November 02, 2014

6th International Street Dance Carnival


The International Istanbul Street Dance Carnival will be organized for the sixth time this year bringing dancers together from Turkey and all around the world like every year. Additional to the Hip Hop Woman, Hip Hop Man, House Dance and Popping Category, FreeZone will be open to all the dancers and all dance disciplines for the first time.The jury members will be internationally successful dancers like previous years. They will also give dance workshops for all the amateur and professional dancers. 

 The event will start on November 7th and November 8th with workshops and Preselections of all categories + After Party.On the final day, November 9th, there will be Dance Battles, Jury performances, dance shows and jamming.

November 01, 2014

33rd International Istanbul Book Fair is Around the Corner


The 33rd International Istanbul Book Fair will be held between Nov. 8 and 16 at the TÜYAP Fair and Convention Center, organized by TÜYAP Fairs in partnership with the Publishers Association of Turkey.

The theme for this year's fair will be “100 Years of Turkish Cinema” in celebration of the centennial of Turkish cinema. The Book Fair's Advisory Board has also named doyenne writer and film critic Atilla Dorsay as its Writer of Honor.

A number of panel discussions and other events will be held with Dorsay throughout the event at the TÜYAP Fair and Convention Center in the Büyükçekmece district of Istanbul. A book and an exhibition on both his life and his selected works will also be presented.

Hungary will be the Guest of Honor in the International Hall of the fair between Nov. 8 and 11, with classic and contemporary works of Hungarian literature, culture and arts presented to Turkish visitors. 



October 25, 2014

Istanbul Municipality Gets to Work to Stop Next Bosphorus 'Tsunami'


The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has started the work to prevent a repeat of "tsunami scenes" filmed in the city's Asian side this summer.

Heavy rain had hit Istanbul on June 2, causing local flooding and creating chaos in the city, particularly in its Asian side neighborhood of Üsküdar.

After incredible images, like the one showing a minibus "cruising" alongside a Bosphorus ferry, went viral, the Üsküdar Municipality's Press Advisory had claimed on June 3 that the cause of flooding was "a small tsunami."



October 24, 2014

Nublu Istanbul Opens Season in New Venue


Nublu İstanbul, the Turkish branch of jazz saxophonist İlhan Erşahin’s New York-based jazz club Nublu, opens the new season this weekend in its new venue in Taksim.

Located on Sıraselviler Caddesi, No. 55, the new Nublu İstanbul opened its doors for the first time Thursday night with a special gathering for members of the press.

The new season at Nublu İstanbul, which was previously in the Karaköy neighborhood, officially got under way Friday night with a live performance by İlhan Erşahin's İstanbul Sessions project. The quartet, in which Erşahin is joined by Alp Ersönmez, Turgut Alp Bekoğlu and İzzet Kızıl, is also performing at the venue on Saturday night before they enter the studio to continue the recording of their upcoming album. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Read more on Today's Zaman: Nublu Istanbul Opens Season in New Venue


October 23, 2014

The fountains of Ottoman Istanbul


You could find them on walls or in plazas, as part of mosques and freestanding, at corners, in rooms and even as cabbage-headed columns. These were the forms of fountains that adorned Istanbul in the Ottoman period and they can still be found today if you know where to look.

Over the centuries Istanbul met the water needs of its citizens by building aqueducts from distant sources, for its time as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 4th century. With repairs and rebuilding the water system, the Byzantines kept the water flowing but by 1453, when the Ottoman Turks conquered the city, it needed a complete overhaul. The addition of new water sources had to wait until the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (r. 1520-1566) in the next century.

One has to assume that the Byzantines had fountains because the Romans did, but today no trace of these remains. Instead we have many fountains from the Ottoman period the were common until pipes bringing water directly into individual houses were laid in the 19th century. An important difference between the Ottomans and those who went before was that the former expected, (and where ritual purification was concerned required), that water be flowing: The hamam vs. the bath. The answer was to build fountains throughout the city, an idea probably taken from the Persians and the Seljuks as the nomadic Ottoman Turks passed through Iran and today’s Syria on the way to Anatolia.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: The fountains of Ottoman Istanbul


October 22, 2014

Turkish-Armenian Photographer Ara Güler: Istanbul, My love


Ara Güler is Turkey’s most famous photographer. His pictures show a Istanbul, which no longer exists. Meanwhile he can the city ever suffer less, but a few corners he loves it. Traveled with a legend.

In the dream Ara Güler traveled into the past. Not in the his beloved Istanbul fifties, where he moved as a young guy around the houses and street scenes, workers and over the Bosphorus photographed images that would make him famous worldwide. But even further back. “I dream that I’m 1453 in Constantine Opel, the only person with a camera. Ottomans conquer the city, and I see to it that the world has a picture of this important event. Photographs are important for collective memory.”


October 21, 2014

The Museum that Changed Turkish Art


Before a former customs warehouse opened in 2004 as the Istanbul Modern, Turkey was not known for contemporary art. The new museum changed everything: it is now home to the Istanbul Biennial and the heart of a bustling art district in the Karaköy area.

Istanbul Modern primarily focuses on Turkish art although, in addition to its permanent collection, it hosts exhibitions and individual works by artists from across the world – such as False Ceiling by Richard Wentworth, Ann Dancing in a Sequined Dress by Julian Opie and sculptures by Richard Deacon and Tony Cragg. There is also a wide range of video work by artists such as Inci Eviner.

