August 03, 2015

SAME CITY, BUT DIFFERENT


LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Istanbul opened at Forum Istanbul on July 30 and has the chance to become a must-visit destination by visitors of all ages. 

Istanbul-lovers will have the unique opportunity to see their favorite city from a different perspective and re-discover the most popular sites. 

Read more on The Guide Istanbul: SAME CITY, BUT DIFFERENT

July 23, 2015

Remembering Agatha Christie at ‘Black Week Turkey’ Events in Istanbul


One of the world’s oldest luxury hotels, the Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah in Istanbul, will host the “Black Week Turkey” event on Oct. 22-24 in honor of Agatha Christie’s 125th birthday with the attendance of the famous author’s grandson and a number of leading crime fiction authors.

The internationally renowned crime fiction festival this year, for the first time, will be held in the Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah, where the cultural richness of the festival will be augmented by a diverse body of guest speakers, including Christie’s grandson Matthew Prichard, and special events which will be held in Christie’s honor. 

TEB BNP Paribas İstanbul Cup


Taking place until July 26, the TEB BNP Paribas İstanbul Cup is a Women's Tennis Association (WTA) event that has hosted world-renowned tennis players including Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Caroline Wozniacki.

The tournament will be held at the Garanti Koza Arena, which is the largest tennis center and most advanced sports complex in Turkey and Europe.

Since 2005, the competition has allowed elite female players of the world to meet and showcase their sporting skills, while giving exposure to the modern and culturally advanced face of Turkey.

Some of the prestigious names competing this year are Venus Williams, Elina Svitolina, and Jelena Jankovic.

Read More on The Guide Istanbul: TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup



July 17, 2015

AN INSIDERS GUIDE: THINGS TO DO IN ISTANBUL

Luxury Launches and Istanbul’s Grand Tarabya Hotel, of the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio, have specially crafted an itinerary for all our globe trotters this season. Of course, this itinerary covers all aspects of your favourite Turkish destination; think dining, shopping and exploring some of the most well-known secrets of this bustling city. 

But more about the city- with its historical peninsula, numerous scenic and historical beauties, Istanbul is a magnificently unique city that has been capital to many civilizations from past to present and still continues to be home to residents from all over the world. 

Europe and Asia meet in Istanbul, and throughout this vibrant city, you’ll find traditional and religious landmarks happily co-existing with modern restaurants, galleries and nightclubs. 


Must Try Dish: The Meze

The best dish is arguably the Meze – a selection of traditional Middle Eastern and Turkish savoury dips. The mezesare is usually placed at the middle of the table and shared. Toasted bread complements the various dishes. This is aherbivore centric meal.

The meze platter consists of a variety of dips, the recommended ones are:
* Chili Tomato Paste (Ezme)
* Grilled Eggplants with Yogurt (Patlıcan Ezmesi)
* Grilled Eggplant Salad (Patlıcan Salatası)
* Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce (Şakşuka)
* Mint Yogurt Dip (Haydari)
* Pinto Beans (Barbunya)
* Artichoke (Zeytinyağlı Enginar)

Read more on Luxury Launches: AN INSIDERS GUIDE – THINGS TO DO IN ISTANBUL

July 16, 2015

ARTINTERNATIONAL will take place between 4 and 6 September

ARTINTERNATIONAL, Istanbul's global contemporary and modern art fair, has today announced participating galleries for its third edition. Returning to the Haliç Congress Center, on the banks of Istanbul's Golden Horn, ARTINTERNATIONAL will take place between 4 and 6 September, and feature 88 galleries from 24 countries, with 13 from the fair's host country. 



 PARTICIPATING GALLERIES 

ARTINTERNATIONAL received a record number of applicants this year and the selection was assessed by the fair's Selection Committee consisting of LEILA HELLER GALLERY, New York; GALERIE KRINZINGER, Vienna; PI ARTWORKS, Istanbul & London and RAMPA, Istanbul. Participants come from 24 countries spanning Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East, Central Asia, India and China. Several galleries will be attending for the fair for the first time including VICTORIA MIRO (London), SAKSHI GALLERY (Mumbai), ASPAN GALLERY (Almaty), GARLERIE DU MONDE (Hong Kong) and AICON GALLERY (New York & London). Turkish galleries KUAD, ÖKTEM&AYKUT and THE EMPIRE PROJECT will participate for the first time, joining previous participants: .artSümer, DIRIMART, GALERIST, GALLERY NEV ANKARA, PI ARTWORKS, SANATORIUM, RAMPA, X-IST and GALERI ZILBERMAN. 

