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Dance mix: Different ways to groove in Istanbul

Minji Lee
January 15, 2018

If you ask Turks how to dance, nine times out of ten, this is how they will show you: by spreading their arms, extending their pinky fingers, and swiveling them around in circles, with an imaginary line of friends by their side. Though the halay dance is an entertaining Turkish classic, there are numerous other forms that can be enjoyed in Istanbul. 

Horon

Horon is to the Black Sea as halay is to Ankara. In decades past, fishermen in the Black Sea region, in cities such as Trabzon, Ordu, Samsun, Giresun, Rize, and Artvin implemented a technique of stringing bait on a line to catch hamsi, a type of anchovy. The people’s love for hamsi and the traditional ways it was caught became an Anatolian folk dance that celebrates Black Sea culture. The movements of opening one’s arms like wings, striking one’s knees on the ground, and joining with other dancers’ shoulders, arms, and hands in a line formation is a way of expressing a horon dance group’s unity and strength. 

You don’t have to go to the Black Sea region to learn how to dance the horon. In Istanbul, Horon Evi provides dance courses in Kadıköy and Topkapı. The instructors teach a specialized form of dance, Soldoy horon, which originates from the Maçka and Sevinç villages in the Black Sea region.

Turkish belly dance

Known as Oryantal dans or “Eastern dance,” Turkish belly dance has a gypsy, heritage, and was practiced in the palatial harems of the Ottoman Empire. Belly dance is popular in many regions of the world, particularly in Lebanon, Armenia, Egypt, and Turkey. Snaking movements of different body parts, clicking movements of the fingers, and bell-laden ankle movements are common in all, but various instruments, rhythms, and costumes distinguish them from one another. The Turkish belly dance is characterized by sounds of the oboe, clarinet, and hand drums, as well as traditional instruments such as the oud, ney, kanun, and zil. It also utilizes the karshilama style, which is a specific rhythm that consists of three slow movements, followed by three fast movements, in succession.

Though there are many Turkish belly dancing studios in Istanbul, a reliable place to try it out is Depo Dans Cafe. With three locations in Cihangir, Bakırköy, and Ataşehir, you can find an instructor and environment that best suits your learning level in its relaxed and sociable environment.

Bollywood

Another dance with cultural fusion, which bears visual similarities to Turkish belly dance for its bold costumes, shiny accessories, and jingling sounds, is Bollywood dance. Like many other types of dance, Bollywood originates from Indian folk dance. In the 1950s and 60s, a few decades after film was popularized in India, Bollywood began to light up the big screen with talented choreographers and dancers. It began taking on more cultural influences such as cabaret, disco, and Western dance styles. Throughout the years, it garnered a large presence in the international film industry. It’s not surprising to learn that its name is a combination of two terms, Bombay (present-day Mumbai) and Hollywood. What sets Bollywood apart from other dancers is its focus on facial expressions. A dancer’s eyes and eyebrows are intended to tell a story and evoke emotions within the viewer. Intricate movements of the head, hands, neck, shoulders, and feet that seem to sway in and out of place at once, as well as bold costumes with detailed designs, are what make Bollywood so hypnotizing for a viewer and enjoyable for a dancer. Bollywood dance can be learned at Depo Dans Cafe in locations around Istanbul.

Types of Latin dance

As a diverse group of dance forms with folk, ballroom, and street influences, Latin dance, and all of its types, is seductive, powerful, and extremely popular. In Istanbul, one can learn the samba, a colorful Brazilian dance connected with the country’s Carnaval history, salsa, a saucy combination of Afro-Cuban and jazz rhythms, and tango, a ballroom partner dance that originated between Argentina and Uruguay. Out of all these forms, tango has become the most popular in Istanbul. Today, there are more than a dozen schools that offer milonga, or tango party, sessions. To find one nearest you, visit the Milonga Istanbul website, which provides detailed information on tango studios, shops, and festivals around the city. 

Forró

Forró dance reflects the Brazilian mentality about enjoying the simple pleasures of life in its two-step movement similar to the salsa. Originating from the countryside of Northeast Brazil and spreading to more urban areas of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, forró is a folk dance with a number of salsa and samba influences. Though it is a partner dance, it is not uncommon for two strangers to come together, share a few steps and spins while being laced together at the thighs, and to trade partners throughout the sequence. There are a number of different forms, such as forró universitario, which is enriched with moves from other types of dance, such as capoeira.

Forró Istanbul offers classes to beginner and intermediate dancers every Sunday at Depo Dans Cihangir. The first lesson is complementary, and there is a dance night every Sunday after the lessons. As Forró Istanbul founders Bengu and Murat state, forró is an ever-evolving dance without such a rigid or classical structure; in this fusion of dance methodologies and histories, people can find their own style to share with other forró enthusiasts.

Lindy Hop

A type of swing dance that originates from Harlem in the 1930s, during the golden age of jazz, Lindy Hop, known to some as the Jitterbug, is a social dance. With fusions from jazz and tap, as well as the Charleston, the Lindy Hop takes on a number of rhythms and paces, from sophisticated and slow tempo steps to fast-paced jumps and acrobatic swirls. 
Swing Istanbul and Istanbul Lindy Hoppers are two active swing dance groups that regularly hold classes, performances, and parties.

 

 

Where to watch foreign films in Istanbul

Minji Lee
January 15, 2018

There is a nostalgic warmth that comes from viewing foreign films in smaller spaces. If you are a film-lover who enjoys being transported to different countries and decades, Istanbul has alternative movie-going options for you. 

French films

The French Cultural Center, an educational resource for all those interested in learning about French language, arts, and culture, hosts cultural events, film screenings included. On January 26, 2018, it is showing Des femmes et des hommes (Women and Men) by Frédérique Bedos, a documentary about women’s rights in the present world, at 7:15pm. On the same day, Tous au Larzac (Leadersheep) by Christian Rouaud, a movie about farmers that unite to protest the government’s takeover of their land, will be showing at 8:30pm. Both movies are in French, subtitled in Turkish. Best of all, they’re free!

Sahne Pulchérie is the performance venue of Sainte Pulchérie Lycee Français, a high school in Beyoğlu, that also holds French film screenings on a regular basis.

Italian films

In January 2018, Akbank Sanat and the Italian Cultural Center host free Italian film screenings every Tuesday of the month at 7pm. Viewers can see different perspectives of Italy through the eyes of its characters, such as children, a father and son, unexpected lovers, and even a dog. Guests can pick up their complimentary tickets at Akbank Sanat one hour before the screening begins. 

“Foreigners of the Oscars” at Istanbul Modern Cinema

Istanbul Modern Cinema regularly shows independent films, many of which are international. From January 11-28, it will be showing a series of films nominated for the “Best Foreign Language Film” category at the 90th Oscar Awards Ceremony. A few mention-worthy films are Zama, a film adaptation of author Antonio di Benedetto’s 1956 novel about 18th-century Spanish colony in Buenos Aires, The Square, a Swedish satire on the contemporary art world, and Happy End, a German movie about a Calais family that lives in close proximity to the refugee camps just a few kilometers from their home.

For student cinephiles

Boğaziçi University’s Mithat Alam Film Center holds free film screenings and educational workshops for all university students in Turkey who are interested in cinema. Its Sinefil Impressions program shows a different film, with a diverse selection ranging from Turkish classic movies to actor retrospectives, every day of the academic year at 6pm. 

Turkish films

The TÜRVAK Cinema-Theater Museum has eight rooms dedicated to nostalgic relics from Turkish cinema. Visitors can watch Turkish classic films in the Ali Efendi Cinema Salon, a cozy viewing room with 82 seats. Before or after the screenings, one can stroll through the museum rooms to view Turkish cinema memorabilia, such as the first film projectors in Turkey used in 1904, the camera used in Muhsin Ertuğrul's famous film, Istanbul Streets, and wax sculptures of famous Turkish actors such as Kemal Sunal, Ayhan Işık, Feridun Karakaya, Sadri Alışık and Belgin Doruk.

 

 

Nazimî Yaver Yenal: Ahead of the architectural drawing board

Minji Lee
January 15, 2018

Despite being considered one of the most talented architectural figures from the early years of the Turkish Republic, the majority of Nazimî Yaver Yenal’s designs remained on paper, never constructed into reality. His life philosophy, however, lays a strong foundation for today with talent, skill, and ambition.

 

Turkish architect Nazimî Yaver Yenal, who lived from 1904 to 1987 and through the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the Turkish Republic, embraced major societal changes in his work. Through his architectural drawings he revealed an early mastery of combined architectural styles and caught the eye of Italian-Ottoman architect Giulio Mongeri, his personal instructor, who saw Yenal’s potential in these penciled masterpieces. 

Throughout his studies at the Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi, known today as Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, and into the later years of his career, Yenal entered a number of architectural competitions during the formative years of the Republic Era. In 1925 he submitted a plan to renovate the Haydarpaşa Train Station and later, in 1942, Yenal came up with a design for the construction of Atatürk’s mausoleum. Despite his blueprints being architecturally sound and aesthetically appealing, they never came to fruition, but because of his determination he continued to enter into competitions.

His determination was also shown through his work abroad in politically challenging times.  Between 1927 and 1932, Yenal traveled to Paris and Berlin on educational scholarships. He won prizes in architectural competitions and worked under the most important figures in architecture, such as German architect Hans Poelzig. Most importantly, he gained new perspectives on architectural design and form, most notably modernism. Instead of maintaining a rigid stance toward architecture, he adapted his style to contribute to the changing discourse.

Forging reality from imagination

Though he mastered architectural styles such as classicism and modernism and had a wealth of elaborate drawings to prove it, his designs took a backseat to his work as a civil servant. Upon his return to Istanbul in 1932, Yenal secured a job as an instructor at the School of Fine Arts, specializing in the teaching of interior architecture. Through his drawings, which he sketched in private, Yenal created for himself an alternative realm in which the outside world was no barrier for his idealized masterpieces.

Viewers can visit The Istanbul Research Institute’s Imaginary World of a Paper Architect and see Yenal’s artistic architectural drawings through March 2018. Though they remain two-dimensional in form, these blueprints can serve as inspiration for future architects, engineers, and artists.

 

Şekerci Cafer Erol: Sweet treats for a modern-day sultan

Minji Lee
January 15, 2018

Every family business has a story, and that of Şekerci (confectioner) Cafer Erol starts in the Turkish province of Kastamonu. During the Ottoman times, the the sons of the sultans were sent to regions such as Kastamonu to receive their education. Of course, their palates had to be satisfied in a princely manner. Şekerci Mehmet Dede, the original confectioner of the company, created a delicious mix of unique sweets by combining tastes and techniques from local Ottoman sweets, Armenian helva, and Greek jam. 

The recipes were passed down in the family, which eventually opened a shop in Eminönü in 1807. In the years since, the family’s created candies, helva, and pastes for a working population at the heart of the city’s commercial district. Though the times changed drastically since the shop was opened, Şekerci Cafer Erol’s commitment to Ottoman-style sweets never faltered.

In 1945, one of Mehmet Usta’s grandchildren, Cafer Erol, moved the company from Eminönü to Kadıköy. Today a thriving, trendy district in Istanbul, just decades ago Kadıköy was a village. The family members who currently run the company, Nurtekin Erol and his son Hakan Erol, blend the former’s more traditionalist and the latter’s more contemporary visions to sustain a family business that not only holds onto its Ottoman past but also has adapted its tastes for the present. 

Specialty sweets

The seemingly infinite assortment of Şekerci Cafer Erol’s products is a true representation of all of Turkey’s delights. From the local regions where the ingredients are gathered to the meticulous ways in which they are prepared in the confectioner’s kitchen, the immense variety of sweets one can find is a direct reflection of this company’s aim to encourage Ottoman extravagance for each customer.

Şekerci Cafer Erol has five different chefs for each of their specialized departments: candy, Turkish delights, Ottoman desserts, marzipan, and pastries. For the more traditional desserts, the head chef, Naim Uruk, boils and stirs the sugar syrup in copper cauldrons used by confectioners during the Ottoman times over a wood fire. He then adds the flavors to the mixture, stirs diligently, and after some time, transfers it to marble benches to cool. The sugar products are then shaped and cut by hand, giving them the perfect form to be accompanied with tea or Turkish coffee. Unlike the preparation process of traditional desserts, the more modern pastries, cakes, and tarts are prepared in a standard oven.

Challenging cafe standards

Though many present-day cafe-goers have their fixed favorite coffee and dessert combination, it is difficult to adhere to this standard at Şekerci Cafer Erol’s cafe. Its double-sided menu has all the cafe classics such as cakes, cups, and coffee, but also offers traditional tastes such as Hatay kabak tatlısı, a sweet pumpkin dessert, and zerde, a saffron and rice dessert, that can be eaten alongside sips of boza, a subtly sweet drink made from fermented grains. 

The next time you are shopping for Turkish sweets, whether in Kadıköy or in various malls around the city, take a shopping break in their cafe. Just as the original Şekerci Mehmet Usta made the trek from Kastamonu to Eminönü to the delight of his future customers, you can make a trek to a Şekerci Cafer Erol shop or cafe and be rewarded with a mix of traditional and contemporary surprises.

Note: This article was originally published in the January/February 2018 print issue of the magazine. 

17th !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival

01 January

The 17th edition of the !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival, featuring screenings, competitions, panels, and more, will take place from February 15-25 in Istanbul and March 1-4 in Ankara and İzmir. 

From unflinching dramas to heart-warming comedies to heart-wrenching documentaries, !f Istanbul brings its viewers a diverse mix of films that reveal humanity’s condition through the eyes of talented filmmakers.

The Florida Project, an American film directed by Sean Baker, is centered around a six-year-old girl, her friends, and her single mother who build their ordinary, fascinating lives around a motel complex close to Walt Disney World. Praised as a must-see film that captures the themes of childhood and poverty with authenticity, this movie is expected to move crowds to tears and fill the cinema with laughter. 

I am Not a Witch, written and directed by Rungano Nyoni, is a bewildering film about a young girl who is accused of being a witch by her Zambian village. With a focus on themes surrounding African womanhood, the film blends together the cultural beauties and difficulties such as superstition, social structures, and misogyny. This haunting, funny, and authentic satire characterizes the director as a filmmaker with whose autobiographical stories will captivate her audience. 

Directed by John Cameron Mitchell and based on a short story by UK author Neil Gaiman, How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a science fiction romantic comedy set in 1977 London. It revolves around an encounter between a group of rowdy teenage boys and mysterious, beautiful intergalactic beings. The costume design and soundtrack make this film stand out and viewers are sure to enjoy this light-hearted love story with a surprising genre mix. 

 

The 17th !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival will take place at various Cinemaximum locations. Tickets will be available for online purchase on Biletix starting February 3, 2018. For more information about !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival and its corresponding programs, visit ifistanbul.com.

15 February

End Date: 

Sunday, February 25, 2018 - 19:00

Event Category: 

Event Website: 

http://www.ifistanbul.com/

Taj Express

01 January
9:00pm - 11:00pm

The colorful energy of Bollywood dance comes to Zorlu PSM between January 23 and 28, 2018. This performance is a fascinating love story that starts on India’s famous Taj Express train and keeps the entire audience along for the ride.

Taj Express, which first premiered in Mumbai before catching on fire around the world, is an internationally acclaimed show, and for good reason. It is set to a soundtrack featuring the songs of Oscar-winning musician A.R. Rahman, with music written by the young composer Shankar, and has been choreographed by one of Bollywood’s top young choreographers, Vaibhavi Merchant. The movie script tells the story of Arjun, a street dancer, and Kareena, a beautiful actress. Together, they board the Taj Express with nothing in common but their love for Bollywood, and they rediscover the essence of dance, poetry, and love on their journey. 

With famous dancers, iconic melodies, and gorgeous costumes that will delight audiences, this musical event will be filled with the vibrancy of Indian culture and passion on the Istanbul main stage. Tickets are available on Biletix

Zorlu PSM
23 January

End Date: 

Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 17:15

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B004'03.9%22N+29%C2%B000'59.2%22E/@41.06774,29.0142623,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.06774!4d29.016451

Event Address: 

Zorlu Center Zincirlikuyu

Event Places : 

Bergamot: Bodrum citrus specialty

Chris Drum-Berkaya
January 11, 2018

Winter brings fresh discoveries on Turkey’s Bodrum Peninsula, and one of the most intriguing is the big, lumpy, yellow citrus fruit sometimes found at market stalls. It looks like an overgrown lemon but is far too creased and wrinkled to be a smooth-skinned grapefruit. Locals call this fruit the bergamut, or bergamot orange, which has a short season and is rarely found later than January. 

Mature bergamot trees in the sheltered gardens of Bodrum flower in April with big, bold, white flowers tinged with purple, bearing a lovely scent. Unlike the neighboring lemon or mandarin trees bearing the last of the winter fruits while new flowers begin to bud, bergamot oranges are picked early, as the branches can break under the weight of the heavy fruits. In the homes of these same old gardens the Bodrum matrons gather over their afternoon tea and share the recipe for making the bergamot jam. There are techniques particular to the fruit as it has a quite bitter flesh and a very thick pith while the outer yellow rind is thin but very aromatic and oily.

Sharing traditions

Bodrum-based Ayşe Akbaş remembers the bergamot oranges in her grandparents’ orchard in Gümbet and she lights up with pleasure while demonstrating how to prepare the fruit for jam. Taking a small paring knife, she peels the thin, yellow rind off the fruit, digging into the wrinkled skin to remove it all. She then cuts deep into the fruit to reveal the white pith, which is over one centimeter deep, to Akbaş’s approval. Unlike other citrus such as mandarins, oranges, and grapefruit, the white pith of the bergamot is the prize, and the flesh can be discarded or juiced for salads. The dried, finely cut rind is added to tea for flavor.

When making jam, Akbaş sometimes grates the pith, but often cuts it into cubes instead to give texture and color to the final product. The pith must be thoroughly boiled, once to remove the bitterness, then squeezed to press the water out before being boiled again in fresh water with sugar. Bergamot is pectin rich and, therefore, makes a thick jam. Akbaş also uses the cubed pith in syrup as a sweet topping over pastry. 

Bergamot's long-traveled road

The word bergamot comes from the Italian bergamotta, which gets its name from the Italian town of Bergamo, but it also has a folk etymology that it comes from the Turkish beg-armudi, or “prince of pears”. Its flavor is known worldwide, as the rind and essential oil are used in Earl Grey tea, and for perfumes. These come from Italy’s bergamot industry on the southern shores of Calabria. The rough-skinned, fist-sized fruits of Bodrum with the characteristic thick, white pith are a hybrid between bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) and sweet lime (Citrus limetta), known as ağaç kavunu (melon tree) in the Antalya-Adana region, which, according to the website PlantLives, was the first of the four original citrus fruits to be brought to the Mediterranean from Persia around 400 BCE. 

Some of the bergamot trees in Bodrum’s gardens and orchards may have come with the mandarin plantings and orchard programs in 1947–1950 when stocks of saplings were brought from the Dodecanese islands, but most likely were brought earlier by the great writer and plantsman, Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, known by the pen name the Fisherman of Halicarnassus. In his autobiographical book Mavi Sürgün (The Blue Exile), he recalls that he brought 18 kinds of citrus to Bodrum, planted the seeds, and wrote a book about how to cultivate them. Cultivation and planting of young bergamot saplings continues in the frost-free citrus orchards around Gümüşluk and Kadıkalesi, and the prized, expensive jam is sold by entrepreneurial women at weekly markets in Yalıkavak, Ortakent, and Turgutreis. Bergamot jam is a very special product from Bodrum, and is included in the new labels of citrus and fruit jams now produced in Bodrum that grace many summer breakfast tables. 

