November 18, 2012

5 Ways Istanbul is more Amazing than You Think

When it comes to amazing sights, sounds, people, places and sheer creative buzz, you’d be hard pressed to beat Istanbul. It’s one of the most magical, historical places on earth

Once upon a time this was Byzantium. Markets. Fishermen. A myriad of people trading in the only city in the world that lies in two continents – Asia and Europe. Close your eyes and imagine Persians storming in to take the city in 512 BC. Or Roman soldiers marching through the streets by 79AD. A place later destroyed and lovingly rebuilt.

Read more on Conversations by Nokia: 5 Ways Istanbul is more Amazing than You Think

Lopez Performs in Istanbul as Part of Her World Tour

World famous singer Jennifer Lopez has performed for the first time in Istanbul as part of her “Dance Again” tour.

The renowned Latin songstress began her tour in Panama last May, crossing the globe to entertain fans in Latin America, North America and across Europe. She wowed Turkish fans on the night of Nov. 14 at Aslı Çakır Alptekin Althletism Hall in Istanbul, where tickets for the concert were sold out days beforehand.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Lopez Performs in Istanbul as Part of Her World Tour

Making City Istanbul Exhibited at Museum

Making City Istanbul, co-curated by George Brugmans and Joachim Declerck, with visuals by the Dutch graphic design office LUST, is on view until 13 December 2012 and is part of NLTR400, a group of activities and events celebrating 400 years of relations between the Netherlands and Turkey.

It is a collective initiative by Istanbul Design Biennial and International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR).

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Making City Istanbul Exhibited at Museum


Located on the street Akaretler Yokuşu in the ancient Turkish capital—where servants from the Ottoman Empire’s Dolmabahçe Palace lived in the mid-19th century—the 8,000-square-foot, three-story row house was completely refashioned by the company, which moved its corporate headquarters from Turkey to Miami last year.


Jennifer Lopez & Casper Smart's Fabulous Night Out In Istanbul

Spending a night out with great company, Jennifer Lopez and her beau Casper Smart were spotted out at a club in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday (November 15).

The 43-year-old singer shared laughs with her young love while donning a sexy sheer skirt with a tight black top.

Read more on Celebrity Gossip: Jennifer Lopez & Casper Smart's Fabulous Night Out In Istanbul

China’s Terracotta Army comes to Istanbul, Topkapı

The Terracotta Army, a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, is coming to Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace on Nov. 20.

Five terracotta soldiers will be on display at Topkapı Palace as a part of an exclusive joint exhibition approved by the Chinese government, as the terracotta soldiers are rarely sent overseas for display.

In addition to the soldiers, artwork from the Shanghai Museum and Beijing’s “Forbidden City” will be shown. A terracotta horse, which has never left China, will also be at the exhibition.

Rocking the Rooftops

Day or night, Istanbul's top-floor bars are where it's all happening, writes Ute Junker.

For 16 centuries, Istanbul's inhabitants have learnt how to make the most of their city. For much of the year, you'll find them whiling away sunny afternoons or balmy evenings in one of the open-air bars and restaurants that sprout from the top of almost every building. Best of all, these bars rock around the clock, so here's our pick of Istanbul's best rooftops and the best time to visit them.

Read more on The Age: Rocking the Rooftops

Contemporary Istanbul Gathers Professionals and Art Aficionados

With over 100 galleries from both Turkey and the international art world, Contemporary Istanbul will showcase a comprehensive range of contemporary artworks in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, video and installation.

Contemporary Istanbul will be held at the Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC) as well as the Istanbul Congress Center between Nov. 22 and 25 with special focus on limited edition works from local and foreign galleries.

With a wide spread of galleries, including important international galleries such as Marlborough Gallery, Haunch of Venison, Opera Gallery, Galerie Michael Schultz, MAM-Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art the event will also host local galleries. Dirimart, Rampa, Galeri Mana and approximately 600 artists will help make the seventh edition of Contemporary Istanbul the largest yet.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Contemporary Istanbul Gathers Professionals and Art Aficionados

Dutch Crown Prince Willem and His Wife Maxima Cycle in Istanbul

Dutch Crown prince Willem and his wife Maxima who visited Turkey on the occasion of celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Turkey and Holland, cycled for friendship between the two countries.

Willem and his wife Maxima cycled from the Dutch Consulate General in Istanbul to a nearby hotel. The event was covered by press members.