Through generous support of the Catalan government, twelve galleries from Art Barcelona (Associació de Galeries) will participate in the fair, including ADN GALERÍA, ÀNGELS BARCELONA, GALERIA JOAN GASPAR, MIGUEL MARCUS GALLERY, N2 GALERÍA, POLIGRAFA OBRA GRÁFICA, GALERIA JOAN PRATS, GALERIA SICART, GALERIA SENDA, GALERIA CARLES TACHÉ PROJECTS, GALERIA TRAMA and VALID FOTO BCN GALLERY. For its third edition, a number of leading galleries will be joining ARTINTERNATIONAL, participating alongside returning exhibitors including PAUL KASMIN GALLERY (New York), PEARL LAM GALLERIES (Hong Kong, Shanghai & Singapore), KUKJE GALLERY/TINA KIM GALLERY (Seoul/New York), GALERIE LELONG (Paris), KALFAYAN GALLERIES (Athens & Thessaloniki), DEWEER GALLERY (Otegum, Belgium), ROBERT MILLER GALLERY (New York) and GALLERI ANDERSSON/SANDSTRÖM (Stockholm & Umeå) 

Fair director Dyala Nusseibeh commented, "ARTINTERNATIONAL, which last year received over 22,000 visitors, is fast establishing a reputation as a fair of discovery. We are pleased to have regional galleries from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia joining us alongside galleries from further afield in September. Istanbul continues to be a dynamic global hub for art and this is reflected in the diverse, exciting quality of works being presented at the fair. This year's edition coincides with the official opening of the 14th Istanbul Biennial and we look forward to welcoming an audience of collectors, curators, arts professionals and art lovers for what promises to be an enormously vibrant week for art in Istanbul." 

 ARTINTERNATIONAL 2015 GALLERY LIST 

MARTINE ABOUCAYA, Paris / ADN GALERÍA, Barcelona / AICON GALLERY, New York & London / LOUISE ALEXANDER GALLERY, Porto Cervo / SABRINA AMRANI GALLERY, Madrid / GALLERI ANDERSSON/SANDSTRÖM, Stockholm & Umeå / Andipa Gallery, London / ÀNGELS BARCELONA, Barcelona / .artSümer, Istanbul / ASPAN GALLERY, Almaty / ASSAR ART GALLERY, Tehran / PIERO ATCHUGARRY, Tierra Garzón / BERLONI, London / BOCCANERA, Trento / CHARIM GALERIE, Vienna / CIRCLE CULTURE GALLERY, Berlin / DEWEER GALLERY, Otegum, Belgium / DIRIMART, Istanbul / THE EMPIRE PROJECT, Istanbul / EX ELETTROFONICA, Rome / GALLERIA MARIE-LAURE FLEISCH, Rome / GALERIA JOAN GASPAR, Barcelona / GALERIST, Istanbul / GAZELLI ART HOUSE, London & Baku / GIACOMO GUIDI, Rome / LEILA HELLER GALLERY, New York / ERNST HILGER, Vienna / CECILIA HILLSTRÖM GALLERY, Stockholm / TRISTAN HOARE, London / HORRACH MOYA, Palma de Mallorca / HOSFELT GALLERY, San Francisco / KALFAYAN GALLERIES, Athens & Thessaloniki / PAUL KASMIN GALLERY, New York / TINA KIM GALLERY, New York / GALERIE KORNFELD, Berlin / GALERIE KRINZINGER, Vienna / KUAD GALLERY, Istanbul / KUKJE GALLERY, Seoul / PEARL LAM GALLERIES, Hong Kong, Shanghai & Singapore / GALERIE LELONG, Paris / GALERIE LINDNER, Vienna / LISABIRD CONTEMPORARY, Vienna / GALERIA JAVIER LOPEZ & FER FRANCES, Madrid / PATRICIA LOW CONTEMPORARY, Gstaad & St Moritz / ANNA JILL LÜPERTZ GALLERY, Berlin / EDOUARD MALINGUE GALLERY, Hong Kong / MIGUEL MARCOS GALLERY, Barcelona / ROBERT MILLER GALLERY, New York / VICTORIA MIRO, London / MARIO MAURONER CONTEMPORARY ART, Vienna & Salzburg / GALERIE DU MONDE, Hong Kong / N2 GALERÍA, Barcelona / GALERI NEV, Ankara / NITRA GALLERY, Thessaloniki / OFFICINE DELL’IMMAGINE, Milan / ÖKTEM&AYKUT, Istanbul / GALERIE PARIS-BEIJING, Paris, Brussels & Beijing / PI ARTWORKS, Istanbul & London / PILOT, Istanbul / POLIGRAFA OBRA GRÁFICA, Barcelona / ROSENFELD PORCINI, London / PROJECT ARTBEAT, Tbilisi / GALERIE JÉRÔME POGGI, Paris / GALERIA JOAN PRATS, Barcelona / RAMPA, Istanbul / GALERIE RAUM MIT LICHT, Vienna / NOSBAUM REDING, Luxembourg / RUKSHAAN ART, Mumbai / SAKSHI GALLERY, Mumbai / SANATORIUM, Istanbul / SARIEV CONTEMPORARY, Plovdiv / GALERIA SICART, Barcelona / GALERIA SENDA, Barcelona / STUDIO SALES DI NORBERTO RUGGERI, Rome / CATINCA TABACARU GALLERY, New York / GALERIA CARLES TACHÉ PROJECTS, Barcelona / GALERIE SUZANNE TARASIEVE, Paris / TENDERPIXEL, London / GALERIA TRAMA, Barcelona / UNTIL THEN, Paris / UPSTREAM GALLERY, Amsterdam / VALID FOTO BCN GALLERY, Barcelona / waterside contemporary, London / W&K - WIENERROITHER & KOHLBACHER, Vienna / X-IST, Istanbul / ŻAK | BRANICKA, Berlin / GALERI ZILBERMAN, Istanbul / ZORZINI GALLERY, Bucharest