Where to find bergamot products 
-Erman Aras, son of the original mandarine farmer, Ömer Aras, has launched the citrus jam line Bodrum Yadi Gari. To order visit www.bodrummandalini.com
-Founded in Gümüşlük, Lokmacı Ana jams and marmalades are sold at Migros, Kipa, and Macrocenter stores, as well as at independent shops. www.lokmaciana.com
-Cıngıloğlu jams are available at Cıngıloğlu gourmet shops in Bodrum, Konacik, Yalikavak, Turgutreis, and Milas. www.cingiloglu.com.tr

Bergamot dessert recipe

Kısmet restaurant chef and local foods researcher Halil Vural follows the techniques described in the article for his recipe for a bergamot dessert, which is included in his recipe book Kısmet te Ne Varsa.

Ingredients: 
-8-10 whole bergamot fruits (will yield about 500 grams of pith)
-1 kilo sugar
-1 liter water
-Juice of 1 lemon

Rinse the bergamot and peel off the yellow rind without cutting deeper into the pith and clean the creased and wrinkled sections a knife. Continue with a knife, carefully peeling the pith into sections like an orange, separating it from the flesh, and press excess water out of the pieces. The inner flesh can be discarded. Leave the sections of pith to soak in water for 2 days, changing the water twice a day in the morning and evening.

Put 3 liters of water in a pot, bring to the boil, add the pith pieces, and boil for 20 minutes. Strain out the pith and save one liter of the used water. Bring the water to a boil again with sugar stirred into the reserved one liter of water, add the pieces of pith, then simmer for one hour on low heat. Add the lemon juice and continue boiling for five minutes more before removing it from the heat.

Place a lid over the pot immediately and keep closed while cooling.

Serve with double cream and walnuts.

 

Note: The original version of this article was published in The Guide Bodrum 2017 issue.

 

 

!f Istanbul 17th Independent Film Festival

January 10, 2018

Every year since 2002, !f Istanbul gathers thousands of people around the idea that cinema has the power to cross borders and boundaries. In 2018, The 17th edition of the !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival, featuring screenings, competitions, panels, and more, will take place from February 15-25 in Istanbul and March 1-4 in Ankara and İzmir.

Festival sneak peaks 

The annual !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival delivers dozens of events that present the best in contemporary and independent film, picking a central theme to reflect global issues that are gripping the world’s—and filmmakers’—attention. Though the full program and theme will be officially announced in mid-January, here is a sneak peak at three of the most anticipated film highlights. 
From unflinching dramas to heart-warming comedies to heart-wrenching documentaries, !f Istanbul brings its viewers a diverse mix of films that reveal humanity’s condition through the eyes of talented filmmakers.

The Florida Project, an American film directed by Sean Baker, is centered around a six-year-old girl, her friends, and her single mother who build their ordinary, fascinating lives around a motel complex close to Walt Disney World. Praised as a must-see film that captures the themes of childhood and poverty with authenticity, this movie is expected to move crowds to tears and fill the cinema with laughter. 

I am Not a Witch, written and directed by Rungano Nyoni, is a bewildering film about a young girl who is accused of being a witch by her Zambian village. With a focus on themes surrounding African womanhood, the film blends together the cultural beauties and difficulties such as superstition, social structures, and misogyny. This haunting, funny, and authentic satire characterizes the director as a filmmaker with whose autobiographical stories will captivate her audience. 

Directed by John Cameron Mitchell and based on a short story by UK author Neil Gaiman, How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a science fiction romantic comedy set in 1977 London. It revolves around an encounter between a group of rowdy teenage boys and mysterious, beautiful intergalactic beings. The costume design and soundtrack make this film stand out and viewers are sure to enjoy this light-hearted love story with a surprising genre mix. 

Sharing the cinema spirit

Over the years, !f Istanbul created new platforms for filmmakers and creative professionals to connect through various projects and scholarship programs. !f², a film distribution project, has shared the festival spirit with more than 30 cities in Turkey, as well as in neighboring countries. !f Lab provides opportunities for emerging and well-known filmmakers around the world to learn about each other’s professional journeys and receive mentoring and support for upcoming film projects. With this year’s film festival, !f Istanbul is sure to create waves of inspiration through its programs that bring together people with a passion for independent cinema.

The 17th !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival will take place at various Cinemaximum locations. Tickets will be available for online purchase on Biletix starting February 3, 2018. For more information about !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival and its corresponding programs, visit ifistanbul.com.

"Epochs" exhibition at Anna Laudel Contemporary

01 January
12:00pm - 6:00pm

From January 11 through February 16, visitors to Anna Laudel Contemporary can view "Epochs", a solo exhibition by artist Gazi Sansoy. 

Sansoy’s solo exhibition at Anna Laudel Contemporary contains a selection of his works produced in the last decade. In the “Who are we?” and “Faceless” series, Sansoy combines contemporary figures with famous figures from the past, such as post-Renaissance Western European figures and Ottoman figures such as Levni, a famous artist from the Tulip Era. In the “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Istanbul, Dervishes” series, the artist makes references to his family history.

Sansoy’s artistic style takes inspiration from his family and forefathers, its members well-known for having created political satire during the late Ottoman Empire. Critiques of Ottoman heritage and Western European civilization are portrayed through his large-scale, multi-layered paintings, many of them containing hundreds of miniature figures performing bizarre, oftentimes humorous actions. Viewers are invited to reconsider classical art with his absurd interventions portrayed through masterful techniques.

Another feature of the exhibition includes sculptural installations that take viewers by surprise, with references to a shoe polishing stand shaped into a tulip, an “Anatolian Artemis” fertility goddess, and a dervish hat.

A short video portrait of the artist by audiovisual artist Balamir Nazlıca is another highlight of the exhibition. Fragments of Gazi Sansoy’s visual art and his intense artistic process are captured in authentic ways, revealing the artistic spirit under the layers of paint. This video portrait of Gazi Sansoy is just one clip in Nazlıca’s “Unconcealment” film series, and you can watch other artist portraits by Balamir Nazlıca on his website

 

Viewers can see this three-tiered exhibition displaying Gazi Sansoy’s extraordinary, satirical paintings at Anna Laudel Contemporary in Karaköy, open Tuesday-Saturday noon-6pm, Sunday noon-7pm, and other times by appointment

Anna Laudel Contemporary
11 January

End Date: 

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 16:45

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B001'26.2%22N+28%C2%B058'25.7%22E/@41.0239412,28.9716128,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.0239412!4d28.9738015

Event Website: 

https://annalaudel.gallery/

Phone: 

(0212) 243 32 57

Event Address: 

Bankalar Caddesi No.10 Karaköy

Event Places : 

"Give it back to me, Voodoo" at BLOK art space

01 January
11:00am - 7:00pm

With region-focused projects spanning from Central Asia to the Middle East, photographer Naz Köktentürk continues to examine the social practices of people in different lands. He captured the “myths and rituals” practices in his most recent visit to Burkina Faso, the motherland of animism. Examining the voodoo rituals of the people, as well as the passions and obsessions that stem from them, Köktentürk’s work documented these rituals, lifestyles, and beliefs in a personal way that is revealed in striking photography.

This photography exhibition can be visited at BLOK art space Çukurcuma between February 7 and March 10, 2018.

BLOK art space
07 February

End Date: 

Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 11:30

Event Category: 

Event Website: 

http://blokartspace.com/en/

Event Address: 

Faik Paşa Caddesi No.22

Event Places : 

Art Sequoia

A short walk from the bustling Ali Suavi Sokak, referred to by locals as “The Artist’s Square,” Art Sequoia is a newly opened ceramics studio that adds another layer of creativity to this neighborhood. Walking down the street, bright and eccentric ceramic pieces immediately capture your attention and it is impossible not to peek inside to see the hand-crafted personality and details of these objects. Rabia Özdemir Tokat, the owner of Art Sequoia, characterizes her space as a not only a shop but also a workshop space and art gallery. Her motivation for opening the store is to reach people who seek to use art as a form of rehabilitation or therapy, and she invites anyone to participate in one of her ceramics workshop sessions. She starts by introducing people to the clay, teaching ceramic techniques such as wheel throwing and hand shaping, and then allowing them to experiment with the materials and equipment to create their own projects. The sequoia tree is one source of inspiration for her designs, and so is the sea with its infinite shades of blue and bubbles. Each piece that is made at Art Sequoia has a unique texture and shape, boasts of its hand-crafted imperfections, and welcomes the customer to use them with nostalgia.

(0536) 328 73 35
http://www.artsequoia.com/
  • Kadıköy
9:00am - 5:00pm
Monday
Saturday

Address: 

Hasırcıbaşı Caddesi Süleymanpaşa Sokak No:65/A

Google Map: 

Slider Images: 

Place Image: 

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Seyyare

Stepping into Seyyare is like visiting one’s grandparents’ house and admiring the display, decor, and small treasures. This unique vintage store, which specializes in selling and renting furniture and home accessories, is set up like a small house. Its products serve a function in the store before they are sold, their price tags almost hidden from view. A customer can find well-maintained antique drawer sets, kitchen collectibles, roller skates, typewriters, and analog cameras, all with a story. The owners of the shop hand pick their products from individual sellers and storage depots around the city daily, making sure their items are regularly updated and retain a feeling of nostalgic charm.

  • Moda

Type: 

  • Novelty Shop
1:30pm - 8:30pm
Tuesday
Saturday

Address: 

Dr. Esat Işık Caddesi No.16/A

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Mockup Moda

Mockup Moda is an independent designer collective shop with large windows, bright objects, and one-of-a-kind designer pieces presented like art. Selling a diverse selection of products from organic candles to leather goods to wire jewelry, Mockup Moda represents about 40 local designers with their personalities reflected in the handcrafted products. The name for the store is derived from the idea that designs are drafted, edited, revised, and renewed to ensure the final product reflects an inspiration unavailable in a brand-name store.

A new product is sure to catch your eye each time you stop by Mockup Moda, as the featured designers and products rotate every two months. As customers browse they can also access a specific designer’s contact information and reach out directly, with designers reaching out to Mockup Moda as well. A visit to this store can help facilitate these types of interactions, making it a special place.

(0530) 414 20 50
  • Moda

Type: 

  • Concept Store
11:00am - 8:30pm
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Dr. Esat Işık Caddesi No.42/D

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Phanar Greek Orthodox College

Known by locals as kırmızı kale, or Red Castle, the Phanar Greek Orthodox College is an unforgettable architectural monument that indeed resembles a place for royalty. Its intricate architectural layout in the neo-Gothic style with a dark red, brick-laid exterior was erected between 1881 and 1883 by the Ottoman Greek architect Konstantinos Dimadis. Georgios Zariphis, a prominent Greek Ottoman financier, contributed 17,210 Ottoman gold pounds for the construction of this building, which was considered a large sum of money for this period. 

Before its construction, the Phanar Greek Orthodox College was established as a school in 1454 under Sultan Mehmet II’s decree that allowed the Greek Orthodox people to receive an education in their own language. Prominent Greek and Bulgarian families in the Ottoman Empire sent their children here, and a number of Ottoman ministers, Wallachian, and Moldavian princes graduated from this school.

Despite its continued function as a school, though for a small body of no more than 50 students, its Greek name as The Great School of the Nation is upheld with its impressive presence in Balat. The present building consists of three floors and an area of 3020 square meters, which is utilized by the school. The large dome at the top of the building, which spans 40 meters in height, is used as an observatory for astronomy classes, and it houses a large antique telescope. 

Phanar Greek Orthodox College is located near the St. George's Cathedral and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, marking these institutions as important historical monuments for the Greek and Orthodox community in Istanbul.

(0212) 521 22 52
  • Balat
Monday
Friday

Address: 

Balat Mahallesi, Sancaktar Ykş. No.36

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Bulgarian St. Stephen Church

On January 7, 2018, the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church, also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, reopened after an extensive 6-year restoration. With Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte conducting the opening, a celebration ceremony took place in the neighborhood of Balat on the shore of the Golden Horn. 

Originally built in 1898, the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church has a historical presence in Istanbul. In the late 19th century, Prince Stefan Bogoridi, an Ottoman statesman of Bulgarian origin, donated the land he owned to the church, and started the efforts for its building. The original construction plans were made by the Armenian architect Hovsep Aznavur. The cast iron parts of the church, weighing about 500 tons in all, were produced by the Austrian company Rudolph Ph. Waagner, and were transported by ship from Vienna, through the Danube, Black Sea, and Bosphorus to Istanbul. Two of the surviving tower bells were brought from Russia’s city of Yaroslav. 

(0212) 248 09 21
  • Balat
Sunday

Address: 

Mürselpaşa Caddesi No.10, Balat

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Newly restored Bulgarian St. Stephen Church

"Are you awake?" exhibition at Mixer

01 January
11:00am - 7:00pm

From January 20 through February 24, Mixer brings Işıl Arısoy Kaya’s first solo exhibition, “Are you awake?” to its gallery. 

Through the use of distorted photographs in which a figure stands in an abstract place, Kaya points to questions of identity and the search for one’s true self. Her work points to various questions: “I am the one with the clothes, but who am I? I am myself. The mirror. The one who reflects… The one who is in search. The one who cannot find. The one who finds… The knowledge. The flesh. The bones. Who am I really?”

The exhibition “Are you awake?” will take place simultaneously with the “The Animal Side,” both of which can be seen at Mixer until February 24.

Mixer
20 January

End Date: 

Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 03:45

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Event Website: 

www.mixerarts.com

Phone: 

(0212) 243 54 43

Event Address: 

Mumhane Caddesi No.50

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"The animal side" exhibition at Mixer

01 January
11:00am - 7:00pm

From January 20 through February 24, Mixer will host “The Animal Side” exhibition. Inspired by the book of Nazlı Karabıyıkoğlu, this exhibition draws on themes of breaking away from humanity and civilization, and entering into the wild, natural world of animals. The works of Sadık Arı, Fulya Çetin, Sinem Dişli, Ece Eldek, Didem Erbaş, Çınar Eslek, Eda Gecikmez, Hatice Işık, Ata Kam, Huri Kiriş, İhsan Oturmak, Gümüş Özdeş, Mert Öztekin, Deniz Paşa, Ekin Saçlıoğlu, Ahmet Sarı, İlhan Sayın, Yusuf Sevinçli and İrem Sözen will be shown, and the exhibition will be curated by Ahmet Ergenç. 

All of the works featured seek to move the spotlight away from humans, shaking the assumed central position of humans on earth, and inviting animals to roam around in their place. 

“The Animal Side” will take place simultaneously with “Are you awake?” exhibition, both of which can be seen at Mixer until February 24.

Mixer
20 January

End Date: 

Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 03:30

Event Category: 

Event Website: 

www.mixerarts.com

Phone: 

(0212) 243 54 43

Event Address: 

Mumhane Caddesi No.50

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January 2018 music events at Yapı Kredi Culture and Art Center

01 January
8:00pm - 10:00pm

After a major renovation, Yapı Kredi Culture and Art Center reopened in September 2017. Its new performance venue, Loca, has a strong lineup of events to kick off 2018. From art exhibitions, musical performances, film screenings, seminars, and workshops, visitors from all interests can find a program that they will delight in. Here is a list of music events taking place this month.

On January 12, the ARTMUSIK Quartet from Bucharest will hold a special performance, sponsored by the Romanian Consulate General. After 20 years performing together in many cities in Europe, and with over 150 tracks recorded, ARTMUSIK Quartet is a musical team with memorable sounds. The concert begins at 8pm. 

“From letter and note” is a monthly series that brings together music and literature. The first concert of this series will take place on January 20, which will be a commemoration to Turkish poet Edip Cansever. Nurinisa Eroğlu will be reading letters, and musicians Guzin Değişmez, Birol Yayla, Lütfiye Özer and Taner Sayacıoğlu will be playing musical instruments in this program. The concert begins at 5pm. 

On January 31, Hezarfen Ensemble will give a “portrait performance” of a young Turkish composer, Hakan Ulus. Music specialist Dr. Martin Greve will give a talk about this prominent composer at this event as well. This concert, organized by BAUART and Kunststiftung NRW and supported by the Goethe-Institut Istanbul, begins at 8pm. 

All tickets, which are 23TL for adults and 18TL for students, are available on Biletix. You can visit www.sanat.ykykultur.com for more information about these events.

Yapı Kredi Culture and Art Center, LOCA
12 January

End Date: 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 20:00

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Simit: A Turkish treat through the ages

Aylin Öney Tan
January 05, 2018

Crunchy and chewy, satisfyingly savory with a touch of malty sweetness, nutty from the sesame seeds dotting the ring of bread. These are the tastes of a simit, the ultimate Turkish street snack. While there is no direct English translation, it is often described as a sesame-crusted bread ring. While similar in shape to a donut, the dough is dense and chewy in contrast to regular bread’s fluffy, springy, light texture. Part of simit’s appeal lies in the contrasting tastes and textures—chewy and crunchy, savory yet sweet, satisfying all around. 

There are versions of the Turkish treat from Central Asia to Central Europe. The snack closest to the simit is called the obwarzanek krakowski, a trademark of the Polish city of Krakow. The Greek koulouri has a similar appearance, but is crunchier, more of a ring-shaped crispy breadstick. The Balkans is also home snacks similar to the simit, including the Romanian covrigi and the Bulgarian kovrig.

Preparation process

Simit is prepared in a way similar to its European counterparts, dipped in a sugary liquid glaze before going into the oven, giving the simit its unique crust. Turkish simit is sometimes dipped in diluted pekmez (molasses) or boiled molasses and water mix. The latter is called kazan simidi, referring to the cauldron (kazan) in which the molasses syrup is boiled. While dipping the simit may sound like an easy task, the traditional process requires specially mastered skills. 

After the dipping process, the dough rings are rolled in sesame prepared specially with a coating of molasses and roasted to achieve a brownish tint and enhanced flavor. Such sesame is produced for simit makers and not available on the market. There has been controversy in recent years about the decline in quality of the sesame as cheaper imports from countries such as India are considered inferior or not ideal for simit. Dipped and rolled simits are then baked in a hot wood-fired oven.

There are different versions of the simit around Turkey and not all are sesame coated. The kel simit (bald simit) of Kastamonu and the Black Sea provinces is made without sesame. The “baldness” gives the simit a different appeal, a shiny, almost gliding surface. Stale kel simit are used to make the local dish tirit, made by reconstituting simit pieces in hearty broth, topped with shredded meat or chicken, and finished off with a healthy pour of melted butter. Simit is often accompanied by strongly brewed Turkish tea served in tulip-shaped glasses. It is most delicious right out of the oven and is considered stale after only a few hours.

A timeless treat 

In the past, simit vendors wandered the streets during certain hours. The first tour would start early in the morning as people were rushing to work or having breakfast at home. Later in the day, the second tour would be around afternoon teatime. According to Evliya Çelebi, 16th century writer and historian, “There were a total of 300 sellers and 70 bakeries that made simit five times each day. The last batch came out after dark, and the sellers threaded the rings onto long sticks fixed into the corners of their baskets or trays, and hung a small lantern at the top to attract the attention of the crowds on their way home after work.” In a way, the working day in the city started and ended with simit vendors, with rounds so precise that one could set the clock by the simit sellers. Today, simit vendors are found throughout the city at all hours, reflective of a modern 24/7 lifestyle. 