Read more on Turkish Press: Dutch Crown Prince Willem and His Wife Maxima Cycle in Istanbul

Istanbul Design Biennial

Last month saw the opening of Istanbul’s inaugural Design Biennial. Situated across two main venues, the exhibitions responded to the theme ‘imperfection’, set by Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic, in light of his personal experience of the city. ‘It’s special quality is that it makes so much from the imperfect, the inexact and the provisional,’ he stated.

Suitably, then, both Musibet (meaning ‘plague’ or ‘sickness’ in Arabic), curated by architect Emre Arolat and Adhocracy – by Domus editor Joseph Grima – were brimming with projects interested in new models of organisation and production.

At Adhocracy – an exhibition of 60 projects spread over five stories of the Galata Greek School – the goal was to celebrate work that sidesteps the bureaucratic model of organisation in favour of bottom up strategies. Brickstarter, for example, uses the Kickstarter crowd-funding model but to fund public space interventions rather than products. The government still gets the final say, but a citizen proposal with financial support and community backing is an attractive proposal, rather than one to file away. The project is Finnish innovation fund Sitra’s attempt to re-write the way the public and government communicate.

Read more on Design Week: Istanbul Design Biennial

All Eyes on Istanbul for Property Investment

The winding Bosphorus Strait separates the European and Asian shores of Istanbul. Legend has it that Jason and the Argonauts navigated its entire length in search of the Golden Fleece. These days, galleon-bound crusaders have been replaced by snap-happy ferry tourists eyeing up the city’s shimmering shoreline with its myriad minarets, mosques and palaces. But while the legacy of Byzantium and Constantinople lives on in the vintage architecture, it’s the modern gloss of trendy restaurants, boutiques and nightlife that’s bringing a fresh energy to this cultural Mecca.

“Tradition is everything in Istanbul,” explains Maureen Madden of property investment consultancy Colordarcy, “but a growing middle-income population, with over 40 per cent of the current 14 million-plus residents under the age of 35, is forcing a radical overhaul of the city’s urban planning grid. Demand for new housing is currently running at 250,000 units per year, with available land being ring-fenced for large-scale residential projects.”

Istanbul Book Fair Looks to Turn a New Page in Literature

The International Istanbul Book Fair will be held this year amid an atmosphere of rising political tension, leading to many crucial subjects such as hunger strikes, imprisoned journalists and tried authors to be discussed in a variety of panels and meetings during the event.

The theme of the 31st International Istanbul Book Fair, organized by the TÜYAP Fair and Exhibition Organization, will be “My Childhood Is My Homeland – Children’s and Youth Literature.” The fair will host a series of distinguished writers and illustrators within this theme at the TÜYAP Fair and Convention Center in Büyükçekmece between Nov. 17 and 25.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Book Fair Looks to Turn a New Page in Literature

P.F. Chang’s Opens Eatery in Istanbul to Start Push in Turkey

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., the biggest operator of Asian full-service restaurants in the U.S. by market share, opened its first outlet in Turkey and plans to add one or two restaurants a year in the country.

The restaurant chain, taken private this year by buyout firm Centerbridge Partners LP for $1.1 billion, opened its first Turkish venture on Istanbul’s high-end entertainment street Nispetiye, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company said today in an e-mailed statement.

Read more on Bloomberg Businessweek: P.F. Chang’s Opens Eatery in Istanbul to Start Push in Turkey

Istanbul for James Bond Fans

‘Skyfall’, the latest in the Bond series, also stars Istanbul – and there are few more fitting cities for 007, as Sarah Knapton discovers.

We’re standing in Eminonu Square in the old quarter of Istanbul and our guide is pointing out a historic Ottoman fountain in front of a mosque. The carving is intricate and Moorish, the marble worn into channels from years of running water.

“Go on, have a guess how old it is,” he twinkles, his eyes brimming with childish mischief. Dutifully we indulge him.

Fifteenth century? Fourteenth? Earlier?

“No!” he beams. “It’s circa 2012. It’s a piece of the James Bond set.”

It turns out the mayor of Istanbul was so impressed with the prop from ‘Skyfall’ he asked for it to stay, smack bang in one of the most important squares in Istanbul. It’s the equivalent of Boris Johnson insisting that props from the Da Vinci Code were left in London’s Temple Church, just to confuse visitors.