July 15, 2015

Istanbul's Best Museums and Galleries


Istanbul isn't just about historic monuments. The city is fast becoming known for its excellent art scene, with galleries like the impressive Istanbul Modern leading the way in presenting modern and contemporary art to locals and visitors alike, and many smaller galleries following suit. Long-established museums such as the almost overwhelming Istanbul Archaeology Museums still draw the crowds with exquisite objects like the Alexander Sarcophagus, while others offer eye-opening insights into Turkey’s artistic heritage. 

Read more on Lonely Planet: Istanbul's Best Museums and Galleries

May 10, 2015

Caricatures for Peace Exhibition Opens at French Cultural Centre

Caricatures for Peace exhibition opens @institutfrancaisistanbul next Friday, on the 15th of May. The exhibition will showcase selected pieces from Aydın Doğan International Caricature Competition 


March 27, 2015

14 Landmarks That Support WWF's #EarthHour

Join hundreds of millions of people around the world and turn off your lights for one hour to show your commitment to climate change action now. It's time we speak up and demand a better future for our planet. Istanbul is turning off the lights on its 14 major landmarks!

Fast forward into to the future now! >>> Istanbul Celebrates #EarthHour 2016! 
If you are reading this post in 2016, here is an exclusive #EarthHour event for the lucky few >>> Earth Hour Celebration Cruise















January 12, 2015

On Foreign Ground’ by Jacques Tange in Istanbul


Jacques Tange, who has won the ‘Artist of the Year Award’ in the Netherlands in 2005/2006, will exhibit at Gallery Art350 here in Istanbul from the 8th of January until the 15th of February. The title of his exhibition ‘On Foreign Ground’ refers to the fact that this is his first show in an unknown country for him, in other words, he is taking one step outside Europe. This adventure of change and exhibiting in a completely different country brings some questions into the artist’s mind and most importantly, he wonders how people will react to his work.

January 07, 2015

Thousands-Year-Old Bones Come to Surface in Istanbul


The identification of a cut on a skull that was unearthed during the Bathonea excavations, which archaeologists have been conducting in the Küçükçekmece lake basin for the last five years, appears to reveal that brain surgery was performed 1,000 years ago.