While today’s simits are sized to be a convenient, on-the-go snack, in the past simits were considerably larger, sometimes as big as a hoop or the wheel of a cart. According to a historical court record in Istanbul from 1593, simits weighed around 430 grams, more than three times the weight of today’s 125 gram simits. Simits were larger through at least the 1840s, when British traveler Charles White wrote, “These light cakes are made in rings, a foot in diameter, and retailed by itinerant semitjee, who also sell biscuits called gevrek, composed of wheat flour and the water in which dried peas have been boiled.” 

While simit’s size may have shrunk, it still has a big place in people’s hearts. Simit is the snack that satisfies all—rich and poor, young and old, uniting everyone one taste bud at a time.

Recipe: Simit with butter and pekmez

If you find yourself with a stale simit, give it a second go with this recipe. Traditionally, grape or mulberry molasses is used but beet molasses also works well. Melt one or two tablespoons of butter in a pan. Break simit into small pieces or slice in bite-size morsels and add to the pan; toss well to coat the simit pieces with butter, and fry until slightly golden. Drizzle with a stream of molasses and serve while still warm.

 

Note: The original version of this article was published in the November/December 2017 issue of the magazine and has been reformatted in its online version. 

Good neighborliness: Greek community in Istanbul

Minji Lee
January 05, 2018

Throughout history, people from different ethnicities such as Greeks, Jews, Armenians,Persians, Bulgarians, and Albanians contributed their diverse cultural traditions to the social fabric of Istanbul. To this day, the Greek-Rum community holds special events to celebrate religious holidays and to share its cultural heritage with the city.

In the Greek Orthodox Church, the year begins with an unorthodox splash. January 6 is commemorated as Epiphany, also known as Blessing of the Waters Day. In cities around the world, the priests lead congregations to local rivers which they bless as a symbolic gesture to celebrate Jesus being baptized in the River Jordan. In Istanbul, the patriarch of the church recites a prayer, then throws a cross into the frigid waters of the Bosphorus, Golden Horn, or the Marmara Sea. The brave diver who retrieves it first is bestowed with extra blessings for the coming year. 

On this special day, everyone can witness Epiphany celebrations at various Greek Orthodox churches around the city, including Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Ayios Fokas church in Ortaköy, Aya Yorgi church in Çengelköy, Aya Nikola church on Heybeliada, and Aya Konstantinos church in Samatya. Attending this event to hear the prayer at noon, cheering on the divers, and socializing with fellow onlookers is just one way of celebrating diversity in Istanbul.

“Come to the churches, whether for a liturgy or to learn about the saints and history,” invited Andrea Özgüneş, a member of the Aya Panagia Greek Orthodox Church. “Learn about our stories and you will feel the joy of this community.” 

The celebration of the Epiphany is an ideal time to get to know the Greek-Rum community, a term for the Turkish community of Greek descent. Much like misafirperverlik, or Turkish hospitality, the kind embrace one receives from the Greek-Rum community is warm and accepting. “Once you enter through the doors of our community you are a welcomed guest,” Anastasia Kapudağ, a founding member of the Rumvader Foundation, a Greek-Rum community association, told The Guide Istanbul. The community prides itself on its openness and diversity, for instance by reading prayer verses in different languages, and serves the wider community through charity works in neighborhoods around Taksim and Dolapdere.

The festive, welcoming spirit is evident not only in churches but also in schools. Though few in number, Greek schools in Istanbul are strong in upholding cultural traditions. During the Christmas season, students at Zografion High School in Beyoğlu go carolling around the neighborhood on Christmas Eve, passing through the Greek consulate and cultural center, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and elderly residents’ houses. Yannis Demircioğlu, the principal of the school, told The Guide Istanbul these festive traditions raise awareness about the rich history of the community, which is small in size yet powerful in promoting cultural diversity throughout the city.

Tracing the past through architecture

In addition to seasonal celebrations, one can discover traces of the community’s past in by walking through neighborhoods of present-day Istanbul with strong Greek histories. One such neighborhood is Fener, a neighborhood with a name derived from phanar, the Greek word for lantern. During the Byzantine period, a lantern was perched atop a column monument in the district. In 1453, after the fall of Constantinople, the neighborhood became home for most of the Greeks who chose to stay and in 1599, the Ecumenical Patriarchate moved to the area, where it is located to this day. Just as the Vatican is used as a reference point for the Roman Catholic Church, so is Fener for the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church.

The most distinct Greek institutions in Fener are the Cathedral of Saint George and the Phanar Greek Orthodox College. Upon entering the main sanctuary and pulpit area of the cathedral, visitors can see holy relics such as a Patriarch throne from the fifth century and objects that belonged to Saint Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, who were considered the hierarchs of learning in eleventh-century Greece. Alongside these sacred artifacts, the Phanar Greek Orthodox College, which is nicknamed “the red castle,” is an architectural wonder that was constructed by Ottoman Greek architect Konstantinos Dimadis in 1454. It has served as the learning grounds for many Ottoman ministers and Wallachian and Moldavian princes; today, it is a school for about 50 Rum-Greek students. The large dome atop the building houses a large antique telescope and it is used as an observatory for astronomy classes. 

A revival

Greek-Rum people’s impact on Istanbul is not only in the past. Their contributions continue to add layers of culture to contemporary Istanbul, giving new colors to a city that has played host to many ethnic groups with distinct languages and religions. While in the past, Turkish-Greek relations have been strained, in recent years an improved relationship has caused more than 800 Greek expatriates to settle in Istanbul, the city of their ancestors. 

One such individual is Giorgos Kevrekidis, a visual artist and instructor who came to Istanbul in order to feel closer to his roots. He remembers seeing his elderly relatives’ photographs of the Bosphorus and Istanbul’s historical sites. “Now that I am living on these same grounds, I am oftentimes overwhelmed with a feeling of nostalgia,” he told The Guide Istanbul. 

Cultural similarities ease the transition between Greece and Turkey, according to Christos Psomiades, who travels between the two countries on a weekly basis to teach music. “The people, cuisine, and culture are quite similar and all carry a light-hearted joviality with them,” Christos explained. 

In addition to cultural similarities, a tightknit local Greek community also helps recently relocated expats feel at home. According to Mario Karachalios, the strong connections newly arrived Greeks are able to make with the wider Greek community makes Istanbul feel like home, even from the first day. Mario first came to Istanbul on an Erasmus scholarship to improve his ability to play the kanun, a string instrument played for centuries in the Middle East, West Africa, Central Asia, and Southeastern Europe. By the time his studies finished, he decided that living in Istanbul would be beneficial for him in more ways than one. “Turkish and Greek cultures are very close and music education is very good in Istanbul,” he explained. For the past two years, he has been actively involved in the Greek community in Istanbul, teaching music at a Greek school, improving his own musical skills, and serving as his church chanter, reading the praises aloud during the service. 

The shared cultural characteristics between Turks and Greeks, including enthusiasm for holidays, an overlapping history, and similar food and music, combined with a curiosity to learn about differing attributes is enough to set the scene for meaningful cultural exchange.

 

Want to learn more? Cultural institutions throughout the city can help those interested get a better understanding of Greek-Rum traditions year-round.

-Istos Publishing House in Beyoğlu publishes Turkish and Greek books about Istanbul’s Rum community and its cultural heritage. It has recently opened a cafe, Dose & Istos Cafe, where visitors can browse and buy selected publications. The cafe is open daily from 10:30am-8pm and is located on Tosbağa Sokak No.11 in Beyoğlu.

-On İstiklal Caddesi, the Sismanoglio Megaro, operated and run by the Greek Consulate of Istanbul, is a cultural center that hosts Greek lessons, art exhibitions, film screenings, and talks for the public. This place is open Monday-Friday from11am-3pm and is located on İstiklal Caddesi No.60 in Beyoğlu.

-In Fener, the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate has a public library with many books about important saints and figures in Greek Orthodox history. The library is open Monday-Friday from 9am-4:30pm and is located on Dr. Sadık Ahmet Caddesi No.44 in Fener.

-Rumvader, the Association for the Support of Greek Community Foundations in Turkey, aims to represent Greek-Rum institutions in Istanbul such as churches, schools, and hospitals.

-Hava Baba is a nonprofit group that aims to help Greek migrants with the integration process through logistical advice and the provision of a support network. You can visit the organization’s Facebook page, havababacommunity, for more information.

Zapata Bakery

The introverted sister of Zapata Burger, Zapata Bakery is a cozy space with a creative menu that locals frequent for coffee and homemade desserts, casual dinners, and full-scale breakfasts.

Zapata Bakery’s menu boasts of more than pastries and beverages, offering an impressive selection of sandwiches, burgers, buns, beverages, and perhaps most deliciously, desserts. The classic Zapata burger and mushroom burger are on offer at the bakery, as well as speciality offerings such as sandwiches and buns. The bakery’s kaburga, or rib, and crispy chicken roll, with the tasty ingredients tucked into a small rice roll, are packed with taste and texture. The rolls are served in portions of three, so take heed when sharing with a friend as you will be fighting over the last one. 

For a smaller meal or snack, Zapata Bakery makes specialty tarts, such as almond cream and lemon, Paris-Brest, and seasonal puddings, which can be paired with coffee. For breakfast or brunch, Zapata offers the traditional Turkish breakfast, as well as Croque Madame. As this place opens earlier than most restaurants in the area, customers can come to this peaceful, residential street and enjoy a quiet breakfast before the rest of the city wakes up. Each time you make a visit to Zapata Bakery, no matter the time of day, you will not be disappointed with what comes out of the kitchen.

0507 105 30 04
  • Kadıköy

Type: 

  • Bakery
7:30am - 10:00pm
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Sevkibey Sokak No.31

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Zapata Burger

With understated decor inside and out that belies the tastiness inside, Zapata Burger is tucked away among Kadıköy’s cafes and bars and features a large selection of burgers and hot dogs delicious enough to keep customers wanting more. 

Zapata Burger’s menu boasts of more than a hundred combinations of burgers, hot dogs, fries, and drinks. The mushroom burger and beğendi burger, or burger with eggplant puree, are highly recommended. The former is savory and a little spicy with added mushroom texture, creamy sauce, and roasted red peppers; the latter, with eggplant and pastırma, add a pop of Turkish flavor to the classic burger. For those craving a hot dog, the local favorite is the bacon and cheddar version, with bacon, guacamole, and caramelized onion piled on top of the juicy sausage.

The burgers are available in two sizes, either 140 grams or 280 grams, of Zapata’s special meatball-style patty. The meat is cooked to the customer’s liking, and one can mix and match sauces that include tartar, roasted pepper, pomegranate, spicy tomato, roasted eggplant, and honey mustard. A generous serving of freshly-cut fries, sprinkled with cheddar, parmesan, white cheese, and/or a layer of bacon on top, makes for an extremely satisfying side dish. The buttery, soft bun is an unexpected highlight of the meal, with the dough reminiscent of a soft poğaça, the traditional Turkish morning pastry. 

Zapata Burger makes for an ideal pit stop before or after a night of dancing or bar hopping in the lively Kadıköy district with its simple yet satisfying offerings. Though it may be difficult to choose the perfect combination of burger or hot dog, fries, and drink, it is nearly impossible to resist coming back for another helping of the restaurant’s hearty dishes.

0507 105 30 04
  • Kadıköy
12:00pm - 10:00pm
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Sakız Sokak No.1/C

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Rustik

Part-restaurant, part-museum, Rustik Cafe in Kadıköy serves a delicious collection of flavors, creating for customers hearty Russian and Ukrainian meals with a side dish of cultural insight. The food prepared in Rustik’s kitchen is made by a professional chef from Ukraine, Mariya. Some well-known staples like Russian salad are available, as well as shuba salad, which contains potatoes, pickled herring, eggs, beets, and carrots. Borscht soup, common in Eastern Europe and made with beets, beef, potato, and vegetables, is also on the menu. 

For the main meal, try the pelmeni, or meat-filled Russian dumplings. The vegetarian alternative is the vareniki, which has a potato and vegetable filling. If opting for a meat entrée, the kievski is a buttered, baked, then fried chicken fillet. At the end of the meal, enjoy the medovik, a layered cake made with honey and condensed milk, which pairs nicely with a Turkish coffee or tea and serves as a sweet reminder you are still in Istanbul. 

It is not only the food that invites you to feel as if you are in a different country, but also the decor and mementos on display. A timeless photograph of Turkish author Nazım Hikmet and his lover, Vera Tulyakov, invite you through the doors. Take a look around and see the clothing, hats, and shoes used by the Soviet army during wartime. Along the walls are posters of famous Russians, such as cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and poet Aleksandr Pushkin. The owner of the restaurant, Erdem Bekdaş, told The Guide Istanbul that his favorite collectible is a concert banner of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

Rustik is appealing for those eager to learn about Russia, whether through a taste of its cuisine, a look through the owner’s collectibles, or a chat with Russian regulars enjoying a meal. In this sense, the roles of local and foreigner are spun around at Rustik, giving guests a fresh taste of something new

(0216) 346 49 28
  • Kadıköy
9:00am - 1:00am
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Karadut Sokak No.23/A

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Neu X Colonie

Neu x Colonie, a popular dining and nightlife spot on Karaköy’s Kemankeş Caddesi, is now reopened as a gastropub. Embracing its new, more casual identity, the place aims to become an alternative meeting spot for the young Cihangir and Galata-based crowd. This approach is also reflected in the menu: drinks on offer focus on craft beers and reasonably priced classic cocktails, while the food includes the latest trends. Try soğuş (cold cuts) in a do-it-yourself set, homemade crisps, and fried anchovies—all ideal to share with friends after a busy day at work. A separate bar section from the old layout is ideal for visitors who are looking for a drink. Thursday to Saturday nights local DJs bring the crowds to the dance floor.

(0212) 243 21 03
  • Karaköy

Type: 

  • After Hours Dining
4:00pm - 12:00am
Tuesday
Sunday

Address: 

Kemankeş Caddesi No.87/A

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Zula

Tucked in the side streets of Harbiye, Zula is a little eatery for the on-the-go crowd. If you are in the neighborhood, dropping by is a must. The chefs focus on three menu staples: burgers, hot dogs, and tacos, all of which feature high-quality ingredients, impeccable execution, and a dose of imagination. If you have room for more after biting into the gigantic, multi-layered signature burger, try the hot dog in a crispy bun or the Adana kebap taco. Although the place was envisioned as a quick-bite stop, the owners assure that Zula’s story will not end here, with pop-up menus and workshops in the works for 2018. 

0532 570 52 75
  • Harbiye
12:00pm - 10:00pm
Tuesday
Sunday

Address: 

Harbiye Çayırı Sokak No.101/1

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Neni Brasserie

While many eateries on the Asian side of Istanbul have a familiar feeling, Neni Brasserie, which debuted in Caddebostan, fits into the local niche while bringing something new to the table. 

As its name suggests, Neni is reminiscent of a casual French bistro found on the corner of almost every street in Paris. It is an ideal place for a breakfast, mid-day coffee and newspaper break, lunch with friends, or an evening family get-together. Vintage interiors and soothing jazz give the location a welcoming and comforting feeling. There is also a spacious outdoor seating area—a must for garden-crazed Istanbullites.

The menu, like the ambiance, goes well for any time of the day. Here one can find a light salad for lunch, plates to share for a gathering with friends, comfort food for cold winter days, snacks to go with a tasty glass of wine, and desserts for a sweet-tooth craving. Several recipes on the menu were collected by the owners during their international travels. The delicious and fragrant Sostanza-style chicken—a signature dish from one of Florence’s finest trattorias—is one such dish and a must. The extensive casserole menu includes roasted feta cheese served as a starter and stuffed meatballs in a tomato basil sauce. If you are in the mood for a lighter option, try a salad made with seasonal ingredients, as well as well-known classics such as the Cobb or Caesar.

Leaving room for dessert is a must when visiting this establishment. Pot de Crème is rich, delicious, and everyone’s instant favorite. Crème brûlée has an extra layer on top for the ultimate cracking effect, while the wild fruit compote beautifully recalls the sweetness of pavlova.  

Visits to Neni are further incentivized with their competitive prices, with all items on the menu below 50 TL a plate and carafes of house wines for around 70 TL. 

All these classics are reasons enough to visit Neni again and again.

(0216) 407 10 43
www.nenibrasserie.com
  • Bağdat Caddesi
9:00am - 12:00am
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Haldun Taner Sokak No.7/1, Caddebostan

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Neni Brasserie: French-inspired comfort food

Tato Performances at GalataPerform

12 December
8:30pm - 10:30pm

A dark comedy by Polish writer Artur Palyga, Tato (Our Father), directed by Yeşim Özsoy, will be staged at GalataPerform on December 30, as well as on January 5,6, 20, and 27 in 2018. Viewers will laugh and cry with each scene of this amusing, emotional, and heart-gripping performance.

Based on the story of a son recounting his father’s death and trying to make sense of his family’s dramatic story, Tato begins with the following words: “The time of fathers is passed. Now we only have partners of mums and sweet daddies. Old fathers disappeared with the advent of new times.” The son’s memories of his old-fashioned, patriarchal father are not pleasant, but the absent presence of his father lead to issues within the family. The character realizes that memories of his father are coupled with fascination, admiration, and longing.

Since 2014, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, an organization sponsored by Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, has sponsored a number of talented Polish playwrights in Turkey, and the partnership between these two groups has led to a number of theater productions staged at GalataPerform in Istanbul.

Tickets for Tato can be found on Biletix.

GalataPerform
30 December

End Date: 

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 22:00

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Event Website: 

http://eng.galataperform.com/

Event Address: 

Büyük Hendek Caddesi No.21

January 2018 at Salon IKSV

12 December
8:00pm - 9:00pm

In January 2018, Salon İKSV will have you singing and dancing to welcome in the new year. Throughout the month, the venue will host Wild Beasts, Deniz Tekin, José González and Ağaçkakan, four prominent musicians with diverse sounds.

On January 11, Wild Beasts will come to the 100% Music stage with their indie rock and synth pop sounds. This London-based band, which received praise and nominations for its albums Two Dancers and Boy Kings, will return to Istanbul after a 10-year hiatus to greet audiences with their songs. Known for its warmth and energy at Turkish festivals, this band will easily be one of the year’s favorites at Salon İKSV. Doors open at 9:30pm. 

On January 13, Deniz Tekin, a young singer and lyricist of the new era, will bring her memorable voice to the stage. Drawing on other Turkish artists’ works, from Ahmet Kaya to Zeki Müren, to form her own songs, Tekin is a musician who brings energy to the Turkish music scene. She will perform songs from her first studio album, Kozakuluçka, which was released earlier this year. Doors open at 10:30pm.

For two consecutive nights, on January 18 and 19, José González will make an encore appearance at Salon İKSV with his indie-folk style. His widely-beloved adaptations of other musicians’ works garnered public attention, and he went on to release his own albums such as In our Nature and Vestiges & Claws. At Salon İKSV, he will present both old and new songs, audience favorites and new discoveries, for a memorable performance. Doors open at 9:30pm on the 18th and at 10pm on the 19th. 

