of Culture in 2010.

See more photos on San Francisco Chronicle: Daily Life in Istanbul

Istanbul Presented a Nature Friendly Festival

ECOFEST Istanbul is a culture, arts and social responsibility project aimed at developing broader environmental public awareness and encouraging a nature-friendly and sustainable living culture in many fields - from manufacturing to design and energy to nutrition.

Istanbul hosted Turkey’s first international ecology festival from June 8 to June 10.

Bringing together environmentally sensitive disciplines and sectors, ECOFEST Istanbul events and fair booths were based primarily at Küçükçiftlik Park, but also spread to the streets of Nişantaşı.

The events included thematic concerts, open kitchen and taste activities, ecological fashion shows, workshops for kids, recycled art works, installations, street events and many other festivities.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Presented a Nature Friendly Festival

Contemporary Istanbul Announcing First Edition of Art Istanbul

On Thursday 14 June 2012, Contemporary Istanbul announced the creation of a new fair: Art Istanbul.

From 19 to 25 November 2012, the first edition of Art Istanbul, which will be dedicated to contemporary Turkish culture, will take place. Istanbul is one the richest major cities in the world when it comes to cultural supply. The fair will display a cultural program rich in collaborations with contemporary art galleries and major institutions such as the Istanbul Modern, the Pera Museum, and auction houses.

As stated by Ali Güreli, president of Contemporary Istanbul, “With the launching of Art Istanbul, we are planning to create a key moment in the international artistic agenda that gathers the most important art institutions and galleries in Istanbul, will display an exceptional week-long program rich in events, and will run in parallel of Contemporary Istanbul.” The new art fair confirms and strengthens Istanbul’s presence in the international artistic sector.

Contemporary Istanbul is the most important art event in Turkey and a place of exchange between Turkish art and international art. In 2012, it will launch its seventh edition, dedicated to the emerging galleries and artists in the Balkans.

Istanbul Opera Festival with Performances for Everyone

Being one of the biggest organizations of the Directorate General of State Opera and Ballet, the Istanbul International Opera Festival will kick off July 7 and host many opera performances and artists until July 19.

The third International Istanbul Opera Festival will host performances at Istanbul’s best historical and authentic venues, such as Hagia Irene and Topkapı Palace.

A press conference, which was organized in Çırağan Palace Kempinski Hotel, was held to reveal this year’s program. The festival, which includes opera pieces that are subject to Turkish culture and lifestyles, aims to combine them with this city’s ambience and authentic places.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Opera Festival with Performances for Everyone

In Istanbul, a Showcase for International Artists

For 40 years, the Istanbul Music Festival has brought performers from around the globe to evocative settings in Turkey’s cultural capital, and this year is no exception.

The festival, which runs through June 29, showcases performers like the Paris-based virtuoso Kudsi Erguner and his ensemble, playing 15th- and 16th-century Renaissance and Ottoman music inside the sixth-century Hagia Eirene Museum; the Portuguese fado artist Ana Moura singing in the garden courtyard of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum; and the İstanbul Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Hakan Sensoy in a program called “Women Heroes of Music” that pays homage to Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann and Fehime Sultan, at the jewel-box Sureyya Opera House on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Other internationally known performers during the festival include the French pianist Helene Grimaud, who is performing at the Hagia Eirene Museum; and the Montenegrin classical guitarist Milos, who is playing a recital inside the lushly decorated Istanbul University Rectorate Building. The festival has also struck a political note with what may be its hottest ticket this year: The celebrated Turkish pianist Fazil Say, a critic of the Islamist-rooted government, is to present the world premiere of his Symphony No 2 “Mesopotamia” along with the Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra on June 23 at the Halic Congress Center on the shores of the Golden Horn. Mr. Say is set to go to trial on Oct. 18 on charges that his comments on Twitter about paradise and atheism insulted Islamic values.

Read more on The New York Times: In Istanbul, a Showcase for International Artists

Istanbul Ranks at 79th Spot in Cost of Living

Istanbul ranks 79 in terms of cost of living, according to the 2012 Mercer Cost of Living Study, which analyzed 214 global cities on five continents. Turkey dropped nine notches from last year becoming a cheaper city to live in.

Tokyo was listed as the most expensive city in the world in terms of cost of living with Luanda Angola in second. The report also noted that European cities became cheaper this year compared to the year before.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Ranks at 79th Spot in Cost of Living

Restaurant Hopping on Istanbul's Princes' Islands

Whenever we're in need of a vacation but can't afford the airfare, we take a ferry to Princes' Islands, a lovely archipelago just off Istanbul's Asian shore. For the price of just a few lira, we're transported to a small slice of traffic-free paradise where, if we manage to get away from the crowds and explore some of the islands' quiet back streets, we feel as if we've found our way back to the late 19th century and an Istanbul that no longer exists on the mainland.

We're especially fond of the islands in springtime, when their Judas, mimosa and wild plum trees are starting to bloom and a walk along one of their tranquil trails serves as the perfect cure for the lingering effects of the Istanbul winter blues. Of course, a good meal is essential any time of the year, and we've been lucky enough to find a few spots on the islands that are worthy destinations in and of themselves.