Not wishing to play it safe, the museum features work that is at times provocative and difficult.



October 20, 2014

A RACE TO CROSS MORE THAN THE FINISH LINE


The countdown has begun for the 36th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon with amateur and professional athletes already in training to make the run on Nov. 16.

Organizers held a press conference ahead of the run with Deputy Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Göksel Gümüşdağ saying the Istanbul marathon is one of the world's major runs, welcoming everybody from 7-to-70.

He said that the marathon continues to thrive and has grown year on year, adding, "This marathon is the biggest sports event of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality."

With the city currently struggling through a shrinking running market, Gümüşdağ is hoping the marathon can help push sports in the city in the right direction.




October 19, 2014

Municipality Rejects Permit for Construction in Istanbul Forest


The local municipality in Istanbul’s Sarıyer district has refused to grant permission for a project that includes the construction of villas and shops in the district’s Fatih Forest.

The project was planned to be built through the cooperation of Bilgili Holding and Doğuş Holding, and foresaw the construction of 108 villas, a hall with a 15,000-person capacity, shops and restaurants.


Puppet Festival Starts in Istanbul


The 17th International Istanbul Puppet Festival kicked off Oct. 15. This year, the festival will pay homage to Karagöz puppeteer Tacettin Diker, who died this past March. Diker gave countless performances of Karagöz shadow theater in Turkey and abroad. He was declared a Living Human Heritage by UNESCO and received the first ever Honor Award from the festival in 1998. He also contributed to the education of many Karagöz masters.

The French Culture Center, Aksanat, Dutch Consulate General, Maya Cüneyt Türel Stage, Caddebostan Culture Center, St. Pulcherie School and the Toy Museum are among the venues in which the festival will be hosted until Oct. 26. 

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Puppet Festival starts in Istanbul

Cam Ocağı Vakfı


In a small valley northeast of Istanbul’s Beykoz district lies an old factory complex formerly owned by Paşabahçe, Turkey’s famous glassware brand. When the company moved their glass cutting business elsewhere, the factory’s halls and workshops lay empty until Yılmaz Yalçınkaya, an avid collector of glass art from all over the world, bought the whole estate to turn the old factory into a haven for aspiring glass workers, artists, and artisanal masters. In 2002 Cam Ocağı Vakfı (Glass Furnace Foundation) opened its creaking industrial metal doors to the public.

Since then, much has happened inside and outside the complex. The central hall has been turned into a serene community space with comfortable seating, a large pond full of marvelous glass sculptures, and large windows to shine a light on the brick and iron dominated interiors. Dormitories for visiting students and artists, an outside pool, a workshop center and a conference room have been built, as well as a small pier for easy access to the river that marks the lower end of the vast green compound.

Read more on The Guide Istanbul: Cam Ocağı Vakfı

October 18, 2014

Activists Gather 80,000 Signatures to Prevent Construction in Istanbul Grove


Activists have gathered 80,000 signatures to prevent the opening of the Validebağ grove to construction by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, in a further attempt to preserve green areas of the city that have escaped an omnipresent construction boom.

The grove located on the hills of the Asian-side district of Üsküdar is a protected natural site at the heart of tangle of residential blocks that has been designated as a gathering spot in the event of a natural disaster for locals living in the area.

The local municipality, however, has moved to cancel the area’s protected status to turn the quiet oasis are into a vast park aimed at attracting a large number of visitors.

The project will include wedding halls, open-air theaters and artificial pools, according to Üsküdar Municipality, but activists argue that due to the location, the grove has the potential of becoming subject to new housing ambitions if its protected status is removed.




Classical Music Breeze Blowing in Istanbul in Autumn


Classical music lovers in İstanbul will be in for a treat this autumn as the newest editions of classical concerts series from Boğaziçi University’s Albert Long Hall and Martı İstanbul Hotel are rolled out.

The Albert Long Hall classical concert series will kick off this season’s program on Wednesday when Israeli-American cellist Amit Peled will perform a concerto by Haydn. The opening concert will also see İstanbul Sinfonietta perform under the baton of the Turkish conductor Gürer Aykal.

The inaugural concert of the series will be followed by a performance by the Polish ensemble Apollon Musagete Quartett (AMQ) on Oct. 22. They will play pieces by Haydn, Szymanowski and Schubert.

The other performers of the series include young Polish pianist Mateusz Borowiak, Salzburg-based chamber orchestra Camerata Salzburg, the 11-member St. Lawrence Church Choir from England and French flute player Julien Beaudiment.




October 17, 2014

MIRO HOSTED IN ISTANBUL


The doors of Sakıp Sabancı Museum are now open for art enthusiasts to visit the comprehensive exhibition featuring the works of the great Barcelona-born Catalan painter and sculptor. The exhibition ends on Feb. 1, 2015. Focusing on the mature period of the sophisticated artist's career, the event will be introduced under the title "Joan Miro. Women, Birds, Stars."

The rich selection of art works addresses the themes of women, birds and stars, which are inspired from Miro's own observations of the Mediterranean region and its people. The exhibition offers viewers the opportunity to understand the artist's symbolic language through different mediums, including sculpture, lithography, ceramics and oil painting. Art devotees will see the various interpretations of the energy that Miro brings from Mediterranean culture.