On January 27, Ağaçkakan by experimental hip hop artist Burkay Yalnız will come to the stage. As the founder of an independent music collective, M4NM, and the creator of various solo projects and band contributions, Burkay Yalnız and his work are spontaneous, creative, and collaborative. Doors open at 10:30pm.

Tickets can be bought on Biletix as well as at the box office every day, except Sundays, between 10am and 6pm. As one of the city’s leading performance venues that offers new musical discoveries for alternative sounds, Salon İKSV’s strong start to the new year is only expected to gain momentum in the months to come.

Salon IKSV
11 January

End Date: 

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 12:45

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Event Website: 

http://saloniksv.com/

Event Address: 

Sadi Konuralp Caddesi No.5 Şişhane

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New Year's Party at Zorlu

12 December
7:00pm - 12:00am

On December 27, 2018, Zorlu Center is hosting a New Year’s Party full of music, laughter, and surprises! Prominent music artists such as DJ Bora Uzer, Turkish rapper Ceza, and pop music band Six Pack will take the stage with exciting concerts. Comedian Cerilevis will deliver a stand-up show, and Eylül Öztürk and Kenan Özkan will be leading a karaoke party! This event will be taking place, free of charge and open to everyone, from 7pm until midnight! 

 

Here is a detailed list of the program schedule:
19:00 - Six Pack Konseri - Zorlu Center
20:00 - Cerilevis Stand Up - Zorlu New Year’s Village
21:00 - Ceza - Zorlu Center
21:30 - Eylül Öztürk & Kenan Özkan Karaoke - Zorlu New Year’s Village
22:15 - Buan by Bora Uzer feat Haximum - Zorlu New Year’s Village

Zorlu Center
27 December

End Date: 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 00:00

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Top 7 cozy chef restaurants

December 20, 2017

In a city like Istanbul, there is an endless array of possibilities for dining out. It can be difficult to find a restaurant that offers a perfect combination of high-quality dishes, creative flavor, and a warm atmosphere, but there are indeed a number of places that serve these up on their menus. Below, you can find a list of our top cozy chef restaurants in the city, where the well-trained hands of a talented chef are sure to deliver amazing food, sustenance, and subsequent visits. 

Chef İnanç Baykar knows that dining out should be about quality and his menu at Aman da Bravo is a celebration of fresh, seasonal ingredients—short enough that a group of four could easily have it all in one go, yet perfectly balanced to ensure surprises on the palate each time you visit.

Antica Locanda is a place we frequent with pleasure for two reasons: the restaurant’s beautiful location and chef Gian Carlo Talerico’s exquisite menu. All occasions—from date nights to family gatherings to friendly get-togethers—turn into festive celebrations thanks to the owners’ attention to detail and the passion reflected in every dish. 

An Istanbul classic, Şemsa Denizsel’s Kantin has not lost its original ambiance despite moving locations last year and has maintained its quality for over 15 years. This favorite offers everything we love and appreciate in dining out: original deliciousness in a effortless setting.
  
A daytime eatery with daily specials, Mittag is one of those places we all wish there were more of. Fatma Yıldırım goes above and beyond to make your late breakfast and lunch exciting, changing the courses according to the seasonal availability of the produce. 

Nicole is definitely the fanciest venue on our list, but with only a handful of tables it creates a memorable setting for classy, intimate gatherings. Aylin Yazıcıoğlu’s creative dishes are a legend around town, ensuring both comfort and surprise on the same plate. 

After last year’s move from Akaretler to Kuruçeşme, İsmet Saz’s TOI is cosier than ever. The menu changes every six weeks so always try something new but never neglect the classics, such as Saz's famous beef Wellington. 

One of the best contemporary eateries in Beyoğlu, Yeni Lokanta could easily become your favorite dining spot during the colder months. Browse through Civan Er’s selection of dishes to share as moody lighting brings out the best of the conversation. 

Aman da Bravo

Tucked away on the ground floor of a nondescript Reşitpaşa residential building, Aman da Bravo is a humble restaurant with a small menu, neutral backdrops, and huge flavors. Upon stepping inside, diners will immediately feel a sense of intimacy from the size, despite the simple shades of white, grey, and black that are situated as the backdrop. These basic colors prepare the scene for colorful dishes served on fine handmade porcelain that will soon be set for you at the table.

Aman da Bravo’s restaurant concept is a celebration of fresh ingredients that Chef İnanç Baykar emphasizes with each dish she prepares. As such, its small menu changes with each season, offering no more than five to six starters, main dishes, and desserts. The intention behind this small menu is quickly realized with one’s first bite: to painstakingly prepare each ingredient in a dish as members of a cohesive team, creating delicious and surprising flavor combinations. Sharing a few plates from each category is a good option, and the menu selections are small enough that a group of four could try the whole menu in one visit.

The combination of flavors on each plate is perfectly balanced, the ingredients bringing out new textures and tastes with each bite and with every subsequent visit. If you are in the Reşitpaşa area and craving creative, well-prepared sustenance, look no further than Aman da Bravo. 

Open Monday-Wednesday noon-5pm, Thursday-Saturday noon-11pm, closed Sundays. 

(0212) 277 15 16
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Emirgan Sokak No.20, Reşitpaşa

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Hurts

12 December
9:00pm - 11:00pm

Hurts, an English synthpop duo formed by Adam Anderson and Theo Hutchcraft, captured the world’s attention with its dramatic sounds and decades-spanning style. The duo will perform on February 10 at Zorlu PSM with singles from chart-topping albums.

Tickets available on Biletix.

Zorlu PSM
10 February

End Date: 

Saturday, February 10, 2018 - 22:45

Event Category: 

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https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B004'03.9%22N+29%C2%B000'59.2%22E/@41.06774,29.0142623,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.06774!4d29.016451

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José González

12 December
9:30pm - 11:00pm

Swedish singer-songwriter José González comes to Istanbul with his indie-folk style and layered vocals whose Heartbeats cover earned him worldwide attention. For two nights, on January 18 at 9:30pm and on January 19 at 10:00pm, he will perform songs from his latest album, Vestiges & Claw, as well as from his older albums, Veneer and In Our Nature.

Salon IKSV
18 January

End Date: 

Friday, January 19, 2018 - 23:30

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

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Event Address: 

Sadi Konuralp Caddesi No.5 Şişhane

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Italian film at Akbank Sanat

12 December
7:00pm - 9:00pm

From January 9-30, 2018, every Tuesday evening at 7pm, Akbank Sanat and the Italian Cultural Center will host free Italian film screenings for the public. These films are intended to portray different perspectives of Italy through the eyes of its characters, such as children, father and son, unexpected lovers, and even a dog. 

Guests are welcome to pick up their complimentary tickets at Akbank Sanat one hour before the screening begins. Here is a detailed list of films that will be screened.

January 9: La Cose Belle (Beautiful Things)
This documentary depicts the intense reality of Naples through the eyes of Napoli Fabio, Enzo, Adele, and Silvano, four teenagers with four views of the city through feelings of sadness, humor, innocence, and indifference. Directed by Agostino Ferrente & Giovanni Piperno. 

January 16: Un Ragazzo D’oro (A Golden Boy) 
This drama film is about the complicated relationship between Ettore and Davide, a father and son who never understood each other until the death one opens up a new pathway for another. Davide moves to Rome and works with a beautiful publisher, Ludovica, to write an autobiographical essay about his father. Directed by Pupi Avati. 

January 23: Sei Mai Stata Sulla Luna? (Ever Been to the Moon?)
This romantic comedy is about Guia, a 30-year-old successful fashion journalist whose life gets turned upside down when she inherits an old farm in deep southern Italy. Upon meeting Renzo in a remote corner of this foreign world, she discovers that the only thing missing in her life is true love. Directed by Paolo Genovese. 

January 30: Italo 
Inspired by a true story, this movie is about Italo, a stray dog and an extraordinary being who teaches the people in a countryside of Sicily about friendship, prejudice, and love. Directed by Alessia Scarso.

Akbank Sanat
09 January

End Date: 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 19:00

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Event Address: 

İstiklal Caddesi No.8 Taksim

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Moving Visegrad: "Body and Spirit" film screenings

12 December
1:00pm - 9:00pm

The 3rd Turkish-Visegrad Culture Festival continues with December movie screenings! 

Moving Visegrad will host “Body and Spirit” film screenings at the Pera Museum. Until December 29, viewers can attend these events to explore the inner world of human nature and its relation to our bodies, minds, and spirits. They will also be celebrating cinema of Hungary, Poland, Czechia and Slovakia. The movies span several decades and salute master filmmakers as well as young directors such as Jan Švankmajer, Věra Chytilová, Wojciech Marczewski, Martin Šulík, Ildikó Enyedi, György Pálfi, Virág Zomborácz and Anna Zamecka. Entrance is free!

These movie screenings are organized as a part of the 3rd Turkey-Visegrad Culture Festival and is supported by the Consulate Generals of Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. It is presented in collaboration with the International Visegrad Fund.

For more information about film titles and program times, visit the website.

Pera Museum
14 December

End Date: 

Friday, December 29, 2017 - 21:00

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Singing for Syrians Istanbul 2017

12 December
5:30pm - 7:00pm

On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, there will be a “Singing for Syrians” event at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua.
On this festive evening, people will gather to sing Christmas carols to support the Syrian refugees who have endured much hardship and who could use your help in this holiday season by your participation in this evening event. Doors open at 5:30pm, and the show will begin at 6pm.  

 

Adult tickets cost 40TL. Children's tickets (12 and under) cost 20TL. Tickets can also be purchased in cash from Camilla Conrath by contacting ‪+90 (505) 166 54 30‬. There will also be a limited number of tickets available on the door. 

Church of St. Anthony of Padua
13 December

End Date: 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 16:15

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Rap Mahal Concert Series

12 December
8:00pm - 11:00pm

“Birlikte Güzel” has organized an exciting lineup of rap concerts in 5 different cities around the country from December 12-24. Rap fans and music lovers will flock to various venues in Istanbul, Izmir, Eskişehir, Bursa, and Ankara to see Turkey’s best rappers, accompanied by up-and-coming headliners, bring their powerful rhymes and beats to the stage.

December 12: Ayben comes to Dorock XL in Kadıköy, Istanbul. She will be headlined by rappers Allame, Kamufle, Tahribad-ı Rebellion and DJ Hıros. 
December 14: Ceza, accompanied by Khontkar and DJ Sivo, comes to the Izmir Arena in Izmir.
December 19: Joker comes to the Public Tune Arena in Eskişehir.
December 21: No. 1 & Xir come to Hayalperest in Bursa. 
December 24: Aga B comes to IF Performance Hall in Ankara.

Join us for five exciting events with powerful musicians and unforgettable beats as Turkish rap starts to take front and center stage across the country. 

12 December

End Date: 

Sunday, December 24, 2017 - 14:30

Event Category: 

4th International Istanbul Silent Film Festival

12 December
1:00pm - 9:00pm

Akbank Sanat’s 4th International Istanbul Silent Cinema Festival, taking place from December 14-17 at various locations around the city, offers viewers a special showcase of important films in history with accompanying side events centered around the theme of Dance. The inspiration for this year's edition comes to Loie Fuller, an American dancer whose spellbinding performances with creative use of color, as well as her invention of the "Serpentine Dance," enthralled many. This year, world-renowned musicians such as John Sweeney, Günter Buchwald, Frank Bockius, and Daniele Furlati will join in on these events with musical performances, accompanying the silent films with diverse musical accompaniment that add live sound to the silent screen. 

Here is a summary of some of the most anticipated festival films, which will be taking place at Akbank Sanat, the French Cultural Center, and bomontiada.

Film Highlights

Die Weber, directed by Frederick Zelnik, is a faithful adaptation of Gerhart Hauptmann’s theater play about textile workers’ protests in mid-19th century Germany. Intertitles are in German, subtitles are in Turkish. This film will be shown on December 14 at 1pm at Akbank Sanat.

Dance Film Compilation brings together films from 1894 to 1926, showing early recordings of the serpentine (or butterfly) dance invented by Loie Fuller as well as documentary examples of tango, ballet, and various folk dances as well. This program will contain one of the earliest sound recordings, Dickson Experimental Sound Film from 1897, to accompany the dance movements. This film will be shown on December 14 at 4pm at Akbank Sanat. 

Bestia: Polish Dancer, directed by Alexander Hertz, is a slightly re-edited and restored version of the original film by Filmoteka Narodowa. The story is about a peasant girl, Pola, who abandons her old life to pursue a new one full of extravagance, only to find her past desperately trying to catch up to her present. Intertitles are in English, subtitles are in Turkish. This film will be shown on December 15 at 4pm at Akbank Sanat.

Phono-Cinéma-Théâtre, directed by Clément Maurice, which was first exhibited in the 1900 World Fair in Paris, includes over thirty films with scenes, some with sound via wax cylinder recordings, from some of the most popular theater and opera works of the period. This French film is subtitled in Turkish. This film will be shown on December 15 at 7pm at the French Cultural Center. 

Views from the Ottoman Empire contains short films, images, and a staged documentary of various events during this historical time, such as the occupation of Edirne in 1913 and Serbian King Peter’s visit to Istanbul in 1910. This film will be shown on December 16 at 3pm at Akbank Sanat. 

Letters from Baghdad, directed by Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl, is about the story of Gertrude Bell, a British explorer who spent many years in the Middle Easter after WWI. This film showcases moments from Bell’s life with a voiceover of her personal diary entries, letters, and confidential communications. This film is in Arabic and English and subtitled in Turkish. This film will be shown on December 16 at 7:30pm.

For a full program itinerary, visit the website. Viewers can buy tickets on Biletix or at the venue, the prices of which are 18TL for adults and 12TL for students. 

Special Events

A special workshop entitled "Silent Cinema, Color, Movement, and Meditation" will utilize the viewing of travellogues from different parts of the world to explore "embodied spectatorship." Participants will be able to see the ways in which they can become more in tune with a film when viewed with a meditative mentality. Ekin Özel will accompany the participants with various musical instruments and meditations. The ticket sales from the workshop, which are 25TL for adults and 20TL for students, will be donated to the construction of the central building of Meditation School in Cappadocia. This workshop will be held on December 15 at 7pm at Akbank Sanat.

For the first time, the 4th International Istanbul Silent Film Festival has collaborated with A Corner of the World x Bomontiada Alt to present a special screening of silent dance. Loie Fuller's Serpentine Dance and René Clair's Entr'acte are two examples of silent dance that will be screened. All movies during this event, which will take place at Bomontiada at 10pm, will be accompanied by a live music performance by Özün Usta.

14 December

End Date: 

Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 19:30

Event Category: 

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https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B002'08.3%22N+28%C2%B058'57.2%22E/@41.035624,28.9803563,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.035624!4d28.982545

Event Website: 

http://www.akbanksanat.com/en/international-istanbul-silent-film-days

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Promoting culture to build bridges: Interview with Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan

December 04, 2017

With a focus on “Old, new, eternal” or “Ortak nesiller entegrasyonu” (“the integration of joint generations),” Turkey ONE Association aims to protect and promote Turkish culture and heritage and build bridges between Turkey and countries around the world.

The association’s founder and president, Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan, explains how.

How did the idea of Turkey ONE Association come about? What were you hoping to achieve collectively and what are ONE’s most significant achievements to date? 

The Turkey ONE Association is an organization established in 2014 that works to promote Turkey internationally and protect the country’s cultural heritage, historical and natural wealth, and the common values that bring us together. Collectively, we are working to set an example as leaders in promoting Turkey’s cultural, social, and economic strengths. One of our most significant achievements is the Mosaic Road project, raised  awareness of the importance of mosaics found around Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Şanlıurfa, and Gaziantep. We also worked with local communities to protect and promote this valuable heritage. We have presented this project in Gstaad, Switzerland; Venice, Italy; Paris, France; and New York, United States. We also had a Göbeklitepe project, where in 2014 we brought members of the Turkish media to the archeological site in Şanlıurfa dating back to the Neolithic era and held meetings with UNESCO officials about the site. 

As far as lobbying for cultural heritage preservation is concerned, how did the process change over the years in Turkey? What are the biggest challenges to Turkey ONE’s work today? 

Over the years, people in Turkey have come to understand how lobbying can make real results when it comes to cultural heritage preservation. By making strong and sustainable relationships and creating powerful and persuasive arguments, we are Turkey’s best advocate. The biggest challenge to our work today may be financing. While lobbying is not about financing alone, a certain level of funding is needed to be effective and get results. 

How does the Mosaic Road project fit in global practices of heritage preservation awareness? Is there international interest in the subject? What feedback did you receive after your presentation in New York? 

The Mosaic Road project fits into global practices of heritage preservation awareness because it’s based in a region of the world in which people are very interested, a region at the center of the Abrahamic religions and countless civilizations. Through the Mosaic Road project, people from around the world can see their past and understand their future. These mosaics are of great value and contain invaluable information about our political and social past. We received very positive feedback from our presentation. Participants recognized the value and importance of these cultural artifacts and we are looking to continue promoting their importance in other venues.

What examples of good practices in cultural preservation have captured your attention? Which ones of those could be successfully implemented in Turkey as well? 

We have been studying how non-governmental organizations abroad promote cultural preservation and have close relationships with many of them, adopting their good practices. Imperative to good practices is raising awareness among the locals of the importance and potential of relics and pieces of heritage; this we strive to do. 

What will be the follow-up of the New York Global Hope Coalition Summit? Are there long-term collaboration goals for Turkey ONE and Global Hope Coalition? If so, in what way?

We introduced our Mosaic Road project at the Global Hope Coalition Summit, an event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly held in New York in September. We introduced the unique mosaics found in Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, and Şanlıurfa to participants in the summit. The summit’s keynote speakers included presidents and heads of state of seven countries, former US First Lady Laura Bush, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and renowned actor and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Forest Whitaker. We were the only participating Turkish association and were able to raise awareness amongst these people and others about our mosaics. To follow up with this, we will work with the Global Hope Coalition to reach out to the right people to increase awareness worldwide. Individual friendships and relationships created during these days will have positive effects moving forward. 

In your opinion, what is the most important role of a modern-day culture/heritage patron? Why is it relevant for influential people to get involved in raising awareness? 

In my opinion, the most important role of a modern-day culture/heritage patron is a spokeswoman (or man), is an advocate who will dedicate a lifetime of hard work and commitment. Throughout my life, I have worked—and will continue to work—to get results. Influential people should use their fame to create awareness around these issues. 

Where do you see Turkey ONE in 10 years? What are the association’s long-term goals? 

Turkey ONE will continue working to make a positive impact and protect and promote our cultural heritage. Turkey ONE’s activities will undoubtedly touch everyone’s lives at one point and we will continue to raise awareness and interest.

 

Editor's note: The original version of this article was published in the November/December 2017 issue of the magazine and has been reformatted in its online version. 

How to get 'cultured' in Istanbul

Minji Lee
December 04, 2017

As a metropolis of more than 15 million, Istanbul is a hub where cultures from around the world intersect. There are groups in the city that promote the sharing of culture, and like the city itself, show participants how people are more similar than different and interconnected. With a bit of curiosity and open-mindedness, it is easy to join. Brazilian dance, Georgian art, and Korean language are three of many culture groups in Istanbul that share an interest in an aspect of a country’s culture and build a community around it. The energy and passion each of these groups deliver through their workshops, concerts, and weekly meetings contributes to intercultural learning and exchange.