Read more on The Guardian: Restaurant hopping on Istanbul's Princes' Islands

Turkey Plans Giant Istanbul Mosque For All To See

Turkey commissioned a “giant mosque” to sit atop an Istanbul peak that will be visible from everywhere in the city of 15 million, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

The Islamic house of worship is one of six new mosques planned for the eastern half of the city that straddles Europe and Asia, Erdogan told supporters at a traditional handworks art center in Istanbul yesterday, according to state-run Anatolia news agency.

Work on the mosque on top of the Camlica hill on the Bosphorus may start in two months, Erdogan said. The complex, which will also include madrasas, or religious schools, will be built on 15,000 square meters (50,000 square feet), according to the premier.

Read more on Bloomberg: Turkey Plans Giant Istanbul Mosque For All To See

Red Bull X-Fighters Istanbul Canceled

The third stop of the 2012 Red Bull X-Fighters International Freestyle Motocross world tour was canceled Saturday because of heavy winds at the venue at Kazliçesme Square in Istanbul, reducing the 2012 tour from six stops to five. Qualifying rounds on Friday were also canceled because of the weather.

"The No. 1 priority for us is the safety of the athletes," explained Red Bull X-Fighters sports director [and frequent ESPN.com contributor] Tes Sewell, in an official statement on Saturday. "What the 12 best FMX riders do takes an incredible amount of skill and precision and it can be very dangerous when it goes wrong. For all of us it's disappointing not to be able to give the Turkish fans the pinnacle of this sport and show them the highest level of freestyle motocross."

The event would have marked the first time an X-Fighters event had been held in Turkey, but gusts of wind measured at up to 45 kph forced delays all weekend and the eventual cancellation.

Read more on ESPN: Red Bull X-Fighters Istanbul Canceled

Istanbul’s Greeks Open Publishing House

The Greek minority in Istanbul’s Karaköy has established a new publishing house 50 years after the community last published a book.

“We will publish books in both Turkish and Greek, but most of them will be in Turkish. We will try to introduce Greek translations first hand,” Haris Rigas, one of editors at ISTOS publishing house, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul’s Greeks Open Publishing House

Istanbul With Momma Perez!

Thank you Perez Hilton!

"We will always think very fondly of this very special trip to a very special city!
Istanbul with Teresita! Just Momma Perez and us!
We love traveling! And we love history! And we love our mom! So we are filled with so much love right now!
We had a beautiful day in Istanbul on Saturday! We soaked in the beauty of the Hagia Sophia, visited a beautiful mosque, ate way too much baklava, enjoying Momma Perez doing her thing at the iconic Bazaar and went on a private cruise along the Bosphorus.
So lovely!"

See more photos on PerezHilton.com: Istanbul With Momma Perez!

Istanbul: Beautiful And Affordable

As time goes by, we abandon old affiliations and develop new ones. Due to the Arab Spring in Egypt and Syria and its repercussions in Lebanon, the three most favorite tourist destinations in the Middle East have become undesirable, so people are discovering Turkey. Istanbul is witnessing flocks of tourists from neighboring areas, mainly Arabs. European tourism has been going on for some time, and European tourists come to Turkey almost all the year round but especially when their countries are very cold. They come to Turkey for its relative warmth, which is still too cold for people from hot countries. However, from May to September, the weather in Turkey is just cool enough and if you prefer very warm weather then you should go in June and July.

My trip to Turkey, much overdue, was unforgettable. I have been around the world and if not for the cold winters, this is a place I would not mind to be. I was overwhelmed by the historic grandeur of Istanbul. Yet I could not stop myself from thinking that the Sultans must have been too rich for words.

Read more on Saudi Gazette: Istanbul: Beautiful And Affordable

Eyes Everywhere

Joseph Kanon is a specialist in fin de guerre thrillers, whose previous novels set in 1945-46 include “Alibi,” “Los Alamos,” “The Good German” and “Stardust.” The period is well chosen: dark secrets are finally coming to the surface, and people are being called to account for what the war has made them. For readers, it’s immediately recognizable territory: the aftermath of the conflict, shabby, filmic. Now, in “Istanbul Passage,” Kanon compounds the fraught postwar mood with a location to match.

Istanbul is, at the best of times, a city divided. Weird currents drag along the chasm of the Bosporus, where Europe and Asia almost meet, and the Black Sea tips into the Mediterranean. Levantine are the mosques and bazaars of Istanbul, and Byzantine its steep, winding streets; but its bars and trams are Balkan, almost Mitteleuropäisch. As the capital of empires Roman, Greek and Muslim, Istanbul stands uneasily between its imperial past and its future as a provincial giant in a secular Turkey.