Read more on Daily Sabah: MIRO HOSTED IN ISTANBUL

Istanbul Design Biennial’s ‘Design Walks’ to Start Friday


“Design Walks,” part of the upcoming İstanbul Design Biennial offering visits to design studios, stores and ateliers across İstanbul, will begin this week, the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) announced in a press release on Tuesday. Set to start on Friday, this year’s walks consist of 12 routes, including different visiting spots in Kuzguncuk, Çemberlitaş, Sultanahmet and Beyoğlu. 

“Design Walks” will also include thematic walks that explore the unique textures of İstanbul’s unique neighborhoods.

“The participants will be able to learn more about the architectural texture of the city, observe traditional crafts while soaking up the sights and sounds of this lively metropolis,” one of former the press releases for the biennial says. With Zoë Ryan as its curator, the second İstanbul Biennial will be held from Oct. 18 to Dec. 14 under the theme of “The Future Is Not What It Used to Be.”

“Design Walks” will continue until Dec. 14 in 20-person groups on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are available at www.biletix.com and the main ticket office of İKSV. They are priced TL 35 and TL 25 (for students). For further information, go to tasarimbienali.iksv.org.



October 16, 2014

Istanbul Fashion Week Opens With Ottoman Flair

Istanbul Fashion Week, abuzz with Turkey’s forefront designers and fashion icons, opened Monday with a salute to the country’s rich past.

Menswear designer Hatice Gokce kicked off the week with her runway collection inspired by the great Ottoman adventurer Evliya Celebi.

Known for colorful narratives documenting his journeys through the Ottoman Empire and abroad, Celebi’s legacy made it to the catwalk Monday -- more than 400 years later.

“I’m inspired by him,” Gokce told The WorldPost after her show. “The fact that he had that passion for traveling really excited me. I believe in our world, everyone is a bit of a traveler.”

With hues of silver, brown, and black, coupled with metallic and leather pieces -- hints of craftsmanship from the Ottoman era -- every outfit had a distinct Ottoman flair. Many of the models had full beards and wore harem pants.

Read more on Huffington Post: Istanbul Fashion Week Opens With Ottoman Flair




İstanbul’s Puppet Festival to Present 70 Plays in 17th Year


Istanbul’s international puppet festival will feature 70 performances by a total of 30 companies from 15 countries in its 17th edition this month, with a special focus on Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and the 600th year of Turkish-Polish relations. 

Set to mark its 2014 edition from Oct. 16 to 26 in different locations across Istanbul, the festival welcomes South Korea, Kazakhstan and Belarus for the first time. 

October 15, 2014

Upcoming Fall Exhibitions


Fall is the perfect time to visit galleries and museums. With the wind growing cold and the nights arriving faster, passing the time in front of inspirational, motivational, and provocative artworks is perfect for warming the heart, mind, and soul. Here are some fall exhibitions that can do just that for you.

Joan Miró - Women, Birds and Stars

One of Spain’s greatest modern artists, Joan Miró (1893-1983) used a variety of media to create over 10,000 works of art within his lifetime. This exhibition is a portrait of Miro’s art from the 60’s and 70’s. It was at this time that women, birds, and stars became the major motifs and inspiration of his artworks. The exhibition runs from September 23 - February 1.

Doings on Time and Light

A combination of works from two artists: Eftihis Patsourakis and Michael Anastassiades, Doings on Time and Light speaks on our history and our fascinations. Anastassiades plays with light and reflection in his works, inspired by pinball machines. The way light can be endlessly replicated through mirrors sparks the imagination. Patsourakis takes the viewers through a time machine, seeing the world as many families did during the early production of recreational cameras. When photography was a relatively new medium, many photos came out improperly cropped, but the materials were expensive so the photos were kept and Patsourakis opens the door for us to view them. The exhibition runs from September 12 - December 13.

100 Years of Love: Cinema and Audience Relations in Turkey

Turkey is celebrating it’s 100 year love affair with cinema and film through this exhibition hosted at The Istanbul Modern. It tells the story of the country’s relationship with film throughout the past century through posters, visuals, box office reports, and other written representations of film. The exhibition runs from September 17 - December 31.

Marcel Broodthaers: Words, Things, Concepts

Marcel Broodthaers is a renowned Belgian artist and poet and is the main focus of this exhibition hosted by Akbank Sanat. Broodthaers worked with found material objects, incorporating them with words and text to create thoughtful and provocative pieces. The exhibition runs from September 24 - November 29.

Read more on The Guide Istanbul: Upcoming Fall Exhibitions











Istanbul Taxi System Set to Be Centralized, Drivers Not Happy


With Istanbul’s taxi system set to be centralized as of next year, many of the city’s taxi drivers are unhappy with the changes, claiming that the new system will be to their disadvantage.

The new taxi project will centralize the over 18,000 taxis currently operating in Istanbul, and is planned to end customer complaints about overcharging, reckless driving, and drivers refusing to take customers on short journeys.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Taxi System Set to Be Centralized, Drivers Not Happy

October 14, 2014

Broadway Musicals, Hollywood Actors to Hit Istanbul Stage


Famed musicals from Broadway and Hollywood will appear in Istanbul during the new season at Zorlu Center PSM. Among these productions are “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Between Oct. 8 and 26, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” musical will be performed in Turkey for the first time, as part of the musical’s 20th-year special tour. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, “Beauty and the Beast” is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, who meets the Beast, a young prince trapped in the spell of an enchantress.