Dance like a Brazilian

Forró (pronounced faw-haw) is a Brazilian dance that originated in the northeastern heartland of Brazil. It has since spread to cosmopolitan districts around the world and has now found a home in Istanbul. Bengü Gün, the coordinator of Forró Istanbul, fell in love with the spirit of the dance when she visited the Bahía region of Brazil and sought to bring it back home. “Forró makes you feel good, physically and psychologically,” she told The Guide Istanbul.  “Even if you don’t understand Portuguese, the lyrics make are light and happy. At Forró Istanbul, we want to share this joy with other people.” 

This group started out as a small group of friends who wanted to practice forró on a regular basis. Now, it is in its third year with about 60 regular members. Every two weeks, Forró Istanbul holds classes in Cihangir and interested participants get the first lesson free. The community also organizes workshops and festivals, oftentimes inviting forró masters from Brazil to teach new movements. “Cultural exchange can happen anywhere and anytime,”  Nejat Çingi, a member of the group, told The Guide Istanbul. “Thanks to Forró Istanbul, we don’t need to go to all the way to Brazil to learn about a magnificent dance.” For more information on Forró Istanbul’s classes and events, visit forroistanbul.org. 

 

Beyond the borders

A cozy space in Kadıköy where Georgian art, music, and food can be found, Gürcü Sanat Evi, or Georgian Art House, brings together people with a shared interest in Georgian culture. Visitors can browse through a collection of music albums, folk instruments, and traditional costumes. The Georgian Art House has a small stage where a polyphonic choir of around 25 people sing Georgian music. Even if you do not know the language, the music creates a powerful ambiance that typifies the humble and powerful spirit of Georgia. 

İberya Özkan, the founder and director of the Georgian Art House, organizes lessons in the Georgian language, arts, and instruments. The musically inclined can learn to play the salamuri, a reeded wind instrument, the panduri, a three-stringed lute, and the doli, a percussion instrument. The venue also provides dance workshops in which the vibrant sounds from Georgia and the wider Caucasus region come to life with sweeping, spinning body movements. This dance may feel familiar for those who know the Black Sea horon dance. 

Turkey’s proximity to Georgia has led to a blending of cultures, especially for people like Onur Sarıkaya, one of the choir members, who grew up in Artvin, a province in northeastern Turkey that borders the Black Sea. Sarıkaya told The Guide Istanbul that growing up in that region exposed him to a special blend of Georgian and Turkish culture, each with their distinct styles and both with a meaningful place in the community. To find out more information about upcoming classes and concerts, you can visit the location’s Facebook page, GürcüSanat Evi.

 

For the love of Korean language

Established by students and Korean language instructors at Boğaziçi University, the Korean Translation Club is a multicultural family that shares its love for Korean language, food, and pop culture. Every Tuesday, members of this informal group meet to improve their Korean language skills by translating different documents, from traditional poems to contemporary K-pop lyrics. The leader of the group, Hwa-Cheon Lee, a Korean language instructor in the Foreign Languages Department, also organizes a variety of activities that foster a family-like environment for members. Together, they cook traditional foods like japchae (Korean glass noodles with stir-fried vegetables) and popular Korean street foods like gimbab (a rice roll similar to sushi) and ddukbokki (spicy rice cakes).

The club also holds a variety of activities and events. Last May, in collaboration with another culture club on campus, they organized the Second Annual Korean Culture Fest. This year, the club is planning to organize cooking events, film screenings, and a sports day, all of which are open to the public. As learning a language is the key to learning a culture, the Korean Translation Club is helping foster global perspectives in students and the wider Turkish community. To get involved with this group, send an email to hwacheon.lee@boun.edu.tr.

Mardin: An off-the-beaten-path spot for history

Rosa Wild
November 23, 2017

Southeastern Turkey, a stone’s throw from the Syrian border, hardly seems like the most tempting destination for a city break. But Mardin is as safe as the rest of the country, and you will be rewarded for your journey with golden stone alleyways, astonishing views, a rich multicultural heritage, and surprisingly excellent wine.

Mardin’s old city, balanced on the hillside between an ancient castle and the sweeping Mesopotamian plains, offers a stew of influences from Assyrian, Arab, Turkish, and Kurdish cultures, expressed in unique architecture, food, and handicrafts. At the end of the day, watching the sun sink into the distant horizon over a copper cup of Syriac wine or a toxically strong murra coffee, it is hard not to feel transported to another world.

Stroll with a history

Mardin’s sightseeing gem is the Deyr-ul Zafaran Monastery. This Syrian Orthodox monastery was established over 1,500 years ago and you will see evidence of its sacredness and importance that predates Christianity. Historical relics on display, saffron colored stone, rose gardens, and peaceful courtyards fill the enormous space; the monks are happy to give tours. The monastery sits five kilometers outside of the city, a nice walk in pleasant weather or or a quick trip by taxi.

Also just outside the city center, the Artuquid-era Kasimiye medrese (Islamic school) is worth a stop not only for its gorgeously simple design but for more views over the plains. It is a great spot for watching the sunset and can be reached by taxi or a short walk through the old town. If you have not had your fill of religious monuments, the old city itself is stuffed with them. Check out the Great Mosque with its enormous, elaborate minaret; the Latfiye Mosque for its intricate carvings; and the Kirklar Church where, if you are lucky, the friendly priest will let you in for a quick tour. Another pretty honey sandstone building is the city museum, which is worth a visit for informative displays and artifacts dating back millennia. Half the fun of finding these sights is exploring the narrow streets, getting lost among the old houses, and seeing local life play out.

Mardin has some excellent shopping options – locally made copperware, filigree silver, soaps, and wine are the best buys, and there is a good chance of turning up something interesting in the antique shops. Look out for the Shahmeran, the queen of snakes, a local legend and symbol of female wisdom, who appears on everything from earrings to mirrors to bags. Make your way along Cumhuriyet Caddesi, the old city’s main drag, drop in and out of anywhere that looks interesting, and be prepared for many cups of tea.

With a bit more time and a sense of adventure, there are a few worthwhile day trips from the city. Midyat, another multicultural sandstone town, is just an hour away with regular dolmuş and bus services running throughout the day. It has a fascinating selection of churches, old mansions, and monasteries to visit and it is a nice drive through golden hills patched with olive trees. With an early start – and ideally a taxi or your own wheels as public transport can be patchy – you can make it in the same day to Hasankeyf, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements, now a lovely little village tucked under high cliffs by the Tigris river. Make sure to visit if you get the chance as it is expected to be flooded by nearby dam construction within the next few years. Check with your hotel for up-to-date transport and security information, but it is usually a safe and easy day trip.

If you prefer your history truly ancient, try taking a dolmuş or taxi to the village of Oğuz, 34 kilometers away, to visit the well-preserved ruins of the Roman city of Dara. The site is free to visit, but you may get offered a cheap informal tour by local youths.

Hospitality and local tastes 

Mardin’s old city has an excellent collection of hotels; many fine old houses have been converted into boutique hotels at reasonable prices. Thick sandstone walls keep out the heat or cold, and there are usually terraces or courtyards where you can relax under medieval arches. One good option is Dara Konaği, which offers lovely old sandstone rooms with soft beds and silky drapes, a few minutes’ walk from Cumhuriyet Caddesi in the heart of the old town.

Cumhuriyet Caddesi is also the place to start the search for a good meal. Seyr-i Mardin is impossible to miss as you pass up the main street and we recommend that you don’t; it offers sumptuous décor, a summer terrace with some of the city’s best views, and deliciously unique local dishes as well as kebab and köfte standards. Try the tahini chicken with zucchini fries, or go all out and order the enormous two-person stuffed ribs. Alcohol is not available but you can finish up with coffee and nargile as the city lights come on under your feet.

For the full kahvaltı experience head to Beyzade Café, where a friendly family serve up the usual spread with a few twists – bananas and walnuts in honey, or yogurt with homemade jams and kiwi fruit. 

With its conservative southeastern Turkish atmosphere Mardin is not the place to go for a boozy night out, but it is worth trying the local Syriac wine. Assyrian Christian families have been making wine at home for centuries, and in the last few decades commercial organic winemaking has picked up around Mardin and Midyat. Cercis Murat Konaği serves the real thing in traditional copper cups along with inventive mezze platters, or you can pick up a bottle at one of several small wine shops along Cumhuriyet Caddesi.

When to go

Mardin’s weather can vary wildly from season to season, regularly rising above 40°C in summer and dropping well below freezing in winter. The best season to visit is spring, when the plains below are green and flowers are in bloom in the churchyards; if you visit around Orthodox Easter you may be able to witness some of the celebrations. Autumn can also be pleasantly cool, with long crisp evenings. If you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to visit during the occasional winter snows, navigating the frozen cobblestones can be a slippery challenge, but the reward is a view of sugar-coated, flat-roofed houses dropping off dramatically into pearly mists.

Getting there

Pegasus offers direct morning flights from Sabiha Gökçen, starting from 60 TL one way for the two-hour journey. If you are up for a more epic – and slightly rougher – journey, the Güney Express departs Ankara at 11am every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, scheduled to arrive in Diyarbakır at 8.30am the next day (actual arrival time may vary), where you can link up with a bus, taxi, or dolmuş for the one or two hour drive on to Mardin. Check the latest security advice before trying this route, bring some food and drink, and definitely shell out for a sleeping berth if you want a good night’s rest!

 

Beyond the walls at adas

November 23, 2017

Since its opening in September 2017, adas, short for “Architecture Design Art Space,” has reconstructed an old building in Seyrantepe with a contemporary approach. In contrast to the surrounding neighborhood, the art space is clean-cut, with white and charcoal walls that hold layers of art—literally and figuratively—unveiled to the viewer. 

According to adas founder Ömer Özyürek, his center is a direct reflection of his journey, or as he describes it, love affair, collecting and appreciating art. After a decade of interest in contemporary art, he started to collect pieces from around the world and recently turned his focus from private collecting to public viewing. The adas space functions as a storage area for the many works in Özyürek’s collection, as well as a multifunctional space where he can share select art pieces with the public.

Özyürek states that adas, as with any newly-opened space, will take some time to reach its final form. Looking to the future, adas seeks to provide a place for both solo artists and curatorial exhibitions with a focus on art, design, and architecture, organized with intention and patience. “What we do at adas should have a certain standard,” Özyürek told The Guide Istanbul. “We want guests to say that they waited two months to see a new show, and it was indeed worth the wait.” Just a five-minute walk from the Seyrantepe M2 metro, adas is awaiting viewers to show them a taste of its unexpected but worthwhile space.

adas is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm, as well as Sunday and Monday by appointment.
Çalışkan Sok No.33, Seyrantepe; T: (0212) 280 34 42

Tünel: A 90-second ride on the world's shortest metro line

Minji Lee
November 23, 2017

While many think of buildings when they think of architecture, architecture goes beyond — and at times underground. Tünel, an underground funicular that connects Karaköy to İstiklal Caddesi in a 90-second ride, boasts a unique architectural history that links neighborhoods and cultures, from past to present. Today, the cars have a capacity of 170 and the system transports about 12,000 passengers per day. 

Inspiration for Tünel

The 19th century was a bustling time for then-Constantinople. Businessmen and diplomats frequented Beyoğlu, oftentimes working in the financial center of Galata and socializing in the lively areas around modern-day Taksim Square. Though the commute between these two neighborhoods was a short distance, Yüksekkaldırım Caddesi, which translates to High Sidewalk Road, and its sloped, narrow streets made it difficult for pedestrians to walk from one area to another.

In 1867, French engineer Eugène-Henri Gavand was inspired to make the area easier to access for pedestrians. He proposed the construction of Tünel funicular, a daring architectural feat for the times. His idea focused on practicality and the design would change the way locals, foreigners, and tourists visited the areas for decades to come. Sultan Abdulaziz approved Gavand’s funicular and the project that would propel the neighborhood upward began. 

Tünel was modelled after the ficelle, French for funicular, of Lyon, France, a structure that overcame the same incline challenges as those of Yüksekkaldırım Caddesi. The funicular reflected the multicultural spirit of Constantinople. Karaköy and Galata, the two neighborhoods that Tünel connects, historically was home to Jews, Greeks, and Italians. The area’s multiculturalism is reflected in the names of the neighborhoods themselves — Karaköy means “Karay Village,” referring to the Karaite branch of Judaism; Galata is believed to originate from galaktos, “milk” in Greek, or calata, “stairway” in Italian. 

Today, the influence of the different cultures is apparent in present-day Beyoğlu, from Taksim to Galata to the Golden Horn, where Ottoman and international styles converge. An example of this is today’s SALT Galata, which is in the former Ottoman Imperial Bank building, and the Camondo steps. The curved staircase, built around 1870-1880, was built by Abraham Camondo, a Jewish man, supposedly as a shortcut to Bankalar Caddesi. Tünel’s two stations, located close to the Karaköy ferry docks on one end and the southern side of İstiklal Caddesi on the other, open up to impressive buildings reflecting architecture inspired by different countries and time periods.

Tünel, past and present

Tünel has been updated and restored multiple times over the years. When it was first constructed, Tünel was powered by steam and lit by gas; today, it is powered by electricity. The wooden carriages were replaced with steel in the 1970s, giving more functionality to the cable car system. The funicular car’s red-beige exterior, however, remains similar to the original 19th century wooden railway. Despite these differences, the amount of time it takes to go from one destination to the other is the same: 90 seconds. 

Tünel played an important role in modernizing Constantinople and continues to influence daily life in present-day Istanbul. It is both a feat of engineering and an impressive piece of functionalist architecture whose appeal involves the constant movement of people between its cars.

Making cultural connections

More than 140 years after Tünel was inaugurated, the areas around Karaköy and Galata continue to be a favorite amongst locals and foreigners alike. Just like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when its construction served to increase interaction between individuals from many backgrounds, Tünel today serves this same purpose: to attract people from all over the world to explore the liveliest hubs of the city in a convenient manner. Though the name itself implies a darkness, which would contradict most architectural intentions, the history of this work sparks a bright, nostalgic image of 19th century Constantinople and holds its own set of aesthetic values. This short ride through the historical underground railway indeed reflects a functional cross between districts, people, and cultures.

 

Editor's note: This article was originally published in the November/December 2017 version of the magazine and has been reformatted in its online format.

Leonardo da Vinci: Even in Istanbul

11 November
4:00pm - 8:00pm

From December 14 until April 7, a full-scale Leonardo da Vinci expo, with original sketches and true-to-size replicas of this Renaissance genius’ work, will be open for viewers at the UNIQ Istanbul Museum.

10 years of intensive study on Leonardo da Vinci’s collections by a team of historians, engineers, graphic designers, and craftsmen have led to the fruition of this exciting exhibition, not to be missed and sure to be visited again and again.

The exhibition will feature 100 replicas of Da Vinci’s inventions that have been created from his detailed sketches. The replicas range from small to large, from sixty centimeters to 5 meters in size, and some of them are in their original dimensions as noted in the sketches. The largest piece of the exhibition is Leonardo da Vinci’s never-created bridge on the Golden Horn. In 1502, da Vinci wrote a letter to Sultan II and proposed building a bridge across the Golden Horn. The replica shown in this exhibition has been scaled down to 7 meters; yet, it represents a significant piece of history and architecture that brings viewers closer to an imaginary bridge that could have been built in Istanbul.

Along with these replicas, there are nearly 200 original manuscripts, paintings, and drawings by da Vinci himself. In addition, there are 30 original pieces by other Renaissance artists, such as Giorgio Vasari, Donatello, Verrocchio, Giambologna, Raphael, Francesco Guardi and Canaletto, who were inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s works. 

This exhibition can be visited by people of all ages, and it can serve as a useful teaching tool for children, students, and schools in teaching them about the incredible artist, inventor, and architect, amongst many other innovative roles, that Leonardo da Vinci held. As the expo debuts in Istanbul on December 14, being able to see hundreds of his designs in their 3D form is sure to be inspiring and educational for all.

UNIQ Istanbul
14 December

End Date: 

Saturday, April 7, 2018 - 17:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B007'41.4%22N+29%C2%B001'34.9%22E/@41.1281711,29.0241673,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.1281711!4d29.026356

Event Address: 

Ayazağa Caddesi No. 4 Maslak

Event Places : 

Novus String Quartet Performance

11 November
8:00pm - 10:00pm

Novus String Quartet is one of Korea’s lead chamber music ensembles. After having won multiple awards in countries such as Japan, France, Austria, and Germany almost immediately after their formation in 2007, the Novus String Quartet has been gaining worldwide recognition. On December 18, the ensemble will come to the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall to deliver an unforgettable concert for their audience. Tickets are available on Biletix. 

Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall
18 December

End Date: 

Monday, December 18, 2017 - 20:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B002'53.3%22N+28%C2%B059'24.5%22E/@41.048141,28.9879593,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.048141!4d28.990148

Event Website: 

http://www.crrkonsersalonu.org/

Event Address: 

Darülbedayi Caddesi Harbiye

Event Places : 

21st Istanbul Theater Festival: Butterflies

11 November
8:00pm - 9:00pm

Compagnia TPO, a dynamic Italian theater group, brings “Butterflies” to the Zorlu stage from November 21-26 as a part of the 21st Istanbul Theater Festival. A shimmery world of colors, sounds, and lights will dance with the artists on stage to tell the story of the miraculous world of butterflies. During the performance, young audience members will be invited to explore the stage during different parts of the show in smal groups. The emphasis on interactive exploration through digital technologies is sure to feed the imagination of all spectators, no matter the age. The show lasts 50 minutes, and the audience is asked to remove their shoes before the show so as not to disturb the performance. Tickets are available on Biletix.

Zorlu PSM
21 November

End Date: 

Sunday, November 26, 2017 - 21:45

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B004'03.9%22N+29%C2%B000'59.2%22E/@41.06774,29.0142623,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.06774!4d29.016451

Event Places : 

Sound Meditation Session: "An"

11 November
8:00pm - 9:30pm

On November 29, Soundala Therapy will host a sound meditation session that focuses on being in the moment despite the chaos of everyday life. The attendees will sit in a spiral with their eyes closed and tune into the sounds of many instruments, such as gongs, himalayan bowls, crystal bowls, chimes, other sound healing instruments from all over the world. Various sound healing instruments help facilitate the frequency of brain waves into a meditative state, also known as an altered state of consciousness (ASC). Being in this ASC for a prolonged time may encourage more unified thinking, self-awareness, energy shifts, and even a lowering of blood pressure and cortisol. 

In this session, sound therapist and meditation guide Rida Kıraşı, musician and composer Can Dedeoğlu, and meditation guide and holistic health coach Pınar Taşkınlar will be guiding attendees through the potential ASCs that people can achieve. 

Event participation is limited to 90 people, and no previous meditation experience is required to partake in this session. Tickets are available on Biletix.

Zorlu PSM
29 November

End Date: 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 21:45

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B004'03.9%22N+29%C2%B000'59.2%22E/@41.06774,29.0142623,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.06774!4d29.016451

Event Website: 

http://www.zorlupsm.com/en/event/other/soundala-therapy-2

Event Places : 

Miniature: The modern face of centuries-old art

Zeynep Ardağ
November 16, 2017

From the Uyghur Kingdom to the rule of Süleyman the Magnificent to today, Turkish artists have been using miniature to detail their world. The art form has changed with the times, and today’s artists are blending past and present to tell a story truly their own. 