“Istanbul Passage” is anchored convincingly to locations around the shores of the Bosporus: a clinic in Bebek, a flat in Laleli, a party in Kanlica. Kanon has gotten to know the city well, and he uses its history to good effect — the Ottoman years, the Byzantine sights, the influx of Germans in the 1930s, the exodus of Greeks. There are echoes, too, of Istanbul’s long imperial past as the capital of the Ottoman Empire, not least in beautiful Lily, a worldly widow who first came to the city as a Circassian slave in the sultan’s harem. Now she gives society parties at her waterfront villa. “I didn’t think anybody was this rich anymore,” one of her guests remarks.

Some readers may find that Kanon’s thriller-ish style takes some getting used to, especially his telegrammatic dialogue reduced. To such. Staccato bursts that. It risks becoming. Unintelligible. Occasionally tension drains as conversations drag and too many meetings are arranged — even with the hapless Anna, who lies comatose in bed while Leon rambles. But “Istanbul Passage” is enlivened by intelligent plotting and its vivid evocation of the city itself, a setting rich in centuries of intrigue.

Read more on The New York Times: Eyes Everywhere

Instagram Spotlight: Istanbul Through The Lens Of Mustafa Seven (PHOTOS)

Huffington Post featuring Mustafa Seven, a professional photographer whose raw photographs of different walks of life in Istanbul drive the editors of the publicaiton wild.
See more on Huffington Post: Instagram Spotlight: Istanbul Through The Lens Of Mustafa Seven (PHOTOS)

Madonna Arrived in Istanbul with 200 Person Entourage

Madonna arrived in Istanbul on the 5th of June with a crowded entourage and heavy equipment, daily Hürriyet has reported. She performed the most awaited concert of the year on Thursday June 7 at Istanbul's Türk Telecom Arena.

Three airplanes carried the pop icon and her 200 person entourage, including her children and their nanny. A red carpet was spread out for the superstar and she was immediately surrounded by heavy security.

The equipment was loaded on to trucks that were waiting at the airport, as the superstar herself moved on to the hotel.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Madonna Arrived in Istanbul with 200 Person Entourage

Istanbul Berlin Fest Kicks Off

The Berlin-Istanbul festival has begun, under the auspices of Beyoğlu Mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan and the mayor of Berlin’s Mitte District, Christian Hanke. The festival is organized by the Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue (FID).The festival’s opening ceremony took place in one of Berlin’s most famous public squares, the Potsdamer Platz. Berlin-Istanbul festival aims to introduce the cultures of Turkey and Germany to one another. As well as Demircan and Hanke, the Turkish ambassador in Berlin, Hüseyin Avni Karslıoglu, Turkish Consul General Mustafa Pulat, and FID President Ercan Karakoyun attended the opening ceremony.

Both Beyoğlu and Mitte are multi-cultural and multi-faith towns, said Karakoyun. The two municiaplities want to build a bridge between the cultures of Turkey and Germany, he said, and would like their people to get to know each other. Beyoğlu and Mitte are sister municipalities now, and will enjoy a stronger relationship in the future, said Demircan. “What makes a city attractive is how it is different from other cities. We are proud of the differences of our towns.” Folk dancers and whirling dervishes also performed at the ceremony, which was attended by Turkish and German citizens.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Berlin Fest Kicks Off

June 22, 2012

Istanbul Among Top 10 Congress Destinations

Istanbul retained its place on the list of the top 10 convention destinations centers in the world last year, the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) said yesterday.

Istanbul was in seventh place in 2010 with 109 conventions, but fell to ninth place in 2011, although the number of conferences held in the city rose to 113, according to data from the International Congress and Convention Association.

In the early 2000s, Istanbul was in 40th place, with only 20 conventions per year, and has made a great leap forward as a global competitor in the convention-destination market in the past decade.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Among Top 10 Congress Destinations

Lucky Luke Celebrated in Istanbul

One of the most popular comic books in continental Europe (and in Turkey), Lucky Luke is at once an affectionate look at the American Wild West and a parody of its depiction in pop culture. Lucky Luke himself is a cowboy, though he’s hardly seen herding any animals: He is better known for his way with his gun, “shooting faster than his shadow,” as he tries to make the Wild West a better place. He is the epitome of the lonesome cowboy, setting off into sunset toward an unknown place at the end of each adventure, riding Jolly Jumper (“Düldül” to Turkish readers), “the smartest horse in the world,” and the only consistent company he ever has.

Lucky Luke is quite the celebrity himself, having become acquainted some of famous historical Western figures in his adventures, such as Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Jesse James’s gang, and even Mark Twain. He was there when the first transcontinental telegraph was built, and for the land run for the unassigned territories of Oklahoma. He also had the honor of meeting legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt on one of her tours.

The exhibition “Lucky Luke in Istanbul” (“Red Kit İstanbul’da”) is open for perusal by comic book fans in the heart of Istanbul, at the Yapı Kredi Culture Center. The exhibition, curated by Didier Pasamonik, a Belgian publisher, journalist and curator, as well as an acclaimed expert on comics, welcomes visitors through a revolving bar door reminiscent of the Wild West.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News:Lucky Luke Celebrated in Istanbul