January 23, 2013

A Walk Through Istanbul's Spice Bazaar

It’s true we’re biased toward food markets, but the Grand Bazaar — with its expensive gold jewelry, leather jackets, and endless rows of mass-produced evil-eye tchotchkes — just wasn’t our thing. Much more fun and interactive was the Misir Çarsisi, or Spice Bazaar, aka the Egyptian market, established in Eminönü in 1664 (it once specialized in goods brought from Egypt). It’s the market you walk smack into if you approach the Old City from the Galata Bridge, as we did most days from our home base in Karaköy.

Over the years, the spice market has become plenty tourist-friendly; in fact, some of those same Grand Bazaar tchotchkes have shown up between the nuts, olives, Anatolian honey, and lokum (Turkish delight) here. Someone who knows the market well will warn you that not all vendors are created equal, which surely goes without saying in any popular market. But half the fun is going there and figuring it out for yourself — most of the vendors encourage sampling, so you can taste all the goods before you buy.

We admit we let ourselves go a bit inside the spice market, buying dried fruit and accepting hunks of cheese without recording prices or even paying much heed to vendor names (for shame!). What we do have are some photos of favorite items and the remaining piece of pestil (fruit leather) we "forgot" we had in our luggage.

Read more on The Daily Meal: A Walk Through Istanbul's Spice Bazaar

Jurassic Land comes to Istanbul

Created by Talya A.Ş. and based on an “edutainment” concept that combines education and entertainment, Jurassic Land is built on a huge area of 10,000 square meters in Istanbul Forum. The event aims to attract both adults and children with its museum approved by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Turkey’s greatest 4-D cinema, as well as its laboratory that both entertains and teaches. Jurassic Land is a brand-new field of activity where all family members can spend time together.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Jurassic Land came to Istanbul

Knopfler, Depeche Mode to Stage Istanbul Shows

Two big-name music acts have confirmed Istanbul concert dates for 2013, with guitarist Mark Knopfler set to play at Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Sports Hall on April 27, 2013, followed on May 17, 2013, by Depeche Mode at Küçükçiftlik Park.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Knopfler, Depeche Mode to Stage Istanbul Shows

Istanbul Gets Right Under the Skin

Annie Stevens - Lying half naked atop a marble slab beneath the dome of a building that's hundreds of years old, I have a surprising experience. It has little to do with being without my clothes in front of strangers, or even to do with relishing the occasionally discombobulating experience of being in a strange city on the other side of the world by myself. No, it has to do with shedding layers of dead skin.

Visiting a traditional hammam in Istanbul is the one experience everyone recommends (although it certainly couldn't be classed as a "pampering" spa experience), along with gorging on Turkish delight and arguing with crafty sellers who ply you with apple tea so you buy one of their rugs in the kaleidoscopic-coloured bazaars.

Read more on The Sydney Morning Herald: Istanbul Gets Right Under the Skin

Istanbul Gallery Hosts Greek Art

Xchristakos, who was born on Istanbul’s Büyükada Island, is an award winning artist in Greece. He reflects the nations’ two cultures as well as the East and the West successfully in his works. He combines sculpture and painting in his works which form a synthesis of the artist’s inner world with the cultures he has experienced.

The exhibition, titled “Ciddi-yet-siz-lik” (Lack of seriousness)was open between Dec. 8 and 30 at Deyim Art Gallery.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Gallery Hosts Greek Art

Hands-off Style of Exploring Istanbul is Ancient History

William Neff - That museum-schooled "look, don’t touch" detachment from the artifacts of history won’t get you anywhere in a place like Istanbul, an intricate, crafted quilt of multilayered pasts and a thronging, multicultural present.

The philosophy can’t help but be a little different here. The Turks know what the Romans know and what the citizens of any of the world’s ancient cities have long since figured out: Archaeology is everywhere, folks. Respect for the past can’t be allowed to get in the way of the working metropolis.

Istanbul is, indeed, the "Please Touch Museum" of archaeology.

Read more on Cleveland: Hands-off Style of Exploring Istanbul is Ancient History

Modernity of French Luxury in Istanbul at Festival Colbert

Today marks the end of the first Festival Colbert in Istanbul during which twenty-six companies of the prestigious Comité Colbert of France presented their own take on modernity to the public.

Through a cluster of showcase events at the selected boutiques of fashionable Nisantasi district and the spacious Istinye Park shopping mall, Istanbulites had the chance to discover different French luxury brands and learn about their heritage.

Collaborating with artists, Festival Colbert also celebrated multiple facets of French Art de Vivre under the "Duos" concept through collective events organized with contributions of visiting Comité Colbert members – or “advocated of excellence” as referred to in an official statement.

Read more on JustLuxe: Modernity of French Luxury in Istanbul at Festival Colbert