One of the excavation team members, forensic science expert Ömer Turan, said the Kocaeli University Department of Forensic Science had been conducting the excavations since 2010 and opened nearly 70 graves in two different fields so far.

Turan said babies and people of all ages had been buried in these graves, and the team has removed the bones of humans who lived between the 6th and 11th centuries B.C.

“There is a human group between the ages of 20 and 35. The men’s average height is 1.65 meter and for women it is between 1.50 and 1.55 meters. Their backbones had the most damage. Health problems such as arthritis, rheumatism and bone flexure, which are usually only seen in the elderly, are seen in these bones. It may be because of genetic transformation through families or because it was a society working under hard conditions with problems in nutrition,” he added.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Thousands-Year-Old Bones Come to Surface in Istanbul

Turkey's SPA Scene: Istanbul Scrubs up Well


We're in a steamy antechamber in the heart of historic Istanbul. My hamamci, Fatih, has unfolded me on to the searing gobek tasi marble slab that fills the centre of the steam room. This is no dainty tourist massage. I'm battered flat like a wiener schnitzel. Fatih uses his elbows and forearms to exorcise the ghosts of winter from within me.

The only respite from the marble furnace is when Fatih brings me a glass of iced mineral water. When he isn't looking, I dab some on my buttocks to ease the scald. I'm then lathered up like a soapsud snowman to scrub the toxins from my skin.

Despite appearances, this luxury bathhouse experience at the Ayasofya Hamami – opposite Istanbul's Aya Sofya Museum – has barely existed since the end of the days of the sultans a century ago. Like the English pub, the future of the Turkish hamam seemed bleak until recently. An entire generation of Turks preferred showers at home, and the idea of using a public bathhouse was deemed archaic. The Ayasofya Hamami was turned into a carpet showroom before being sympathetically renovated in 2008. Now, glass walkways display the original sit-in-a-row toilets and 15th-century furnaces. I'm part of a hamam revolution. And it feels hot.

The hamam's splendour becomes apparent as Fatih settles me on to a divan in the reclining room. I'm swaddled in no less than five fluffy towels. An attendant brings tea and a silver box of Turkish delight. I sigh as the stress eases in my shoulders. I feel like a sultan after a busy morning drinking sherbet and executing people, and I drift into an easy sleep.

Read more on The Independent: Turkey's SPA Scene: Istanbul Scrubs up Well



Forgotten Gems Abound in İstanbul’s Old City


The lower end of the old city is loaded with interesting shopping opportunities that offer an escape from the banality of the shopping mall and the packed, touristy feel of the Egyptian and Grand Bazaars. Amid the winding labyrinth of Tahtakale lies Şark Han, informally known as the Chinese Bazaar due to its heavy concentration of Chinese-made goods. Şark Han is a paradise for collectors of cheap knick-knacks, with floor after floor of unusual gift possibilities. The Tahtakale Commerce Center -- or Electronics Sellers' Bazaar -- housed in a beautiful century-old building with slightly compromised integrity due to its soulless modern sign, is a one-stop-shop for electronic needs. In the corner on the ground floor there is even a shop selling sunglasses and umbrellas, polar opposite products that indicate the desire of the proprietor to remain seasonally competitive.

Tahtakale's compact streets are full to the brim with shops selling jewelry materials, curious storefronts that shower one's field of vision with the gleaming multi-colored hues of beads and tassels. A stark overabundance of small stands selling fake Viagra and similar contraband makes one wonder about the actual demand for such products, or if there is something else going on behind the scenes.

The area is architectural splendor that is home to hundreds of gorgeous century-old buildings that are mostly ignored or even totally vacant. The Deutsche Orient Bank building, or Germania Hanı located past Tahtakale toward Sirkeci on the other side of the Egyptian Bazaar, is one of İstanbul's underrated heroes and looks to be completely unoccupied save for an overzealous hustler of cheap umbrellas operating from its front steps. The elegant art nouveau building is topped with a melancholy turquoise dome that charmingly accentuates the old city skyline and stands out while observing the view from a Bosporus ferry.