More than 1,000 tickets for the musical were sold in just one day, according to Zorlu Center PSM Director Ray Cullom, who spoke at a press conference last week.

“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” a musical performed for 12 years and adapted in a number of countries, will also open in Istanbul on Oct. 24. The play centers around a relationship that has existed ever since the dawn of time and remains unchanged at its core regardless of time, place or circumstance. 



Extraordinary Artist Finishes Istanbul Drawing


English artist Stephen Wiltshire, who draws extraordinary cityscapes using his photographic memory, has finished his drawing of Istanbul.

Wiltshire, 33, completed his pencil drawing on a huge canvas at the entrance of the Palladium shopping mall within five days, using only mental images of the city’s historic heart after a 45-minute helicopter tour of the city.

Wiltshire started drawing Istanbul on Sept. 24 at 12 p.m. and completed his work on Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. He drew for seven hours each day, and on the last day he signed his drawing at a special ceremony.

The drawing will be open to the public in the shopping mall throughout October. Following its Istanbul exhibition, it will be given to the Istanbul Municipality to be displayed in a public area.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Extraordinary Artist Finishes Istanbul Drawing




October 13, 2014

Istanbul Gets a New Art and Culture Venue


Summart, which opened on Sept. 30 as an independent and non-profit foundation in the Seyrantepe neighborhood of the city, is a new platform for visual arts, music and literature, a meeting point that aims to bring together art lovers with national and international artists, musicians, collectors, curators, critics, academics, galleries, museums, art foundations, writers and journalists.

Summart also aims to organize at least one international cultural art project every year at its 500 square-meter facility.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul Gets a New Art and Culture Venue

Istanbul’s Flea Markets Meet Past and Present


Browsing, exploring, rummaging, bargaining and buying – flea markets have been supplying the haves and have-nots of Istanbul for hundreds of years.

But beyond the exotic image of easy bargains for tourists, one leading economist has described how these unofficial institutions generate millions of Turkish Liras every year, providing a real lifeline for Istanbul’s low-income earners and vendors alike.

These markets also fuel entrepreneurship and provide ways to revive small businesses, according to one expert.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Istanbul’s Flea Markets Meet Past and Present


October 12, 2014

AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW OF ISTANBUL


Unsatisfied by simply admiring the Blue Mosque from the banal ground, some of the 11.6 million people that have visited Istanbul so far – according to the annual MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index released in July – increasingly prefer to explore the marvels the city has to offer from above.

Indeed, helicopter tours have steadily become the latest fad foreigners flock to book, while visiting Turkey's most populated city.

"We've been organizing individual helicopter tours in Istanbul since 2000, and our 15-minute regular tourist tours on Sundays began in April this year," said Kemal Suler, the general manager of Kaan Air, one of two main companies along with Sancak Air that provides helicopter tours in the city. "We've had 200 customers since August. The demand has been increasing by the day." 

Read more on Today's Zaman: AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW OF ISTANBUL

Istanbul Fears ‘Arabization' with Syrian Refugee Influx


Walking in the streets of İstanbul, one may think it is an Arab city as they encounter many Syrian men, women and children, some of whom enjoy the most beautiful places in the city while others live on the streets in misery.

Turkey, a country that has attracted a large number of Syrian refugees since the civil war in the neighboring country began more than three years ago, is now trying to tackle social problems caused by the refugee influx. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Turkey officially hosts nearly 1.4 million Syrians in and outside refugee camps in the country and has spent around $4 billion on Syrian refugees so far. In addition, the government estimates that hundreds of thousands more Syrians have sought sanctuary in Turkey without formally registering, the agency said.

The number of Syrians in İstanbul is 330,000, according to official Turkish sources. They mostly live in the Fatih, Esenler and Esenyurt districts.

Unlike other refugees who come from Africa or countries such as Moldova, Syrian refugees freely wander the streets of İstanbul, in the historical peninsula in particular. They do not have any worries about deportation, unlike other refugees, since it was the government itself that opened the country's border to them. The Syrian refugees are slowly establishing their own world in İstanbul with their own language, music, food, etc. 



October 11, 2014

Public Bus with Green Roof Takes to Istanbul’s Streets


A public bus with a green roof garden has hit the road in Istanbul as part of a new effort by Istanbul Electrics, Trams and Tunnel Management (İETT) to raise awareness of environmental concerns.

The bus - dubbed the “Botobüs,” a combination of “botanic” and “bus” - has started by carrying passengers between Edirnekapı and Taksim. The number of buses is planned to increase, including routes featuring many overpasses to allow pedestrians to see the gardens easily.

The evergreen species planted on the bus’ roof absorb CO2 emitted by the bus while it makes its way across town. The plants then release oxygen that helps clean the air, and the garden also naturally cools the interior of the bus.



Historic French Palace in Istanbul Now Open to Public


The French Consulate General on Saturday opened the gates of the French Palace in İstanbul to visitors in an effort to share Turkey and France's common cultural heritage with the people of the city.

The French Palace is open to visitors free of charge on Saturdays as part of a larger project undertaken by France. According to the briefing given by Consul General Domenach, her country has been organizing “open door days” in historic buildings for the last three decades.