Read more on The Telegraph: Istanbul for James Bond Fans

November 15, 2012

Jennifer Lopez is to Rock Istanbul This Week

World famous Latin diva Jennifer Lopez arrived in Istanbul at 13:00 PM yesterday. After checking in at the luxurious Les Ottomans on the shores of the beautiful Bosphorus, Lopez briefly met an excited crowd of journalists. Having mentioned that it is her first time in Turkey, Lopez said that she is happy to be in Istanbul and excused herself to leave for her 1st concert in Ataköy.

Archaeologists to Join Taksim Excavations

Ongoing excavations as part of the Taksim Square Pedestrians Project will be monitored by Istanbul Archaeological Museum officials due to the site’s status as a culturally protected area.

Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay said they had no intention of impeding the excavations, but in the event of a historical discovery the archeologists were there to guarantee that the excavations would continue manually in order to prevent any damage.

Read more on Vestnik Kavkaza: Archaeologists to Join Taksim Excavations

Kirsten Dunst Shops at Grand Bazaar on Her Day Off in Turkey

Even stars like a good deal!

And Kirsten Dunst was no exception on a recent shopping trip in Turkey, where the 30-year-old actress paid a visit to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and spent time deciding on a jewelry purchase.

According to reports, the Spider-Man star spent four hours at the shopping center and left after buying an $80 ring. The actress wore a simple green jacket, jeans and boots for her afternoon outing, as she soaked up the Turkish sights and culture.

Read more on E! Online: Kirsten Dunst Shops at Grand Bazaar on Her Day Off in Turkey

Harvard Business School Plans Research Center in Istanbul

In addition to seven current research centers scattered around the world, Harvard Business School is on track to open a new research center in Istanbul in early 2013, Dean Nitin Nohria said in an interview with The Crimson last week.

These centers are not campuses, Nohria said, but rather leanly staffed offices designed to assist Business School faculty in writing cases about the global economy. The program began in 1997 with the opening of the California Research Center in Silicon Valley, and has since expanded to Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Paris, Mumbai, and Shanghai.

“The reason that we’re now thinking about Istanbul is that we look at the map of the world and we say, where are we missing?” Nohria said.

“Istanbul was always the gateway between the East and the West if you think about history,” Nohria said. “I think it’s one of the best vantage points from which we might also get connected to the Islamic world.”

The Business School convened a meeting in Istanbul in July 2012 to assess interest and support for the center.

Read more on Harvard Crimson: Harvard Business School Plans Research Center in Istanbul

November 13, 2012

Wonders of Constantinople's Underground Water World to Go on Display in Istanbul

The atmospheric and cavernous underground Basilica Cistern is a well-known tourist attraction in Istanbul.

Famously used as a backdrop in James Bond movie From Russia with Love, the 6th century cistern provided a fresh water supply for buildings including the Emperor's palace.

It seems the structure merely scratches the surface of ancient engineering.

British archaeologists, working with Turkish scientists, have revealed a vast water supply system that served the Byzantine-era city of Constantinople, now Istanbul.

And the marvel will be the focus of a newly opened exhibition in the Turkish city which its organisers hope will bring to life the intricate network of water channels, tunnels and bridges that dates to the fourth century. 

It is not known whether the Basilica Cistern is a major feature of the show.

Called 'Waters for a Capital', the exhibition at the RCAC Gallery uses photographs and computer graphics to show how researchers have documented the monuments for the first time.

Visitors will be able to 'fly' through tunnels, emerge out of the other side and zoom over bridges. There will also be plans to explore and videos to watch.

Read more on Daily Mail: Wonders of Constantinople's Underground Water World to Go on Display in Istanbul

African Athletes Win at Istanbul Eurasia Marathon

Kenyan male athletes swept medals of all colors at the Eurasia marathon held in Istanbul on Sunday.

Stephan Chebogut came first in 2:11:05 and he was followed by Kiprotich Yegon in 2:15:35 and Evans Kiplagat in 2:16:43.

Ethiopian Koren Jelela Yal won women's title with 2:28:06 in the event's 34th edition.

Nearly 13,000 athletes from 88 countries/regions, including Germany, Italy, France and Turkey, came out to hit streets of downtown Istanbul and competed in three categories: the 42-kilometer run, the 15-kilometer run and the eight-kilometer run.

This is an international athletics event organized by the metropolitan municipality in Istanbul, Turkey, every year on a Sunday in October or November since 1979.