Miniature has a long history in Turkey, travelling to Anatolia from the Uyghur Kingdom and later used by the Seljuks and the Ottomans to document everyday life. After the conquest of Tabriz, due to the Persian influence, heroic deed, animal fables, literary works and folk stories also began to be decorated with miniature. The golden age of Turkish miniature was during the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent in the second half of the 16th century.

During the 18th century, Western influences began to shape all areas of culture, including art. Abdulcelil Levni, a miniature artist of the time, is considered a reformer who broke the rules of the traditional miniature by adding Western features and creating a unique style. As technology rapidly progressed during the 19th and 20th centuries with the introduction of the printing press and photography, miniature lost its prevalence as modern forms of record-keeping gained in popularity. 

Miniature all but disappeared until professor Süheyl Ünver revived it in the 1960s with his research on Turkish traditional arts. As education in Turkey followed Western curriculum, no universities had programs on traditional Turkish arts. To fill the gap, Ünver began to give informal seminars at the Cerrahpaşa Institute of Medical History and later workshops at Topkapı Palace. One of his students was Günseli Kato, who would later become one of the pioneers of modernizing miniature. 

Something in her soul urged her to search for the new, Kato told The Guide Istanbul. “Art should be radical, reformist,” she explained. “At one point making copies of the old Ottoman miniatures did not satisfy me anymore so I started working on a more modern style of miniature.” She began to draw miniatures of the Bosphorus waterfront mansions and her own home and gardens. 

In 1981, Kato went to Tokyo University on a scholarship and studied traditional Japanese painting, which was a period that would be highly influential in her art. While learning traditional Japanese art she also taught Turkish miniature; years later, a blend of the two cultures would become her signature style. Kato would bring the traditional and contemporary together by using elements of miniature art in large-scale sculptures, paintings, and other art forms, bridging time, cultures, and norms. 

According to Kato, to become a reformist in traditional discipline one has to look outside the books. “Miniature is a book art but you have to take it out from the book and apply it on the walls, gardens, large areas,” she said. “You have to use technology as well as new and different materials. You can do miniature as a video for instance. All you have to do is to follow its spirit and bring the soul of miniature to your artwork. The real creativity and the ingenuity is to be able to blend miniature with the techniques and art forms of the 21st century.”

 

Miniaturizing today's social context

Canan Şenol, better known under her artistic pseudonym CANAN, is one of the artists who create as Kato described. CANAN gained her reputation by blending miniatures of the Persian and Ottoman traditions with photography, video, needlework, and sculpture. 

As a student at Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts, CANAN was influenced by Bauhaus school’s way of conceptual thinking, where use of different materials and objects aims to bring art into contact with everyday life. She became interested in miniature as a tool to criticize traditional viewpoints and in 2006 she decided to study miniature painting from Taner Alakuş at Mimar Sinan University’s Turkish Traditional Art Department. She wanted to do more, however, than make reproductions of old Ottoman miniatures. “Copying what already exists was not entirely what I wanted,” CANAN told The Guide Istanbul. “I believe that when producing artwork, regardless of whatever art form you are using, the artists should add their soul and emotions to the piece.”

As a socially-conscious artist interested in political issues, CANAN uses her miniatures to provide commentary on current events just as the Ottoman miniaturists documenting their era did. “While creating my works, I think about the subjects that are emotionally affecting my life at that period, and the best type of art form that matches with those emotions appears itself,” she told The Guide Istanbul. Over the years her visual language and choice of subjects changed from realistic to more symbolic, making myths and mythological figures main elements in her works.

In her latest exhibition, Behind Mount Qaf, on display at Arter until December 24, 2017, CANAN applied miniature figures on tulle with the techniques of cutting, stitching, sewing, and embroidering. In her spatial installation work Animal Kingdom, covered in brightly colored and sequined fabrics, animals, all of which are in traditional miniatures, fill the gallery space as modern connectors of the past and present, transferred from the pages of old books to today. 

 

The big screen, small-sized

Murat Palta made his career depicting scenes from Hollywood films in the form of traditional Ottoman miniature art. Star Wars, Kill Bill, Godfather, Inception, A Clockwork Orange, Pulp Fiction, Terminator 2, and Scarface are among the cult movies depicted in his miniatures. 

Although he studied graphic design and illustration at university, he was drawn to Turkish traditional miniatures. He got the idea of drawing Hollywood scenes in miniature form while watching Star Wars with his brother and joking, “What if Darth Vader were a Turkish commander?”

“I love cinema, which is a part of popular culture, and at the same time I love history and miniatures,” Palta told The Guide Istanbul. “Intermingling my two favorite art subjects was therefore a natural outcome.”

In 2012 he chose miniatures as the subject of his graduation thesis. His professors were hesitant at first, but Palta excelled. When he uploaded his works to Behance.net, an online platform where artists share their works, it went viral. “I was aware that I had done very creative and good work, but to be honest, I was not expecting things would get to this point, and that I would receive so much attention,” Palta said. 

He continued in the years since with his theme, seeking new ideas and mediums. One of his latest works depicts a scene from the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark on a light box. “It was an experimental approach to see what I can do with different materials,” he explained. “At first I was not sure what the outcome would be, but it turned out to be great as the light box gave a more cinematographic feeling to my miniatures.”

He also went beyond Hollywood movies. In some of his works, he depicts scenes from popular books such as Metamorphosis, 1984, Don Quixote, Little Prince, and Harry Potter. There is no doubt that telling a contemporary story with a centuries-old art form is not easy. According to Palta, the biggest challenge is to figure out a way to draw the objects like cars, planes, and spaceships in a way that fits into the miniature aesthetic. 

 

A 21st century spin on 18th century art

Onur Hastürk is another next-generation artist whose works were displayed next to Palta’s at the Past Meets Present exhibit at Anna Laudel Contemporary in September and October 2017. In his art works, Hastürk chose scenes from Çelebi’s acclaimed work Surname depicting scenes from the circumcision festivities of the sultan’s sons and applied them to Starbucks coffee cups. In doing so, he brought the 200-year old story to life by putting it in the middle of today’s popular culture. 

Hastürk defines his work as questioning, of being neither traditional nor contemporary. “I have always been ‘the other’ for both sides. But I loved being ‘the other’ and not belonging to any genre because it gives you more freedom,” he said.

Although much of his education focused on traditional Turkish miniatures and illumination, Hastürk also closely follows Western artists. He noticed that even the most acclaimed Western painters were influenced by Eastern art forms. “I came across one Matisse painting in which he broke perspective rules and composed the scales of the figures just like in the miniatures,” Hastürk explained. “What is more, Picasso said Islamic calligraphy was the highest aesthetic level he aspired to reach. It was exciting to see the Western painters take their inspiration from Eastern arts," he continued. 

The influence between Eastern and Western artists has been a two-way street throughout history, and art worldwide will continue to change with the times as artists create new and creative means of expressing themselves. 

“Just like every century has its own art style, we have to create a unique style for the 21th century’s miniature,” Kato said. “The ones who do this are the artists who know and can blend both the traditional and contemporary arts. We cannot follow the past, but instead take what we can from it into the future."

Bao buns: A new favorite on-the-go

November 16, 2017

After decades of following Western trends, Istanbul is finally looking east for its snacks. Originating from China, a soft steamed bun known as bao has quickly become one of Istanbul’s foodie favorites. Suitable for both vegetarians and meat lovers, bao presents endless creative filling possibilities, with its moist texture both light and nourishing. A tasty alternative to common street food, bao easily accommodates your favorite local ingredients and can easily be made at home.

Where to try them: 

-One of the bun trend pioneers in the city, Hudson in Arnavutkoy, ensures the cocktail you enjoy alongside this snack compliment one another.   

-MSA’s Restaurant: Islak hamburger might not be an everyday choice, but the restaurant’s stuffed bun alternative is a must try. Other varieties on the menu include spicy pulled beef rib with muhammara and hot dog. 

-BunCo’s falafel bun does not really fit in the Turkish cuisine category, but regionally-inspired fillings have quickly become this restaurant’s hit. Choose the classic bun instead of whole wheat option for a more authentic taste. 

-For those who prefer to avoid surprises, Bao’n Bun’s offer is the safest, featuring chicken, beef and veggie-based options.

-This season, you can make your own bao at Sunday brunch at Rocca in Raffles Istanbul, topping your bun off with a selection of homemade sauces. 

 

We'd like to see more chef’s creative takes on Istanbul staple foods. Bun balık ekmek, anyone?

Like music to your ears: Sound therapy in Turkey

Minji Lee
November 16, 2017

From the Golden Age of Islam to contemporary times, music and sound have been incorporated into medical healing practices. Today, scientists and doctors are rediscovering the healing power of sound and creating new methods of restoring health. 

Music and sound have been used for centuries to enhance wellbeing and treat ailments, and Turkey and the surrounding region has been central to the development of these treatments. In the Golden Age of Islam, which spanned from the 8th to 13th centuries, scholars such as Al Farabi and Abu Bakr-Razi studied the combined healing effects of music and medicine. They combined knowledge from astrology, chemistry, biology, and natural phenomena which influence people’s emotional and physical health to diagnose and treat patients. Ibn Sina’s infamous The Canon of Medicine, published in 1025, explored how listening to music can increase a patient’s capacity to cope with disease. 

Centuries later, makams, or specific melodies of varying tones and patterns, were used in medical treatment. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, interactions between dervishes, mosque cantors, non-Muslims, and the Ottoman high class created a diversity of instruments, sounds, and makams. The classical Ottoman music from these times were sources of not only entertainment but also healing, featuring instruments such as the ney, or reed flute, and kildum, or kettledrum.

Music Therapy in Ottoman Turkey 

Selçuk and Ottoman doctors applied music healing treatments in institutions known as şifahane, or health houses. Health houses were established in present-day Mardin, Kayseri, Manisa, Bursa, Istanbul, and Edirne, with the most prominent located in Edirne. The Sultan Beyazid II Health Complex was established in 1494 and became well-known through historian and writer Evliya Çelebi’s Book of Travels. Çelebi wrote detailed accounts of the types of musical instruments and makams doctors used to treat patients. For example, according to Çelebi’s writings, the rast makam was played for people with convulsions and paralysis and zirefkend was played for people suffering from back pains. 

Although Çelebi’s writings include in-depth information about music therapy, one important aspect is missing: written music composition. This mystery leads scholars to believe that though specific instruments and makams crucial for the types of treatment administered, music composition was improvised. This improvisation approach is a large part of the music and sound therapy process in present-day Turkey.

Turkish music healing groups 

Today, groups throughout Turkey are working to harness the ancient healing properties of music. TÜMATA is one such group, promoting the fields of Turkish music and movement therapy by holding interactive seminars, concerts, and courses for the community and those suffering illnesses. The late Dr. Rahmi Oruç Güvenç, the founder of TÜMATA, developed specific music and movement therapy treatments to help all types of patients, from those undergoing chemotherapy to those suffering from chronic pain, gain physical and psychological recovery. 

One specific method is an alternative baksı dance movement in which a patient either lays down and listens to or participates in a partly structured, partly improvised dance. While past forms of the baksı dance required a shaman to interpret the needs of a patient, Oruç Güvenç’s version allows one to reach a state of healing by his or her own initiative, with or without the mediation of a therapist.

Located in Sultanahmet, TÜMATA houses a collection of over 300 instruments, each with distinct tonalities and healing properties. Many of these instruments were researched and collected over the years by Oruç Güvenç, while others were carefully handmade according to photos and descriptions from literature. Every Tuesday, this group practices their musical repertoire with the public, utilizing a variety of instruments such as the ney, rebab (a bow-stringed instrument), kopuz (oud), dombra (long-necked lute), and the sound of water. Emre Başaran, a TÜMATA member who lent assistance in providing details for this piece, helps organize these musical events. Through improvisation, they play songs from Central Asia, as well as Sufi and Turkish folk songs, to promote their knowledge and passion for Turkish music healing.

Modern incarnation of music therapy 

Founded and run by meditation guide Rida Kıraşı, Soundala Therapy is a group that holds sound healing workshops at Soho House Istanbul and Kolektif House, as well as meditation retreats around Turkey. In a session, a variety of instruments including Himalayan singing bowls, gongs, and even a chanting voice, expose people to different sounds and their varying frequencies to allow the sound waves to synchronize with brain waves and give way to a deep relaxation. 

“We can utilize sound as a compassionate mirror to reflect our resonance, resistance, and release,” Kıraşı told The Guide Istanbul. During a session, Kıraşı serves as a mediator between her clients and the sounds that provoke certain reactions. Sometimes, she plays the instruments alone; at other times, she plays with musician Can Dedeoğlu. The sound created is always experimental, never composed, and soon transforms the role of the listener into that of the participant.

As the Ottoman music therapists, TÜMATA, and Soundala Therapy would agree, one of the most important aspects of the music healing process is improvisation and intuition. While music and sound therapy in Turkey have scientific basis, the subject is still in many ways a spiritual mystery. Its ability to provide healing in simple, authentic, alternative ways is like music to our ears.  

 

Editor's notes: This article was originally published in the November/December 2017 print issue. To learn more about TÜMATA, go to tumata.com or visit their center at Alemdar Caddesi No.12/3, Sultanahmet. To learn more about Soundala Therapy, send an email to hello@soundalatherapy.com.

Moving Visegrad's "TAK" dance performance at Pera Museum

11 November
4:00pm - 5:00pm

“Moving Visegrad” is a two-week contemporary dance choreographic residency program that aims to promote the culture of the Visegrad region, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, in the context of Turkey. Situated within the larger framework of A Corner in the World X bomontiada ALT and as part of the 3rd Visegrad-Turkish Culture Festival, the program brings together the dancers and audience for a public performance entitled “TAK” at Pera Museum on November 18.  

Choreographer Evrim Akyay and music composer Hasan Erginöz, as well as dancers Hania (Hanna) Szymczak (PL), Melissa Ugolini (ITA), Tereza Hradilkova (CZ), Tomas Danielis (SK), and Viktor Szeri (HUN) will share with us the artistic and cultural exchanges they experienced during their stay in Turkey. 

Auspices for the “Moving Visegrad” program include the Consulates General of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in Istanbul, and support comes from the International Visegrad Fund, Hungarian Cultural Center in Istanbul, and Dans Yazım.

This free performance takes place on the “Intersecting Worlds: Ambassadors and Painters” exhibition floor at Pera Museum on November 18, 2017 at 4pm. 

Pera Museum
18 November

End Date: 

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 17:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B001'57.0%22N+28%C2%B058'24.6%22E/@41.032492,28.9713063,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.032492!4d28.973495

Event Website: 

www.v4tr.org/moving

Event Address: 

Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.65 Tepebaşı

Event Places : 

Moving Visegrad's "TAK" dance performance at bomontiada

11 November
6:00pm - 7:00pm

“Moving Visegrad” is a two-week contemporary dance choreographic residency program that aims to promote the culture of the Visegrad region, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, in the context of Turkey. Situated within the larger framework of A Corner in the World X bomontiada ALT and as part of the 3rd Visegrad-Turkish Culture Festival, the program brings together the dancers and audience for a public performance entitled “TAK” at bomontiada on November 16.  

Choreographer Evrim Akyay and music composer Hasan Erginöz, as well as dancers Hania (Hanna) Szymczak (PL), Melissa Ugolini (ITA), Tereza Hradilkova (CZ), Tomas Danielis (SK), and Viktor Szeri (HUN) will share with us the artistic and cultural exchanges they experienced during their stay in Turkey. 

Auspices for the “Moving Visegrad” program include the Consulates General of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in Istanbul, and support comes from the International Visegrad Fund, Hungarian Cultural Center in Istanbul, and Dans Yazım.

This free performance takes place at bomontiada on November 16, 2017 at 6pm. 

bomontiada
16 November

End Date: 

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 19:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B003'29.9%22N+28%C2%B058'47.9%22E/@41.058313,28.9777713,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.058313!4d28.97996

Event Website: 

www.v4tr.org/moving

Event Address: 

Birahane Sokak No.1/A, Şişli

Event Places : 

007 comes to Pera Palace for Black Week Turkey

11 November

James Bond fans, book-lovers, and thrill-seekers are in for an exhilarating series of events at the Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah from November 16-18 with a 007-themed Black Week, an annual literary mystery and crime festival.

The inspiration for Black Week comes from legendary literary and film icons who stayed at the hotel as they wrote their mystery novels and crime thrillers, one of the most prominent of which was James Bond author Ian Fleming. This year’s Agent 007 theme will explore what these walls heard—and kept secret—with talks, panels, and workshops about mystery writing. Some of the headlining local and international speakers include best-selling crime writer Anthony Horowitz, British actor and author of the Young Bond series Charlie Higson, and one of Turkey’s most famous crime and mystery novelists, Ahmet Ümit.

The Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah is offering to those who do not want to miss a beat the Black Week Package. With a minimum two-night stay at the hotel, guests can enjoy an open buffet breakfast at the Agatha Restaurant, an invitation to the event’s opening gala, and entrance to all panel sessions. 

For more information on the full program, a list of speakers, and hotel package, visit blackweekturkey.com.

Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah
16 November

End Date: 

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 20:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps?q=41.03108,28.973479999999995

Event Website: 

www.blackweekturkey.com

Event Address: 

Meşrutiyet Caddesi No. 52 Tepebaşı

Event Places : 

Making merry with aşure

Aylin Öney Tan
November 13, 2017

Aşure is a delightful yet odd Turkish sweet, and perhaps difficult for those unfamiliar with the dessert to understand. It fully represents the bounty of nature, made of boiled wheat grains plus a variety of pulses like chickpeas and beans, dried fruits like raisins, sultanas, currants, apricots, figs and finally nuts like walnuts, pine nuts and almonds. Though it sounds more health soup than treat, aşure is a legendary pudding that is surely worth exploring.

A history as legendary as Noah's Ark

Aşure also has a deep-rooted history, probably dating back to times when wheat was first cultivated in Upper Mesopotamia, near Göbeklitepe, Urfa. In Turkey, the legend of Noah’s Ark remains the most popular story surrounding the dish’s invention. As the legend goes, Noah and his followers, facing starvation, prepare one last meal with whatever sundry grains, pulses, dried fruits and nuts that are left on board. Upon sharing this last dish, a miracle happens; skies clear and the ark reaches ground. Clearing the ship’s pantry supposedly explains the unusual combination of staples. It also gives a clue to why, in rural Anatolia, the dish is also referred to as şükran çorbası or thanksgiving soup. The dish is a celebration of the miraculous salvation of the ark’s crew and represents a sign of community, peace and a bright new future. 

The celebratory significance of aşure is hidden in its indispensable main ingredient: wheat. The significance of wheat in Anatolian rituals is diverse. Since it was first cultivated, wheat has been a symbol of fertility, prosperity, birth, rebirth and growth in Anatolian civilizations. The Greek goddess Demeter is always depicted with a wheat stalk in hand, as are many other fertility goddesses of Anatolia, like her Hittite predecessor Kubaba and Roman successor Ceres, the mother of agriculture and grain crops. Celebratory wheat dishes, either sweet or savory, mark the seasonal changes and the rites of passage including birth, death and marriage. 

Aşure itself marks the first month of lunar Islamic calendar, the Muharrem. The name derives from the word ʿāshūrāʾ, which means tenth in Arabic, indicating the date on which it is traditionally prepared, the 10th day of Muharrem (celebrated on October 11 this year). This date also marks the tragedy of Kerbela, when the Prophet’s grandsons were killed, making it a day of mourning for Turkey’s Alevi Muslims. The first ten days of the Muslim New Year is reserved for fasting, and the tenth day is for feasting on aşure. 