The French consul general says one of the reasons behind opening the doors of the complex to the public is that it is a part of İstanbul's heritage. Indeed, the French Palace has a deeper meaning for the family of the consul general. Her husband's great-grandfather had served as ambassador to İstanbul up until the end of World War I in 1914. The Ottoman fountain that is located in the garden was a gift to that ambassador's wife by the Ottoman sultan. Domenach's husband Olivier Bouquet became a historian out of interest in his ancestor's story and specializes in Ottoman history.

The halls of the French Palace are decorated with historic tapestries, some of which have been restored, vases, paintings and statues including a marble statue of Napoleon Bonaparte. The tapestries are full of lily motifs, since the lily symbolizes the French state. Indeed, as Consul General Domenach says, the historic relationship between the French and the Turks is called the “tulip-lily relationship” since the Ottomans used tulips extensively. 



October 10, 2014

Ayse Birsel On Istanbul's Best Design Secrets


Welcome to Wanderlust, a weekly series on Co.Design where some of our favorite designers share their secret picks and insider tips for the best design cities on the planet. Today, Ayse Birsel of the award-winning innovation and design studio Birsel + Seck takes us on a tour of Istanbul.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN CITY, AND WHY?

Istanbul is an incredible place--I've never seen any place like it. It's so full of contrasts, and as a designer, I'm really interested in dichotomy. There's a combination of old and new, beautiful and ugly, Asian and European, Muslim and secular. You name it. It's very clean and very dirty; very organized and incredibly chaotic. But most of all, it's incredibly beautiful. Istanbul sits on seven hills and on two sides of the Bosphorus. You're in Europe one moment and in Asia the other. Centuries-old architecture is intermixed with modern architecture. And it's full of surprises--even for people who have lived in Istanbul forever. In the recent years, a lot more designers have taken notice. There are more and more art and design events happening in Istanbul.

WHAT DESIGN DESTINATIONS DO YOU VISIT? 

In the space of a day, you would definitely start with the old palace and the old portion of the city, which is Topkapi and Haga Sophia. In that neighborhood, there's the old Byzantine palace, which has incredible mosaics still intact. There's the archaeological museums, that's amazing. There's the Blue Mosque. I don't go into those because they're almost endless! Then go have lunch, go through Nişantaşı. Gönül Paksoy in Tesvikiye is a fashion designer who takes Ottoman textiles and reuses them and has an incredible visual sense. And then Ela Cindoruk and Nazan Pak just opened a jewelry store. They've been in business more than 20 years, and it's an amazing collection of contemporary jewelry. And then House Cafe. That's what I would do.



WEEKEND GETAWAYS NEAR ISTANBUL


Leaving the hot and suffocating days behind, Istanbul welcomes the best season to find a nice weekend getaway. Istanbul's autumn begins around mid-September and lasts until mid-November. 

With temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius, it's a time that allows you to discover the beauty of the city amid a suitable atmosphere for outdoor dining and sightseeing along the Bosporus.

All holidaymakers who invade western touristic cities in summer start to return to the heart of the country, Istanbul, and revive the city's fancy streets when September says "hi."

Autumn is one of the busiest festival and event seasons for Istanbul, such as the Istanbul Biennial (held every September-November) and Contemporary Istanbul (in November) so the entire city embraces its dynamism again.

Even though most residents realize that autumn brings dynamism to the city, a weekend escape to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city is still necessary for those who live in this metropolis.

It does not matter if you are an expat or a local residing in Istanbul. If what you are looking for over the weekend is to find a quiet place to see the beauties surrounding Istanbul, you will find tranquil sanctuaries amid nature in this article.

It is the last call to discover the havens around Istanbul before winter starts to knock at our doors.

Read more on Daily Sabah: WEEKEND GETAWAYS NEAR ISTANBUL





October 09, 2014

Simit Sellers Removed from Central Istanbul


Street vendors selling simits, a local savoury pastry enjoyed by all walks of life, have been removed from central spots across Istanbul, with police citing widespread malpractice among unregistered simit sellers.

It is a tradition for many Turks to have simit for breakfast, and street vendors can generally be found at every main street, subway station or any other central point.

However, Tayfun Karaali, the head of the municipal police, said in a statement that the municipality had made such a decision to combat pirate simit sellers.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Simit Sellers Removed from Central Istanbul


Raffles Istanbul Turkey Review


The latest Raffles hotel forms an integral part of the award-winning Zorlu Centre, which comprises an upmarket shopping centre and a state-of-the-art performance venue. Unlike the majority of luxury hotels in Istanbul, Raffles does not pay homage to the city’s bygone Byzantine and Ottoman eras but stands instead as a symbol of a modern, self-confident Turkey. The hotel had its grand opening on September 1 and Lady Gaga, the American singer, was among the first guests. 

Read more on The Telegraph: Raffles Istanbul Turkey Review

Vanishing Istanbul: Developers Call Time on Bohemian Backstreets


On a warm evening in Istanbul, a bar called Kooperatif announced its last call.

Friends old and new gathered in the art and performance hall, located in the heart of the city's Beyoglu district, for a smoke-filled goodbye accompanied by live music and doses of nostalgia.

Kooperatif closed its doors in Rumeli Han, a venerable 19th-century Ottoman shopping arcade that until recently housed an eclectic mix of tenants, including an Indian cultural center, a rock-climbing wall and the district headquarters of the Turkish Communist Party.

Safak Velioglu, founder and owner of Kooperatif, called Rumeli Han a "small republic."

"The story of the closing of Kooperatif is about gentrification" Velioglu says.