Read more on XinHua: African Athletes Win at Istanbul Eurasia Marathon

Istanbul Set to Host City Tourism Summit

Istanbul will host the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Global Summit on City Tourism.

The Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry and Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) will host the meeting, which will take place at the Haliç Congress Center by the Golden Horn Nov. 15.

Read more Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Set to Host City Tourism Summit

In Pictures - Exploring Istanbul [PHOTO GALLERY]

Suleymaniye Mosque, is one of the most iconic sights of Istanbul's skyline. Despite losing its capital status to Ankara when Turkey became a republic, the city continues to exert its influence. (Picture by Saygin Serdaroglu, words by Stephen Dowling and Saygin Serdaroglu/NAR Photos)

See more photos on BBC: In Pictures: Exploring Istanbul

November Full of Stars in Istanbul

Istanbul is to welcome a range of global music stars this month, with visits scheduled from artists who run the gamut from pop to metal to classical.

On Nov. 10 the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra was on stage at Haliç Congress Center, followed a day later by Thin Lizzy at Küçükçiftlik Park as part of the Avea Music Concert.

W.A.S.P. continues the lineup at Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park on Nov. 25, while Sting will conclude the month of music with his long-awaited concert at Ataköy Track and Field Hall.

Jennifer Lopez will perform at Ülker Sports Arena on Nov. 16 and has also agreed to a Nov. 17 encore performance following her highly anticipated initial show, according to concert organizers. A total of 5,000 tickets for the upcoming Lopez concert were sold out within the first five days they were available.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: November Full of Stars in Istanbul

*The Amazing Race* Scrubbed down in Istanbul

After spending two legs of "The Amazing Race" in hot and sweaty Dhaka, Bangladesh, teams were excited to move on to their next location - Istanbul, Turkey - during Sunday's episode.

But it wasn't smooth sailing for everyone.

Once they arrived in Istanbul, teams had the choice of taking the Metro or a taxi to a ferry, which would carry them across the Bosphorus Strait. The Chippendales and the monster truckers were the only ones who took a chance on public transit, and James and Jaymes soon realized the slow-moving train was a mistake.

They decided to hop off the metro mid-route and found a taxi. Rob chided them for being "followers" and claimed they made a "big mistake" by getting off the train. Wrong.

Read more on CBS News:"The Amazing Race" Scrubbed down in Istanbul

November 02, 2012

Istanbul Takes New York: A Look at 4 Fall Shows From Turkey's Surging Art Scene

In recent years, art analysts have alternately described the rise of the Turkish market as both a bubble and a long-brewing boom. Whichever turns out to be true in the long run, there’s no denying its explosion. Sotheby’s London launched its first auction dedicated to modern and contemporary Turkish art in 2009, bringing in $1.3 million during the inaugural edition. The next year, sales nearly doubled.

Galleries appear to have taken note. While the prices at the Sotheby’s sale in April cooled a bit, dealers in New York have organized a crop of shows devoted to Turkish artists this fall. From galleries specializing in the Middle East, like Chelsea’s Leila Heller, to the more Euro-centric Sperone Westwater, here’s a look at where to spot the group of trendy Turks in the months to come...

Read more on Art Info: Istanbul Takes New York: A Look at 4 Fall Shows From Turkey's Surging Art Scene


The concept of jewelry as fine art has been around practically since the origins of precious materials themselves. House of Waris designer Waris Ahluwalia's jewelry is already a part of this tradition, having shown work everywhere from the Museum of Arts & Design to Colette. His latest exhibition, featuring a curated selection of his designs as well as never-before-seen pieces, just opened in Istanbul.

Put on by Istanbul '74, the organization which works to connect the city with the global arts and culture circuit, the show is housed on the first floor of a 150-year-old business-inn in the Karaköy neighborhood.


Formula 1 Race Could Return to Istanbul Park

Bernie Ecclestone, the boss of Formula 1, has said he is interested in bringing the Formula 1 Grand Prix back to Istanbul.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Formula 1 Race Could Return to Istanbul Park

Da Vinci’s Bridge to Be Built in Istanbul

A bridge project reportedly developed by Leonardo Da Vinci for Istanbul’s Golden Horn will be constructed by an international volunteer group as a present to Istanbul, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has announced.

The statement said the project was the result of collaboration between a group of volunteers from different countries, such as Norwegian sculptor and painter Vebjorn Sand, U.S.-based Turkish physics professor Bülent Ataman, Indian opera writer Daniel Nazareth and international affairs specialist Melinda Iverson. The volunteer group has been working on the project over the last three years.

