December 23, 2012

Istanbul Home to Afro-Asian Parrot Species

The number of “Psittacula” ringed-necked parakeets is increasing every day in Istanbul. The parakeets, which were first brought to Istanbul by animal sellers and are said to have settled in the city after escaping from their cages, have acclimatized to the local climate and can mostly be seen in green neighborhoods such as Sultanahmet, Yeşilköy and Florya.

The Psittacula parakeets have been spotted in Istanbul trees for two decades, with officials saying that this type of parakeet has existed in Istanbul since 1992.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily NewsIstanbul Home to Afro-Asian Parrot Species

'Imperfection' celebrated at Istanbul Design Biennial

"Imperfection," the title of Istanbul's inaugural Design Biennial, pays tribute both to the dynamism of its host city as well as to the design world's shift away from mass production.

Part art show, part expo, the biennial showcases almost 100 examples from architecture, city planning, interior and industrial design, fashion and new media in two separate exhibition spaces curated by Milan-based architect and writer Joseph Grima and local architect Emre Arolat.

"Design today is evolutionary. It's about creating systems that can be interpreted, adapted, sampled and copied...rather than a perfectly produced object from the factory," said Grima, who curated the exhibit "Adhocracy."

"Designers who can harness that spirit and transform it into objects are the protagonists of the future."

"Adhocracy" is set in a grand but crumbling school that once educated Istanbul's dwindling ethnic Greek population before it ran out of primary school students. The whir of 3-D printers is at odds with the neo-classical surrounding.

More than 200 designers and architects from 46 countries contributed to the Design Biennial.

Read more on GMA News: 'Imperfection' celebrated at Istanbul Design Biennial

Greece Awards Book on Istanbul

Istanbul-based Greek writer Alexandros Massavetas’ book, “Istanbul, a City of Absences,” which relates the city’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, has received the Greek State Literary Prize for 2012.

Massavetas, who has lived in Istanbul since 2002 and spent eight years exploring Istanbul’s historical quarters, said the prize was just another sign of growing interest among Greeks in the history of Istanbul and in the city itself.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Greece Awards Book on Istanbul

Insider's Istanbul

YOU have done the sights - the Hagia Sofia and the great imperial mosques, the Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus cruise and Basilica Cistern. With the tourist boxes ticked and the past squared away, it's time to start exploring the real, living city.

You may have had enough of museums, but Orhan Pamuk's new Museum of Innocence in the bohemian neighbourhood of Cihangir is worth a visit, if only for the abiding oddness of the concept as much as anything in the exhibits. The museum and Pamuk's eponymous novel were conceived at the same time, and as Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning author wrote the book about love and obsession set in 1970s Istanbul, he also collected artefacts.

Istanbul is one of the gourmet capitals of the world, but you have to dig a little to find its most interesting vernacular food. To really get to grips with the authentic tastes of the city, spend a half hour or so browsing - a site and, for the old-fashioned, a book compiled by passionate connoisseurs of Istanbul's waterside fish-grilling joints, its raucous raki-and-mezze restaurants (known as meyhanes) and its endless varieties of street food.

Read more on The Australian | Travel & Indulgence: Insider's Istanbul

Ecclestone Hints of a Return to Istanbul for F1

Formula One looks likely to have 19 races next year despite organisers tweaking the calendar to create space for a 20th round in Europe, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Wednesday.

"At the moment I am thinking more about Turkey and a return to Istanbul," said Ecclestone.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Ecclestone Hints of a Return to Istanbul for F1

Turkish Delight: A Sweet Tour of Istanbul

Grandeur defines Istanbul: From architectural icons such as Hagia Sophia to the city's indomitable traffic, Istanbul pulsates with intensity and splendor.

Including sweet splendor.

Istanbul's passion for pastries and its history of inventing some of the world's most delightful desserts tempts visitors and residents to skip dinner and head straight for the meal's concluding course.

Here's a taste of the most inventive, decadent and eccentric sweets from this culinary crossroads:

Sahlep: This mild beverage is Istanbul's answer to hot chocolate. Originating during the Ottoman Empire, sahlep's key ingredient is crushed orchid, which is used to thicken warm milk before being sweetened with sugar and cinnamon. Common during the winter, but also available at other times, sahlep is great for warming one's insides during a brisk walk along the Bosphorus.

Read more on CNN: Turkish Delight: A Sweet Tour of Istanbul

Istanbul : Memories and the City

Pamuk himself has lived in the city all his life, and it has been the inspiration for much of his output as a novelist. While some writers feed on exile, travel, and rootlessness, Pamuk describes his imagination as requiring that he stay “in the same city, on the same street, in the same house, gazing at the same view.

Istanbul’s fate is my fate: I am attached to this city because it has made me who I am.” The book extends this personal symbiosis with place to his upper-middle class republican family whose story, in many ways, mirrors that of their city.

Ever since Pamuk’s grandfather made his fortune engineering the new rail lines in the early years of the Turkish Republic, the family has been in slow, apparently inexorable decline. “It was a long time coming, arriving by circuitous route, but the cloud of gloom and loss that the fall of the Ottoman Empire had spread over Istanbul finally claimed my family, too,” he writes.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul : Memories and the City