"In the last 20 or 30 years, [establishments] like Kooperatif became very interesting places for different interests, art galleries and workshop areas.

"After gentrification, nobody could afford to find a place."

Velioglu had been paying $2,000 a month to run his pub in the basement of Rumeli Han.

After the rent for the place was quadrupled, he'd little choice but to close the bar.

Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and business hub, has witnessed a surge in population and a boom in urban construction projects over the past decade.









October 08, 2014

Dresses of Queen Marie Jose on display in Istanbul

The daughter of the King of Belgium, Queen Marie José was a style icon of her time. In 1930 she married Italian Crown Prince Umberto, and became an icon of elegance within a world of art and music. Her clothes were produced by haute-couture houses of Italy. To display her clothes represents not only the beauty of the era and her throne, but also the power of appearance as a tool within acting as Queen. An exhibition in Istanbul is featuring a selection of the Queen's mantles and evening dresses made in silk, satin and velvet and embroidered with gold and silver threads.

The exhibition, called "A Timeless Taste: A Royal Wardrobe" bears witness to the power of appearance in this period when Europe experienced political turmoil. The wardrobe will be presented alongside photographs and objects and you will be immersed in the life of a Belgian turned Italian Queen. 


FRENCH CULTURAL INSTITUTE GATHERS ANIMATION-LOVERS IN ISTANBUL


Co-organized by the French Cultural Institute in Turkey and the Animation Association, the second annual International Animation Days will take place at the French Cultural Institute in Taksim, Istanbul, from Oct. 13-16. During the event, several animated feature films will be screened for the first time in Turkey. The organization will offer 27 animated feature films during 12 sessions, a live performance and workshops to animation fans. The honored guest of this year's festival will be Jacques-Rémy Girerd, founder of Folimage Animation Studios and La Poudrière School of Animation. Girerd, who was nominated for an Academy Award, is known as the most productive French director, producer and educator.

This year's event will also commemorate Academy Award winner Norman McLaren who influenced artists such as Picasso, Truffaut and George Lucas and marked an era in the history of cinema. On the occasion of his 100th birthday, eight films, directed by contemporary directors in the memory of McLaren, will be screened within the scope of the festival. One of the biggest events of the festival, a live performance by NohLab, will take place on Oct. 14 at 8:00 p.m. in the memory of McLaren. The aim of the performance is to present the hybrid perception of sound and visual images using the real-time visual production software "NOS," which was developed by NohLab and Osman Koç, interlaced with a digital music composition produced by Eser Karaca to form an unforgettable audio-visual experience.

The second annual International Animation Days will be free of charge for students during special sessions. The ticket, which allows participants to attend every event of the festival, is only TL 10 ($4.40).



’80s Artist Bonnie Tyler to Perform in Istanbul


Internationally acclaimed Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, best known for the hits “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Holding Out for a Hero” in the 1980s, will perform at Istanbul’s Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall on Oct. 27.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: ’80s Artist Bonnie Tyler to Perform in Istanbul

Insider Istanbul - Where to Eat, Sleep, and Explore

It’s the city that redefined decadence: by fusing Eastern and Western influences over hundreds of years, Istanbul has grown into a city full of magical energy, opulence, and grandeur.

It's the city that redefined decadence: by fusing Eastern and Western influences over hundreds of years, Istanbul has grown into a city full of magical energy, opulence, and grandeur.

Here (in the original article, through the below link) we highlight some of the city's richest experiences, including a hotel in a former Ottoman palace and a restaurant with breathtaking views of the Bosphorus.

Read more on Condé Nast Traveler: Insider Istanbul: Where to Eat, Sleep, and Explore


October 07, 2014

Syrian Christians Take Shelter in Istanbul Church


The Meryem Ana (Mother Mary) Church of the local Syriac community in Istanbul’s Samatya neighborhood is also hosting Syrian Armenians and Berbers. Turgay Alınışık, the manager of the foundation for the Syriac community, told Hürriyet that the number of refugees taking shelter in the church was constantly changing. The church provides refuge for all, regardless of their religion or sect, Alınışık added.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Syrian Christians Take Shelter in Istanbul Church

Story of a Unique Catalogue at Istanbul Archaeological Museum


Istanbul is currently hosting a one-of-a-kind exhibition about the documentation of archaeological works in the İstanbul Archaeological Museum, Turkey's oldest museum, founded in the late 19th century by Osman Hamdi Bey.

Curated by Professor Edhem Eldem, an acclaimed historian and scholar, the exhibition offers a look at both the history of the museum and its collection, while standing as a must-see for archive enthusiasts with its detailed depiction of the cataloguing process.


September 25, 2014

Rocca Restaurant at Raffles


The newly opened Raffles Hotel at Zorlu Center located on the premises of the prestigious Zorlu Center is set to shake Istanbul’s gastronomic scene with a number of bars as well as two distinct restaurants. Even a quick first glance reveals that Raffles’ motto, ‘passion to exceed’, seems immersed into the culture of their newest branch. Rocca Restaurant, located on the entrance floor, has indeed exceeded our expectations, and will surely set a new standard for hotel dining experiences across the city. Rocca Restaurant’s executive chef is Ali Ronay, whose past ties with the Kitchen Guerilla and Gastronomika are balanced with his extensive experiences at the Kempinski Barbaros Bay in Bodrum, the Ritz Carlton Istanbul and the Dionysos Hotel in Kumlubük, Marmaris, to name a few. The menu he has exclusively created and will be heading up at Rocca restaurant is an ode to the excellent service, the grandeur and the authentic flavors of Istanbul’s old upscale lokantas. In their newly developed a la carte menu, Ronay and his team reworked Turkish flavors according to their inquisitive palates and aesthetic sensibilities. 