Sharing with others is an important aşure ritual. It is always prepared in vast amounts and distributed to neighbors, friends and even strangers; thus there is always a bizarre pudding-traffic during the aşure period, the sweet concoction swapped continuously between neighbors. Armenians name the almost exact equivalent as anuş abur, which literally translates as sweet soup. No New Year table or Christmas is complete without a pretty bowl of anuş abur decorated with pomegranate. Pomegranates, another symbol of fertility and prosperity in Anatolia, is inseparable with both sweets, not as an ingredient but as a symbolic decoration to adorn the festive pudding with its jewel-like presence. 

Be merry around a wheat berry

Wheat appears in various other ways, always marking a certain day of the year, or a rite of passage. The Greek dead are waved farewell with koliva, a dry version of aşure, in hope for the rebirth of the dead. The joy of a first baby tooth in Turkey shared by diş buğdayı (tooth wheat), boiled and sweetened wheat berries that symbolize growth. In Turkic tradition, springtime is celebrated with a sweet paste made of sprouting wheat called sümenek, a potent potion acting like an aphrodisiac. The awakening of nature and flowering of fruit trees is celebrated with kofyas ( also called trigo koço by the Sephardic Jews in Tu b’shevat) which simply means cooked grain in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language. Unmarried Orthodox Christian girls seek fortune in sweet boiled wheat berry, berbara, on St. Barbara Day on December 4. And, no wedding is complete without the fertile dish of keşkek, a wheat and meat stew. 

Balkan, Eastern European, Russian and Caucasian practices are astonishingly similar. Kutya, kutia, vareno zitho, and gorgot are only a few to name among the wheat dishes or sweets that have either a significance with death, birth, or renewal. The variations on all these wheat dishes and related rituals are endless. One thing remains constant of the communities and cultures that take their roots from Anatolia. Regardless of religion or ethnicity, wheat stands for hope for the future and a profound belief in the renewal of the life cycles. 

Aşure is definitely about sharing. In that respect, the usual bowl of aşure in the pudding shop is worth another look. It might just be the time to take the toil of making a good batch of aşure, and share its prosperity. Its significance is fit for any time, from All Soul’s Day at the start of November, through to Christmas and New Year. With a good splash of rose water, topped with a handful of pomegranate seeds, it is the most festive pudding one can put on the table. 

Editor's note: The original article was published in the November/December 2016 issue of the magazine and has been reformatted in its online version.

What's in season: Pistachios

Minji Lee
November 13, 2017

As a fertile land with abundant agriculture, Turkey is the third-largest country for pistachio production. These green gems are gathered in the late summer months right before they reach their full blossom, when they are higher in iron and lower in fat. Fortunately for pistachio lovers, there is no specific season for eating them; you can enjoy pistachios as often as you wish on its own or incorporated into your favorite Turkish dish. In the future, you may even be able to heat your home with their shells — a nutty new form of renewable energy. 

What's a pistachio?

While most people call pistachios a nut, it is technically a drupe, or a type of fruit in which the edible seed is covered by a hard exterior coating. Like many other drupes, pistachios are packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals; when combined with legumes and dairy, it can give you all the essential amino acids for overall health maintenance.

Though pricey in other parts of the world, pistachios are plentiful and comparatively inexpensive  in Turkey. In 2015, the total number of fruit-bearing trees in Turkey stood at 40 million, or one pistachio tree for about every two people in this country. They are grown in more than 44 provinces around Turkey, mostly from southeastern Anatolia, particularly the cities of Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, and Siirt. 

Pistachio production is cyclical and depending on the climate, yields vary year to year. In 2013 and 2014, due to frost and drought in the main production regions in the winter and spring, the amount of pistachios harvested was lower than the expected average. Luckily, 2015 and 2016 had better harvests, and Turkey is looking to increase production with a project to plant more saplings in Şanlıurfa and Siirt. It is hoped more trees will reduce the impact of the climate and stabilize production.

Pistachios to baklava

Ask anybody who has lived in Turkey where to find the best pistachios and their answer will most likely be Gaziantep. They will also most likely rave about the city’s baklava, which uses Antep pistachios as a main ingredient. While other types of baklava use cinnamon and rosewater to enhance taste, pastry chefs in Gaziantep do not use additional fillings in the traditional treat. They use a simple blend of sugar syrup, filo pastry dough, butter, and crushed pistachio to make Turkey’s most famous dessert. 

If you are outside Gaziantep but have a craving for their sweet, there are many pastry shops in Turkey owned and ran by Gaziantep natives who bake their baklava the Antep way. You can choose many varieties of Antep baklava that come in all shapes and sizes. Havuç dilimi, or baklava in the shape of carrot slices, and bülbül yavusı, a type of baklava with a single pistachio in the middle of its nest-like shape, are two examples of a traditional Antep baklava.

No leftovers

Pistachios are not only used to add taste and depth to Turkey’s favorite treat. The Gaziantep metropolitan municipality partnered with a French environmental engineering firm to use pistachio shells as a source of renewable energy in the province. The calorific value, or the amount of heat produced by a food in its combustion process, of pistachios is extremely high. Given the large amount of leftover pistachio shells in the Gaziantep region, more than 55 hectares of buildings can be sourced with heating and cooling systems from this form of renewable energy. The municipality’s aim to build up Turkey’s first eco-city is taking slow steps toward becoming a reality. As of now, a pilot project in the form of a 320 meter ecohouse is underway. 

If the project gets approved, the entire 3,200 hectare area between Gaziantep and Kilis could be fueled by eco-friendly energy from pistachio shells. The next time you are cracking a pistachio, remember the versatile nature of this drupe.

 

Eat Antep-style in Istanbul

For an authentic taste of southeastern Anatolian cuisine, visit Develi in one of its three locations (Samatya, Kalamış, or Etiler) and try some of their speciality dishes, all made from ingredients sourced from the regions around Gaziantep. Try their house specialty, fıstıklı kebab, which includes crushed pistachios in the meat. Other specialties include ala nazik, Antep-style dried eggplant dolma, and kebab made with keme, the Gaziantep word for truffles. Open daily noon-midnight. Gümüşyüzük Sokak No.5, Samatya; T: (0212) 529 08 33

If you are craving a bite of baklava, visit Gaziantepli Baklavacı Bilgeoğlu and indulge in their classic pistachio kuru baklava, or an alternative, yet equally delicious, variety. Open daily 6am-9pm. Muvakkithane Caddesi No.56, Kadıköy; T: (0216) 336 00 49

 

Pistachio Pesto recipe by Aylin Öney Tan

Pistachios can be used not only in sweet dishes, but savory ones as well. The delicate sweetness of early harvest pistachios balances savory tastes, from juicy kebabs to tangy cheese mezze. Pistachios also make a perfect pesto as a substitute for pine nuts, and one does not need to add basil for the bright green color so iconic of a pesto sauce. The following pesto recipe gives the most intense pistachio taste, but if you prefer a flavor with herbs, add a handful of basil leaves or half a bunch of flat leaf parsley. Likewise, this pistachio pesto does not need cheese and can be made vegan. For cheese fans, add grated Parmesan or an aged sharp Turkish kaşar cheese directly on top of your pasta. You can also use this ingredient as a sauce if you play around with the amount of herbs and cheese varieties added. 

Ingredients
1 ½ cups early harvest raw (unroasted) shelled Antep pistachios
½ cup early harvest extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic 
½ teaspoon salt 

Preparation
Mix together pistachios, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and salt in a blender until smooth. If necessary, dilute the mixture with a spoonful of the cooking water from the pasta. Pour it over pasta and enjoy!

21st Istanbul Theater Festival

11 November

Departing from tradition, the Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation, or İKSV, will host its 21st Istanbul Theater Festival November 13-26, six months earlier than the festival’s usual timing. The shifted timing is a reflection of Istanbul’s rapidly expanding and increasingly competitive community of new theater productions, venues, and stages, and İKSV’s strong lineup is sure to make a lasting impact on the theater scene in the city. In addition to plays and dramas in 19 different venues throughout the city, there will be a number of film screenings, workshops, and panels that will accommodate the tastes of theater savants, inquisitive intellectuals, and lovers of arts and culture of all ages.

Groups such as the Swedish Arts Council, the Goethe Institute, and the French Cultural Center will add an international spark. Through the participation of various directors, playwrights, musicians, and other creative professionals from all around the world, participants will learn about the impact of theater in the art scene beyond Istanbul. This year’s festival will host six theater and dance ensembles from around the world and 12 plays from Turkey will make their debut onstage.

This year İKSV will offer selected festival events free of charge in a bid to welcome and attract as wide an audience as possible. As many of the festival’s venues have limited seating, be sure to browse the website often and make your reservations for specific shows in advance. Regular ticket sales for the festival are available for purchase through Biletix and at the İKSV main box office. Students can attend every paid event for the price of 10 TL.

With these changes in this year’s Istanbul Theater Festival, İKSV raises the bar for theater production in the city, inspiring local and international groups to push for more diversity, creativity, and motivation in the Istanbul arts and culture scene.

For more information visit www.tiyatro.iksv.org.

13 November

End Date: 

Sunday, November 26, 2017 - 11:30

Event Category: 

Event Website: 

Www.tiyatro.iksv.org

Ihsan Aknur: "The Best Taxi Driver"

Pelin Esmer
November 09, 2017

Before going viral on social media, speaking at a TEDX talk and squiring around the famous Anthony Bourdain for his show No Reservations, İhsan Aknur was just declaring himself “The Best Taxi Driver.” His charm and sense of humor caught the attention of many, and Pelin Esmer chatted with him about his work experiences, most memorable customers, and a job he considers perfectly suited for his personality.

Who is İhsan Aknur?

When İhsan Aknur was in high school, he envied the now vintage cars his older brother drove as a dolmuş driver, especially the Chevrolets used before the blue or yellow minibuses now seen bustling about the city. His father, however, had different expectations for his son. He wanted him to finish school and “be a man” as all Turkish fathers hope. But Aknur said to himself, “if my brother can do it, why can’t I?” and became a taxi driver of a different kind. He studied English and became bilingual. Every day during that year, he practiced what he learned in class with the tourists in Sultanahmet Square while waiting for his turn in the taxi queue. He would ask them the time, the date, where they come from and so on; now, seventeen years later, he speaks fluent English and can imitate different accents perfectly. 

İhsan Aknur has been working as a taxi driver in the Sultanahmet, and naturally, he’s heard many stories from tourist guides and read several travel books. That’s why he decided Istanbul was in desperate need of “the best taxi driver;” someone who could guide the tourists to a really good time by giving them the opportunity to see and explore parts of Istanbul never mentioned in the guide books.  “The best taxi driver” neither wants to be a professional guide nor own a tourism agency; he does not want to change his title. Aknur prefers to astonish the tourists as “a Turkish taxi driver who speaks several languages and who can talk about many different subjects including politics, economics, and social issues.”

The ride of your life

İhsan Aknur has a fantastic sense of humor. As soon as you’ve jumped into his cab, he finds something to talk about and immediately, you’re drawn to him like a magnet. He’s interesting and he’s got lots of stories to tell. Once you are in, he’ll pull out what looks like a volume of an encyclopaedia from under the seat. There are in fact, a total of ten, fifteen hardcover books resting in his car. He has acquired these throughout the years. The books are categorised according to the countries, regions or languages. One of them has only the writings of the Americans, the other one only the Mediterraneans, another one consists only of the Scandinavians.

Each volume is an incredible archive of photographs, diaries, impressions, greetings and memories of thousands of tourists he has driven around and guided for the past seventeen years. There is a long diary of an American professor, a Christmas picture of a big family, a big thank you from a German truck driver, and a love letter from a Finnish girl. There are also impressions about Turkish men (“they’re incredibly sensitive and kind” as some say), confessions of stereotypes about Turkish people, the usual appreciation of the “Turkish hospitality,” and more. He refers to these books in which everyone writer in their own language as his hobby. In fact, they are a collection of books which trace seventeen years of a man’s life. They also reflect how perception of people from different countries evolved over the years. Finally, if he sees confused tourists looking at maps, this typical conversation starts: 

“Where are you from?” 
“Holland.”
“Oh really? Can I please ask you a favor?”

Naturally, the tourists are a little surprised. They hesitate and nod their head up and down - universally accepted as a “yes.” He runs to his car and grabs a volume on Holland. He opens a page written by Marion, for example. There are many pictures of Marion and Aknur side by side. They look like they’re having a wonderful time. “I once met a person from Amsterdam. Can you please translate this page to me?” he says. 

The tourists read, translate and in the meantime learn about the wonderful experience that Dutchman has with the taxi driver. They get a little bit confused remembering all the warnings about the carpet sellers, free guidance, etc.

An off-the-beaten-path taxi tour

“I am not a carpet or a leather seller. I am ‘the best taxi driver,’ he adds. “If you want, I can give you a tour of Istanbul with my car. I have a specific route. We start from Süleymaniye Mosque, and then visit the Kariye Museum, explore the historical sites in Eyüp, have a cup of coffee in Pierre Loti and then drive to the Asian side of the Bosphorus and visit Beylerbeyi, a small fishing village, and Çamlıca. This is my tour and my price is such and such.” This is his spiel and it usually works. To Aknur, this means that he’s made his money for the day, but more importantly, it means that he’ll probably have new pages, new experiences added to his collections. 

After completing his tour, and if Aknur’s newfound friends are happy, he takes them to some Turkish pub (birahane) in Üsküdar or Yedikule where generally only the locals drink. He sometimes makes little changes in his tour, adopting it to different cultures. 

For example, Aknur states, “the Dutch like to spend money but at the same time they like anything that is free. If I am with Finnish tourists, i stop every hour for a beer break. The Italians like a good lunch, so we dress up and find a nice place to dine,” he explains. 

There’s no limit to his tours. They can be daily, weekly, or for as long as one likes. For this reason, he keeps a couple of scarfs and long skirts for his customers in case they visit mosques or some conservative parts of Turkey. 

Aknur's dream job 

Upon asking if he enjoys what he does for a living, he does not hesitate to state, “I cannot think of a better job for me.” Upon asking what's next for him, he has two answers. The first is sitting in the courtyard of the Eyüp Mosque as an old man. The second answer is to move to his house in Saroz in Çanakkale near Gallipoli. There, he plans to go fishing daily and write his autobiography. He envisions it as a story with different sections including “an exciting life, a conservative family, fun, joke, good husband, bad husband and good father.”

He wants to end the story like “a hero in the Western movies, coming back to his hometown where everything has changed and he is still striving for ‘the next.’”

 

Editor's note: This original story was published in the September 1999 print issue of The Guide Istanbul magazine and has been reformatted in its online version.

An American school on the Bosphorus: 150 years of Robert College

Joshua Bruce Allen
November 09, 2017

It may be surprising to many people today that the first continually running American college outside the US was founded in Istanbul, way back in 1863. Its birth was linked to major trends of the time, such as Western missionary activity in the Ottoman Empire. But there was also an element of coincidence: if philanthropist Christopher Robert had not travelled to Istanbul and seen a boat in the Bosphorus, this school might never have appeared, and perhaps the intellectual face of Istanbul and Turkey would have turned out differently. 

The History of Robert College

The boat had come from the bakery of Cyrus Hamlin, an American missionary based at the Bebek Seminary. One aim of this bakery, as well as feeding the poor, was to raise money for the establishment of churches. Christopher Robert asked about the boat and decided to visit Hamlin. Together they formed the idea of creating an American Christian college in Istanbul. Despite this religious emphasis, the college was open to all. In his memoir “Among the Turks,” Hamlin calls the college “a great success in gathering students from eighteen nationalities, from twelve languages, and from all the religions of the East.”

In its original form, Robert College was an all-boys’ school close to the seminary in Bebek. Meanwhile the American College for Girls was founded in Fatih in 1871, and by 1914 it had moved to Arnavutköy, close to Robert College. Following the spirit of the times, the two schools merged into a co-ed in 1971 on the Arnavutköy campus, keeping the name Robert College. The college’s first building in Bebek became the campus of today’s Boğaziçi University.

One of the reasons for these mergers and migrations was the school’s popularity, which forced it to find larger premises in the city. The refined families of the Ottoman Empire were eager to give their children a Western education with an emphasis on English-language tuition. And Robert College opened many doors in Turkey, creating the country’s first medical school for women and the first student council.

Alumni

A glance at the list of Robert College alumni is enough to understand parents’ enthusiasm: along with two Turkish prime ministers, two Bulgarian prime ministers, and one Nobel Prize winner, the college has fostered countless businesspeople, academics, writers, and scientists.

The most famous of these internationally is Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, whose memoir “Istanbul: Memories and the City” devotes a chapter to his time at the college. Although he paints himself as an outsider, as is the experience of many writers, Pamuk also admits, “I loved getting lost in the low-ceilinged labyrinths of the library built by the American secular Protestants who had founded the college, breathing in the pungency of old paper”.

But Pamuk was not the first Robert College alumnus to dazzle the nation with his literary talent. To take an early example, female student Halide Edib earned the Order of Charity from Sultan Abdülhamit II when she was only 15 years old, graduating from the American College for Girls in 1901. When Edib’s husband decided to take a second wife, she divorced him and wrote a novel about a woman who abandons her husband to live with the man she loves. Her pioneering of feminism among Ottoman woman coexisted with her support for Turkish nationalism. During the Allied occupation of Istanbul after World War I, Edib left to join the nationalist movement in Anatolia. Along the way she reached the rank of sergeant in the nationalist army and cofounded Anadolu Ajansı, which is still the state-owned press agency today. From 1950 to 1954, by which time she was in her 60s, she served as a member of parliament for İzmir, finally passing away in 1964. This remarkable figure left behind her a wealth of novels, stories, journalism, and memoirs, as well as a life story fit for a Hollywood film.

Celebrating the 150th year 

The college marked its 150th year in 2013, celebrating this milestone with an exhibition at the Istanbul Research Institute. Writer, translator, and Robert College alumnus Cem Akaş was the exhibition’s curator, and his book “Tepedeki Okul” (The School on the Hill) is set to be the first on the subject in Turkish. “I was a boarding student at Robert College from 1979 to 1986, and I can confidently say that it was more of a defining experience for me than university,” Akaş told The Guide Istanbul. “The facilities offered by the school were more modest in our day – though they were far above the average in Turkey – but the campus and library still occupy an unforgettable place in my mind. The physics, chemistry and biology labs were also very good, and I can say that I learned about scientific thought thanks to them.”

Akaş also sees a definite link between his school years and his current success in the literary world. “As for the English program, the literature curriculum went beyond language learning, which was satisfying for me. Robert College has been very helpful to me as a publisher, writer, and translator. I learned to be curious about disciplines there, and this made it easier for me to make different conceptual connections. Having such intimate contact with English also made many things easier in life.”

Another Robert College alumnus who made waves in the cultural arena is theater actor and director Haldun Dormen. Being part of an active theater group at Robert College was a source of support in his early ambitions. “I have a very nice memory of the play ‘Campus Follies’ from that time. We had a very harsh disciplinarian, Professor Allen. His discipline was superb, because he scared everyone stiff and when he got angry he would say, ‘You go home.’” But as Dormen explains, the strict professor was not without a sense of humor when on stage. “He was a fantastic hit. The boys were dressed in women’s clothes and singing the famous Andrew Sisters’ song, ‘I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time’. He came on stage and said ‘You go home,’ and of course there was wild applause. For a moment everyone thought it was real. That’s one of my favorite memories.”