Funded by local and international sponsors, the bridge will be 220 meters long, 10 meters wide and 25 meters at its highest point above the sea.

Read more on Turkish Weekly: Da Vinci’s Bridge to Be Built in Istanbul

Travel Europe: Six things in … Istanbul

Been there. Done that. Bought the rug. That’s what I thought, after a two-day stopover on a cruise four years ago.

Yet so many people rave about Istanbul, I wondered if they were simply smokin’ from a different hookah, or if perhaps I had missed something during my whirlwind tour of the “must see” sites: the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace. It was architectural overload, like staring at the sun. If I had been invited to gaze upon one more mosaic, however beautiful, I thought I might bleed from my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong. Istanbul’s wonders are worth visiting, particularly the Blue Mosque, as it’s not only stunning; it’s also an important religious centre where worshipers pray five times a day.
But for the most part, the de rigueur list barely scratches the surface of what I had come to suspect might be the true spirit of this city, where residents respect their history, but live, love, work, dance, play and party in the present.

So I went back. I slowed down. I took time to meet the people and learn how the locals spend their days, and their nights. What I discovered is that this isn’t a city you should try to “do” in two days. Take a week. Take a walk and wander, and let Istanbul weave its web around you.

Read more on The Star: Travel Europe: Six things in … Istanbul

The 007 Guide to the City of Spies

Ali Akdeniz had marked the spot on a map with a cross. It was close to the Carsikapi Gate of the Grand Bazaar. I would need to pass through a clothes shop, climb a flight of stairs and knock on a door. Ilker was expecting me. At the far end of Ilker's office, I would see another door. This was the only entrance to the roof of the bazaar.

Not many people bother about the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar and few ever see them. But following the release of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, this chaotic red tile landscape has become part of Bond iconography because the spectacular opening scene, filmed earlier this year, features 007 pursuing his nemesis Patrice (Ola Rapace) across it in a dramatic motorcycle chase. 

Read more on Daily Mail: The 007 Guide to the City of Spies 

Istanbul Hosts WTA Championships Where Williams Takes the Crown

Istanbul hopes its bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be reinforced by the latest high profile sports event to be staged in the city.

Olympic champion Serena Williams beat runner-up at London 20102 Maria Sharapova in the final of the Istanbul 2012 Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Championships, a tournament that was as much to do with Istanbul's credentials for showcasing major sports events as it was for putting on the tournament itself.

The world's top eight women's tennis players gathered in Istanbul's Sinan Erdem Dome, which is Europe's third largest multipurpose indoor venue and the proposed venue for the Olympic basketball at the 2020 Games if Turkey's bid is successful.

Read more on Inside The Games: Istanbul Hosts WTA Championships Where Williams Takes the Crown

Producers Roll Out New Cars in Istanbul

The Turkish automotive sector’s biggest event, the “Istanbul Autoshow” began yesterday with the global launch of four French cars.

The 2013 models of Citroen C-Elysee, Peugeot 301, Renault Symbol and Renault Fluence were presented to the world on the first day of the event, with more than 600,000 people expected to attend.

Nearly 500 models of 45 auto brands will also be on display at the auto show until Nov. 11.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Producers Roll Out New Cars in Istanbul

Beyoglu, Istanbul: One Square Mile of Turkey

Jonathan Head - The Nobel laureate and renowned Turkish author Orhan Pamuk used an Arabic word huzun to describe the particular mood of melancholy that hung over the Istanbul of his youth, in the 1960s and 70s.

Back then it was a city whose fabled imperial history could be found only in the crumbling, blackened ruins, its inhabitants locked in an everyday struggle to escape poverty.

When the Ottoman Empire finally collapsed, after defeat in the First World War, Istanbul was occupied by British and French forces, the now-powerless Sultan conceding to all their demands. So the new Turkish nationalist movement, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, turned its back on Istanbul. It chose Ankara, deep in Anatolia, as the new capital.

Istanbul was seen as decadent, weak, and with so many minorities living there, not really Turkish.

Now Pamuk admits he scarcely recognises the city of his youth today because it is changing so fast.

One Square Mile chose the old European diplomatic district of Pera, because it embodies Istanbul's new confidence and energy, but also its complex history.

Read more on BBC: Beyoglu, Istanbul: One Square Mile of Turkey