Read more on The Guide Istanbul: Rocca Restaurant at Raffles

September 22, 2014

ArtInternational 2014: Booths to Look For


The second installment of ArtInternational will take place from September 26-28 at the Haliç Congress Center and will showcase 78 international galleries and 12 galleries from Istanbul. Art world power-houses like Lisson Gallery, Kerlin Gallery, and Lehmann Maupin are a small sampling of galleries that will show established and museum-level artists. Amidst this fair you’ll find works by Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, street artist Banksy, and one of Damien Hirst’s famous butterfly works, to name a few.

Art fairs can be a whirlwind of over-stimulation and too-quick glances. But when they are good, when they are doing what they are meant to, they are about remembering that one work of art after the deluge. Here, we will focus on the moments we predict you might find something worth remembering at the fair, the moments you may discover something that you would otherwise not be able to see. This is not to underestimate the presence of those aforementioned mega-star galleries, who are always welcome to put things in our line of sight. Nor is picking these international booths meant to neglect our hometown favorites like Galeri NON, Pi Artworks, (who also have a space in London), and Rampa. They all showed great booths at last year’s fair, and we are sure they won’t disappoint this year. Rodeo Gallery will join the Istanbul galleries at the fair this year and will surely be a go-to booth as well. We mean to discuss, instead, ArtInternational bringing us something or someone we hadn’t yet known, but something that feels particularly relevant here.

Read more on The Guide Istanbul: ArtInternational 2014: Booths to Look For

Istanbul Biennial Curator Reveals Concept Behind 'Saltwater' Theme


The Turkish art world took to the stage on the 10th of September, to attend the launch of the concept behind Istanbul’s upcoming art biennial. Called “Saltwater: a Theory of Thought Forms”, the exhibition is due to take place in a variety of unconventional venues throughout the city in year’s time (5 September- 1 November 2015).

To make the point, the curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, a former artistic director of Documenta 13, described the framework from the stalls of the gently dilapidating Haldun Taner theatre, originally constructed as a quay-side fruit and vegetable market on the Asian side of Istanbul. Those attending were seated in serried rows on the actors’ side of the proscenium arch.

The biennial will be “a city-wide project on the Bosphorus that considers different frequencies and patterns of waves, the currents and densities of water both visible and invisible, that poetically shape and transform the world,” Christov-Bakargiev said. Istanbul is sited at the pinch point between the cool waters of the Black Sea and the warmer, more saline Sea of Marmara and from one perspective its history has been shaped over the millennia by the brisk current between the two. Christov-Bakargiev said that the concept of waves “refers to history and resistance”.


September 20, 2014

Istanbul May be at Risk for a Major Earthquake in the Future


It turns out that the coast of Istanbul may be in for a major earthquake in the future. Scientists have examined different segments of the North Anatolian Fault, one of the most energetic earthquake zones in the world, and have found that tension may be building along this fault.

When a segment of a major fault line becomes quiet, it can either mean that the "seismic gap" is simply inactive, or that the segment may be a source of potential earthquakes as it quietly builds tension. That's why researchers decided to examine the North Anatolian Fault, looking at 20 years of GPS data along the fault. More specifically, the scientists took data along the fault from about 100 GPS locations, including stations where data are collected continuously. This allowed them to determine that the next large earthquake to strike the region will likely occur along a seismic gap between the Sea of Marmara, which is just five miles west of Istanbul. 

FINE DINING IN ISTANBUL


Gastroclub studied the average cost of a meal served in restaurants appealing to low and high-income groups in 30 tourist cities in Europe. The study revealed that Copenhagen is the most expensive city where the high-income group dine. According to the study, a person pays approximately 87.18 euros (TL 243.80; $112.92) to eat a luxury meal in Copenhagen. The cheapest city is the Bulgarian capital Sofia at 20.40 euros, while Turkey follows Sofia at 21.54 euros. The average cost of a luxury meal in Europe is 44.93 euros.

Speaking to an Anadolu Agency (AA) reporter, Gastroclub founding partner Çaglar Karatas gave insights into their study. He noted that the study took low and high-income restaurants into account and that the cost of alcohol was not included.

Istanbul is one of the cheapest cities in Europe both for low and high-income groups. He said that in Istanbul, tourists can have a "fine dining" experience for half the price that they would pay in Europe. "I want to make it clear that "cheap" is a relative term," said Karatas, adding, "Although dining in cities such as Sofia, Istanbul and Prague is not as pricey as other European cities, it is not cheap for their locals since their level of income is lower than their counterparts in other parts of Europe." He added that Istanbul is becoming a "Gastro City."

Read more on Daily Sabah: FINE DINING IN ISTANBUL


September 19, 2014

Istanbul Faces Ecological Disaster with Crazy Projects


Drought and water shortages have been at the top of the country's agenda recently. The rainfall this year has been insufficient and the reservoirs are at worryingly low levels. In addition, the wetlands north of the megacity of İstanbul, which are on the migration route of migratory birds, are being destroyed. Not only the wetlands but also the forests are being ravaged during the construction of the third airport and the third bridge of Istanbul. This is an ecological disaster.