It was designed by August Jachmund, a German architect better known for being behind the nearby Sirkeci train station. Jachmund and his apprentice Kemaleddin Bey, who blossomed into a renowned architect in his own right, are responsible for a wealth of architectural splendor in the area. Kemaleddin designed the adjacent İstanbul Birinci Vakıf Hanı building, as well as the İstanbul Dördüncü Vakıf Hanı, which now houses the five-star Legacy Ottoman hotel.

Past the İstanbul Dördüncü Vakıf Hanı is the Nazifpaşa Optometrists' Passage, featuring several stories of kiosks where one can pick out a pair of frames, haggle for the price and go home with their new spectacles the same day. Nearby is the Doğubank İş Hanı, a sparkly, hallucination-inducing gadget depository selling laptops, flat-screen TVs and robotic vacuum cleaners that look like R2D2's cousin.




Istanbul is Slowly But Surely Getting on Its Bike


Istanbul’s historic mosques and modern office towers often overlook a sea of traffic, as both population and car ownership rise rapidly in Turkey’s largest metropolis. Given the city’s perennial congestion, cycling could be an appealing alternative and the master plan for Istanbul calls for 1,004 kilometres of new bike paths by 2023.

But cyclists say the biggest deterrents are the limited infrastructure in Istanbul, a sprawling city of 15 million people, and the attitude of the general public, especially car drivers. They say that most of what’s been created in the city thus far runs along seaside routes used mainly for leisure, and requires cyclists to share space with pedestrians. New bike-share facilities are also largely limited to recreational areas, and public-transportation integration remains problematic.

Improving the situation for Istanbul’s cyclists poses a bit of a circular conundrum: in order to become a more bike-friendly city, the number of cyclists needs to grow to the point where their demands – and presence on the streets – cannot be ignored. But few will want to ride in the city until it’s safer for and more hospitable to cyclists.

New Church to Be Constructed in Istanbul


Turkey's Assyrian community will build a new church in the Yesilkoy neighborhood of Bakirkoy district in Istanbul, an area close to Ataturk Airport, prime ministry officials said on Friday. 

The decision came during a meeting of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu with representatives of non-Muslim minority communities at the prime ministry's office in Istanbul, known as the Dolmabahce Palace. The state will allocate an area for the construction of the church, the officials added.

Read more on World Bulletin: New Church to Be Constructed in Istanbul

Have you Explored the Istanbul Few Visitors See?


Rugerri - When I first crossed the Bosporus by ferry, I knew I’d made the right decision. It was my second visit to Istanbul. Like every other tourist, I had, by that point, seen the city’s many sights: Hagia Sophia, the spice market, the archeological museum, Topkapi Palace and so on. I’d developed an appreciation for the city’s storied history and spectacular art, but I’d also been exhausted by crowds, lines and souvenir sellers. 

 In other words, I was ready for the local’s Istanbul. 

Which is how I found myself, one brisk February day, on a ferry from the Golden Horn port of Karakoy, just down the hill from the Galata Tower. Destination: Kadikoy, a large district located on the Bosporus’s Asian side. On the upper deck, commuters in sharp business jackets and leather shoes ignored the panorama that fell away behind us – the Galata Bridge, Topkapi Palace, a ridge of domed mosques – as we churned across bright-blue water. A tea seller came past with a platter of glasses. “Cay, cay,” he called.

Read more on The Globe And Mail: Have you Explored the Istanbul Few Visitors See?

A Night Out at Istanbul’s 7/24 Library: Atatürk Kitaplığı


Istanbul – a city that never sleeps – boasts Turkey’s first and only 24/7 open library with some bibliophiles traveling almost 60 kilometers to visit in the run-up to midnight. 

One of the first reference centers of Turkey’s republican era, Istanbul’s Ataturk Library, has offered a 7/24 service since last October, leading to a huge rise in visitors. 

The unusual, three-floor hexagonal building was designed in the 1970s by Turkey’s award-winning architect Sedad Hakki Eldem who had an important influence on the country’s national style. 

It is located in Taksim – the heart of the 15 million-strong-city – and only minutes’ walk away from teeming nightclubs, bars and cafes. 

A casual visitor to the library at 10.00 p.m. might be surprised to see the size of a midweek crowd. It is late Tuesday and some people are just chatting in the garden; others are studying and some are reading a book, pausing occasionally to look at the breathtaking Istanbul view outside.

Read more on World Bulletin: A Night Out at Istanbul’s 7/24 Library