Read more on Today's Zaman:  Istanbul Faces Ecological Disaster with Crazy Projects

Istanbul’s Third Airport Threatens Birds’ Migration Routes



Istanbul’s third airport is located along one of the most important migration routes for birds, experts say, warning that its construction poses dangers not only to the environment, but even flights.

Zeynel Arslangündoğdu, an expert of ornithology at Istanbul University, told Radikal that the northern forests in Istanbul’s European side are among the main corridors used by migrating birds crossing the metropolis.

The controversial facility, promoted by the government to showcase development, will become not only Istanbul’s largest airport but also one of the world’s major hubs. Its construction in one of the city’s most precious natural areas, however, has drawn criticism from activists denouncing a culture of plunder and destruction.

The airport will not only inflict a heavy toll on the living creatures in the affected forests, but may also hold a large impact for birds, Arslangündoğdu said. Some 600,000 birds fly each year in spring and autumn over the area where the airport is being built, including rare species under protection by the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, to which Turkey is a party, according to Arslangündoğdu.

“Turkey is richer than many European countries in terms of bird species. There are some 470 species across the country. In the area affected by the third airport and the roads connecting to it … we are talking about 200 species. In other words, half of the species in Turkey live there,” he said, adding that migratory birds include rare raptors such as rarely spotted eagles.

September 17, 2014

MOVIE: One Night in Istanbul



Follow the journey of two die-hard Liverpool fans who just have to get to Turkey to watch the 2005 Champions League, only for a few problems to pop up along the way.

An Aerial Tour of Istanbul's Disappearing Forests


Looking at satellite photos of Istanbul over the past 40 years provides a clear view of how the city's forests have been disappearing. Serkan Ocak, Yücel Sönmez and Murat Şaka went up with a helicopter to get an even better understanding of the situation and saw firsthand the area’s transformation.

They saw that vast areas of trees and green land had been wiped out over the years—and hectares more are waiting in line to be destroyed for new projects, such as the city’s third bridge and third airport. 

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: An Aerial Tour of Istanbul's Disappearing Forests

Taxi Fares in Istanbul up by 9%


Taxi fares in Istanbul will soon be hiked by around 9 percent for the first time in 18 months.

While the minimum fare will be raised from 2.95 Turkish Liras to 3.20 liras, the fare per kilometer will rise from 1.83 liras to 2 liras, according to a decision announced by Istanbul’s Chamber of Artisan Taxi Drivers on their website.

Therefore, the minimum amount will increase by 8.5 percent, while the fee per kilometer will become 9.3 percent, which is higher compared to the current rate.

The announcement did not state when the new price tariff will go into effect.

Read more on Hürriyet Daily News: Taxi Fares in Istanbul up by 9%


September 15, 2014

Istanbul's 'Illegal' Towers to Be Demolished After Landmark Court Ruling


Oliver Wainwright - Butting into the Istanbul skyline like a trio of stumpy minarets, three luxury apartment towers loom above the city’s historic peninsula, destroying a majestic silhouette of domes and spires that has remained unchanged for centuries. But now, in an unprecedented ruling, an order from the highest court in Turkey has ordered the buildings to be pulled down.

The OnaltiDokuz Residence, which comprises three graceless shafts of 27, 32 and 37 storeys in the western district of Zeytinburnu, claimed to “redefine what it means to be a citizen”, offering its wealthy residents “a new perspective with breathtaking panoramic views”. Its million-pound penthouses were to provide a “unique living philosophy”, a vantage point from which “the city surrounds you in all its magnificence”. But the city itself wasn’t so keen. The development sparked widespread outrage, lumbering into view like an uninvited guest, photobombing cherished vistas of the 400-year-old Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.

Now the Turkish Council of State has weighed in, approving an earlier ruling by an Istanbul court in May that ordered the buildings’ demolition. It ruled that the structures were illegal, as they “negatively affected the world heritage site that the Turkish government was obliged to protect”. The decision follows earlier murmurings from Unesco, that the city might be placed on its endangered list if the rampant construction continues to press ahead unabated. It is a landmark ruling, but not one that helps to clarify the legal situation of Istanbul’s unstoppable building boom in the slightest.



Istanbul Travel Tips: Where to Go & What to See in 48 Hours


Given its perch at the brink of two continents and its provenance as the treasured capital of two empires, Istanbul seems perpetually at a crossroads. Yet it's perfectly at ease in its myriad personalities: as a buzzing European metropolis bedecked with classical Islamic architecture. And this is the season to visit, with warm autumnal weather that won't leave avid sightseers hot under the collar.

This month Turkey's cultural capital kicks off its arts season with ArtInternational (istanbulartinternational.com; 26-28 September) bringing 80 galleries from around the world to exhibit at venues across the city, including a sculpture terrace on the pier (1) overlooking the Golden Horn. Meanwhile, the esteemed Pera Museum (2) goes "street" with an exhibition of graffiti, until 5 October (Merutiyet Caddesi 65; 00 90 212 334 99 00; peramuzesi.org.tr; TL15/£4; closed Monday). Movie and music fans are also well catered for, with the Filmekimi festival, 11-17 October (filmekimi.iksv.org) and Akbank Jazz, from 23 October-2 November (akbanksanat.com).