Well-known for her cooking column in the Hürriyet newspaper, her television program “Mucize Lezzetler” (Miraculous Tastes), and the book “Refika’nın Mutfağı – Cooking New Istanbul Style”, Robert College alumnus Refika Birgül has made a successful career out of her passion for Turkish cuisine. For her, the college was a place of unparalleled learning both inside and outside the classroom. “When I think about Robert College, the first thing I see on closing my eyes is the wisteria on the main bridge at the entrance,” she told The Guide Istanbul. Birgül has also written about wisteria sherbet in her Hürriyet column. “It’s a drink whose smell captures those days, those feelings of first love, and has preserved them through my whole life.”

A common sentiment among Akaş, Dormen, and Birgül is the freedom and encouragement present in the college’s arts education. “Another memory is the theater. I prepared a 30-minute dance that actually shaped a lot in my life. I convinced 20 other students, and we practiced the whole winter, finally presenting a dance that showed an alternative theory of the earth’s creation,” she says. “The third thing I won’t forget is the art activities. Before I went to a state primary school and the teacher didn’t like anything I made. Then at Robert College I won the prize for development in art, which was given to one student each year. While students from other schools were playing cards or having fun at leaving time, we went to the art studio and made paintings or sculptures and spent hours in the darkroom, forgetting the time and missing the bus home.”

Although she notes that Robert College’s spirit of innovation sometimes runs counter to the mainstream in Turkey, Birgül has no doubts about its positive effects. “If I had another thousand lives in this country, I’d choose to study at Robert College every time. When I have children one day, God willing, I’ll do whatever I can to have them study there,” she says.

Every issue a new Istanbul: The Guide Istanbul cover artist Sedat Girgin

Joshua Bruce Allen
November 09, 2017

Since the March-April issue of 2014, a new and original piece of art has appeared on the cover of The Guide Istanbul, with each city vignette drawn by Sedat Girgin. The young illustrator not only creates whimsical visions of the city but is also an up-and-coming children’s book artist who is taking Turkey by storm. Sedat Girgin's imaginative drawings of Istanbul have a handcrafted look that reflects the old soul and new spirit of the city.

Meet the artist

“My first arts and design education was at fine arts lycée in Istanbul. I passed the practical exam for a place at the school, and that changed my life. Then I studied in the industrial design department at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University,” Girgin recalls. “In the meantime I had started drawing, and I met children’s authors and started doing illustrations for magazines. Then the Internet came along and I realized that ‘illustrator’ was an actual career.” 

The artist works from his home studio in Üsküdar, a district most famous for the iconic Maiden’s Tower. This is also one of the many landmarks that he transforms in his covers for The Guide Istanbul. But like any creative work, inspiration does not always come easily. “Galata Tower, Maiden’s Tower… Istanbul has a lot of iconic sights, but after a while you start going round in circles and the creative side becomes more difficult. So I try to make it more interesting by adding wit and humor. Once I’ve thought of the idea behind the cover then the rest is easier,” he says. In fact Galata Tower is one of Girgin’s favorite subjects, appearing on many of the covers: “I like the image of that stone tower on top of a chaotic pile of buildings.”

And at only 31 years old, Girgin has already illustrated more than 80 children’s books. His distinctive illustrations grace the pages of books such as the lauded Sefa the Lazy Fish by Tülin Kozikoğlu, recently included in the International Youth Library’s White Ravens Catalogue. After winning several awards in Turkey and abroad, Gigin is now a nominee for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Awards – the world’s most prestigious prize for children’s authors and illustrators.

The growing popularity of illustrations

The illustrator is also positive about the growing popularity of this art in Turkey, especially among young people. His success is certainly a light for them to follow. “The interest in illustration now is good because that’s how it will develop. The older generation of illustrators are very few and had a limited market. But it’s opening up now to more people,” he says. As for himself, Girgin identifies his art with a long and precious tradition. “Illustration is an art that appeals to more people [than gallery art], and it’s more comprehensible. But actually, we can think of Biblical paintings from the Renaissance as a kind of illustration. In fact, even cave paintings can go into that category – the cave artists used pictures to tell stories from their lives.”

Whether we’re admiring cave paintings from thousands of years ago or painted works about our beloved Istanbul and Turkey featured on our magazine cover, the power of illustration to transport us to new places of inspiration is certainly an ever-present feature in Girgin’s works.

Girgin's personal favorites 

Upon asking the illustrator about the favorite works he's contributed to The Guide Istanbul magazine, he states that his personal favorite so far is the March-April 2016 issue, which shows Galata Tower overgrown with flowers, like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. What could be more appropriate for the spring issue?

A second favorite is November-December 2014. This shows a street vendor pushing diners up a hill on top of his cart, reflecting the meyhane feature in the magazine.

Girgin told The Guide Istanbul about his cover for the magazine’s 150th issue, September-October 2016: “I made a little joke by drawing 150 stars that had fallen across Istanbul. The stars symbolize the ‘star spots’ that The Guide Istanbul writes about. At the same time it shows that every issue of the magazine is valuable like a star.”

November Events at Sahne Pulchérie

10 October

Sahne Pulchérie presents an exciting lineup of screenings and performances this upcoming month. Here's the lineup:

The award-winning French film "Séraphine,” which is about the touching and unexpected relationship between a German art collector and his servant, will be screened on November 4 with Turkish subtitles. This event is free.

The theater group BeReZe will present its play “Macbeth: Two nightmares,” directed by Doğu Akal, on November 11. Reservations for attending this play can be made by emailing tiyatrobereze[at]gmail.com.

Kirpi Tiyatro presents two performances of “Occident,” written by French author Rémi De Vos, on November 15 and 25. Seyyar Sahne brings Oğuz Atay’s "Dangerous Games" to the Sahne Pulchérie stage on November 17, as well as “Dear Shameless Death,” based on the novel by the same name by Latife Tekin, on November 24. 

All performances will start at 8:30pm. Tickets, which are available at regular and student fares, are sold online through Biletix for Kirpi Tiyatro's “Occident” and on Seyyar Sahne’s website for “Dear Shameless Death” and “Dangerous Games.” They can also be purchased at the door on the night of the showing starting from 6:30pm (cash only). You can also buy them at Lamelif, located right across from the high school (cash only). For more information on these performances and showings, visit the Sahne Pulchérie website here.

Sahne Pulchérie
04 November

End Date: 

Friday, November 24, 2017 - 20:30

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B002'03.3%22N+28%C2%B058'59.5%22E/@41.0342602,28.9810011,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.0342602!4d28.9831898

Event Website: 

http://www.sp.k12.tr/turkce/kultur-ve-sanat/profesyonel-etkinlikler/article/sahne-pulcherie-nin-programi

Event Address: 

Çukurluçeşme Sokak No.7 Beyoğlu

Event Places : 

5th International Bosphorus Film Festival

10 October

The 5th International Bosphorus Film Festival, taking place from November 17-26, will bring award-winning movie directors and their highly-anticipated work to Istanbul this year. Majid Majidi, one of the most regarded directors of Iranian cinema, will reveal his latest film, Beyond the Clouds for viewers, and Egyptian film director Amr Salam will present Sheikh Jackson. Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman and Indian movie producer Vibha Chopra are also a part of the festival event program.

This year’s program includes talks with directors and producers such as Béla Tarr and Boby Roth, as well as competitions in the categories of Best National Feature Film, International Feature Film, and Short Film in which directors, producers, and actors will receive grand prizes of up to 100,000 Turkish lira. Screenings will be held at Atlas, Beyoğlu, and Kadıköy cinemas, and festival tickets will be sold online, starting on November 2, on mobilet.com. For more information on film titles and the program schedule, visit www.bogazicifilmfestivali.com.

17 November

End Date: 

Sunday, November 26, 2017 - 14:45

Event Category: 

Event Website: 

http://www.bogazicifilmfestivali.com

Phone: 

0538 930 00 15

Hayata Sarıl Lokantası: Embracing life one meal at a time

Caner Kocamaz
October 27, 2017

Ayşe Tükrükçü has not had an easy life. She was a victim of sexual violence at the age of nine and her own husband forced her into sexwork at a brothel. Tükrükçü managed to get out, but she had to live on the streets for months and could not even take a shower for 38 days, eating what people left behind at McDonalds to survive. But she did not surrender to hopelessness, and she has now become a hope for others. While she was sleeping in hospital yards, one night at Taksim İlk Yardım, another at the German Hospital, she started being a sitter for patients to earn money. Then she moved on to washing dishes at restaurants, building herself back up from scratch. Tükrükçü managed to stand up on her own two feet, and with her project Hayata Sarıl Lokantası, intends to help others do the same.

Tükrükçü has not forgotten what she has gone through and how hard it was to survive on the streets. You might have heard of the charity project Çorbada Tuzun Olsun (Let You Have Salt in Your Soup). “Through Şefkat-Der, we started giving out soup for the homeless,” Tükrükçü explains. That is when she met Dilara Z. Moran and others who later joined Tükrükçü to realize her dream to give to those society chooses not to see. First came the Hayata Sarıl Derneği (Embrace Life Foundation), then its first project, Hayata Sarıl Lokantası (Embrace Life Restaurant). This project will not only assist people in need, but also give them the skills to help themselves. The homeless, former sexworkers, alcoholics—those who are ignored by the society, as Tükrükçü refers to them—will start working here to build themselves up and prepare for a career, just as she did. It is an opportunity for them to “regain the responsibility of their lives.”

Hayata Sarıl Lokantası is the first step into their second life. Mutfak Sanatları Akademisi (Culinary Arts Academy) is going to teach them kitchen basics. Melis Aran, the restaurant’s permanent chef, will provide guidance. “We are in touch with three or four people right now and we will arrange their initial accommodation,” says Moran, who is actively working on the project. But the support will last only until they are ready to stand on their own. With this restaurant’s name on their CV, they will bill be prepared to go out on their own and leave their space to other people in need. Prominent figures in the restaurant industry are ready to help as well. Istanbul’s leading chefs such as Maksut Aşkar, Şemsa Denizsel, Didem Şenol, and others have promised to contribute to the restaurant. Some of these chefs’ well-known dishes will be featured at the restaurant.

The district of Beyoğlu was specifically selected for the restaurant, as Tükrükçü explains, “It’s where the most homeless are. We are aware of Beyoğlu’s decrease in popularity, and if we can contribute to restoring it, we would also be glad,” Moran says. The restaurant is close to neighborhoods with old residents like Zencefil. “When you come here for us, revisit the classics around here,” Moran adds. Hayata Sarıl Lokantası will open its doors in November 2017. Tükrükçü will be there with her friends ready to help. “We are doing it, where are you?” Tükrükçü invites all of us to be a part of this noble act. Contributions can be as simple as eating at Hayata Sarıl Lokantası.  

This restaurant is Hayata Sarıl Derneği’s first project, and they plan to do more. You can provide direct support for the foundation with a monetary donation.

Hayata Sarıl Derneği
IBAN: TR 41 0004 6001 9888 8000 0862 11
Akbank Cihangir Şubesi 0198 0086211

For more information visit www.hayatasaril.org. 

Aquajog: High-intensity hydro fitness

October 26, 2017

As the end of summer nears in Istanbul, many of us are packing our swimsuits away. However, now is the perfect time to discover a new way to tone, sculpt, and strengthen your body--without leaving the pool. Aquajog®, a hydro fitness activity introduced in Turkey by Aqua Jog Club founder Gizem Çalışkan, will have you seeing the pool in a new perspective: as an all-in-one fitness center where you can train your body in ways other than simply swimming.

The metropolitan mindset that Istanbul locals have is rushing from one place to another, even hurrying through our gym workouts to squeeze in the next event on our agendas. Though this fast-paced movement may help burn a few hundred calories, it would be a stretch to call this a proper workout. As such, sometimes it may seem like we have no time for neither a proper workout nor for relaxation; however, aquajog is a new fitness sport that can give you the benefits of both in a single session. 

Aquajog is a hydro sport in which you can utilize a vertical training technique in water for a high-intensity, low-impact workout. “Everyone knows swimming, but many people don’t know you can do all kinds of sports in the water. You can walk, run, do squats and lunges, and even spin with aquajog,” says Gizem Çalışkan, the first and only licensed aquajog instructor in Turkey. After training with a physiotherapist from Switzerland for a few months, she obtained a license to teach her own aquajog classes in Turkey and to train other swimming instructors to do the same. Two years ago, she founded Aqua Jog Club, a platform through which she can teach others about the sport to promote knowledge of its benefits to others. 

Through her instruction, people can learn how to employ a vertical training technique, instead of a horizontal one through swimming, to challenge their bodies in new ways. Çalışkan teaches how one can use the resistance of the water, his or her own body weight, and a small flotation belt to get a workout that does not require as much machinery as what you may use at the gym. 

The pool as your treadmill 

It’s easy to get bored of the same cardio workout when training on a treadmill. If you replace the treadmill’s belt, buttons, and TV with an Olympic-sized pool, you can start to see the appeal of aquajog. “Meet your new running playground: the pool,” Çalışkan casually states before hopping into the pool to give her walking and running demonstrations. The arm and leg movements she demonstrates focus on sharp form and straight posture, which are components of a workout that are easy to forget about when doing the same treadmill routine. 

Unlike walking or running on a treadmill, which may only focus on cardio strength, aquajog is a sport that utilizes all muscle groups without the physical intensity of pounding your feet into a machine. Cardio, resistance training, and even weightlifting are exercises employed in aquajog. Since there is no body contact with the pool floor, no pressure is placed on the joints or muscles. With this said, aquajog is ideal for people who have joint problems or are undergoing physical rehabilitation. You can have a faster recovery time, as well as build endurance, which encourages more effective workouts both on land and in water. 

Anyone can aquajog

Aquajog is an ideal fitness activity for people of all age ranges and with all body types. Çalışkan trains her members according to their fitness goals. Whether you want to shed weight, build muscle, or rehabilitate your body, aquajog can help you do this in a more effective way than with dry land exercises. Aquajog is a great way for children to adopt increased flexibility and better posture, which is important for growing children. It is an ideal fitness sport for pregnant women, as it strengthens the pelvic and back muscles that are important for giving birth. It is an effective way for professional athletes to engage in recovery training through techniques involved in water rehabilitation. 

Benefits of aquajog

Aquajog teaches you how to control your breathing, which stimulates heart and lung health. It teaches you how to use proper form and how to stimulate your muscles while performing exercises, which improves posture and relieves body pains. It combines physical exertion and mental focus with rehabilitation, which results in an effective body workout with the added benefit of mental relaxation. Çalışkan’s aquajog classes teach its members about all of these benefits and more. As the maximum number of people per class is five, you can enjoy the advantages of aquajob through personalized lessons and customized fitness goals. The duration of each class is just one hour, but you can burn up to 800 calories in just a single class.

Whether you are a pro athlete, fitness enthusiast, or haven’t exercised in years, and whether you are someone undergoing physical therapy or someone just looking for a new activity, consider joining Aqua Jog Club as a new way to fulfill all your fitness goals. The next time you’re in a pool, think about your body’s potential to get healthier and stronger with a simple shift in perspective. Aquajog can help you get there. 

Sublime fragrance: The story behind roses of Anatolia

Jane Akatay
October 26, 2017

Hidden away in the scenic folds of the Taurus Mountains in southwest Anatolia lie the provinces of Isparta and Burdur. This is Turkey’s lake district: the rugged peaks, which form a spectacular divide between the Mediterranean coast and the central Anatolian plain, create an ideal agricultural environment. The warm summers and wet winters, together with the fertile soil, yield abundant harvests of fruit and vegetables. The area also has a well-deserved reputation for being the rose garden of Turkey; for some, it is regarded as the rose garden of the world.

It was back in 1891 that Müftüzade Ismail Efendi first planted damask roses, which he smuggled from the Rose Valley in Bulgaria, in this region of Turkey. His plan was to produce rose water and rose oil, which were delicately perfumed products that the Ottoman elite craved. Ismail Efendi knew this feat would not be easy to accomplish, as roses are as delicate as the scent they release. What he didn’t know was that, many years later, he would be remembered as the person who led the way in making Turkey one of the main rose oil producers in the world. 

126 years later, the descendants of his first batch of roses are still thriving. Ismail Efendi was spot-on in picking the perfect plot of soil with the right conditions for growing roses. In May and early June, gardens and fields are full of roses as they begin to blossom, and their exotic fragrance fills the air.

This abundance of roses means that Turkey is now one of the world’s major producers of precious rose oil. This oil is used by some of the most prestigious perfume houses when making their exquisite and expensive fragrances. Turkish rose oil is also used in beauty products. Rose oil is known to help reduce wrinkles with its high levels of vitamin A, which increases skin-cell turnover. Rose water, which is much more affordable than its oil counterpart, is on sale everywhere in Turkey, along with soap and beauty products made from this mild liquid. In addition to being used for beauty products, rose water has long been used in food and drinks. It is used to make Turkey’s famous lokum (Turkish delight), and rose petals can be used to make delicious jam.

The roses that are grown in the Isparta and Burdur provinces of Turkey are not your common rose that can be picked from any garden; they are rosa damascena, otherwise known as Damask or Anatolian Rose. It is the fragrant pink blooms from these bushes that contain the highest levels of valuable oils and are the most sought-after in the rose oil industry.

The journey of the rose

Perhaps for their beauty, fragrance, or a mixture of both, roses have captivated humankind for thousands of years. In Turkey and surrounding regions, the rose has been used for myriad purposes, such as for the preparation of natural medicines and for religious rituals. 

Archaeological discoveries prove that the rose has been used in the Eastern Mediterranean for thousands of years. There are rose fossils dating back 40 million years, and in the Middle East, the earliest historical records of roses are inscribed in 5,000- year-old Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets. The Hittites of Anatolia (1750-1180 BCE) used roses to make natural medicines. The rose became an important symbol in many countries, some of which include India, Iran, Syria, and Egypt, and it is often used in Islamic religious rituals in the present day. 

Ottoman history also boasts of the cultivation of roses on its lands. Edirne was a region of the Empire that had rose-water production sites. Rose cultivation took place in present-day Syria as well as within the borders of present-day Bulgaria. However, when Bulgaria separated from the Ottoman Empire in 1908, Turkish migrants who settled in Anatolia brought the rose cultivation tradition with them. 

Modern rose oil production

The process of cultivating roses for production in the present day is much more complicated than that of the Ottoman times. The 30 petals of the rosa damascena do not release their precious oil easily. Upon the release of these oils, it takes hard work to gather the petals from the harvest and process them for production. Özgür Özer, the marketing manager at a local rose manufacturing company, breaks down the numbers: in the Isparta, Burdur, and Afyon regions there are 2,000 hectares of roses. The total harvest, which takes place from May to June, is 6,500 tons of petals. These petals produce one ton of rose oil, eight tons of rose concrete, and two and a half tons of rose absolute.

As many as 10,000 families are involved in harvesting the roses, which is best done just after sunrise—between 5:30am and 10am—before the heat of the sun dries the dew. It is mostly women who harvest the blossoms, although some men are involved as well. Rose harvesters wear a sack, which is attached to their waists, and they work with both hands to snap off the flowers and throw them into their large sacks as they go. According to Özer, the amount collected per person per day is around 80-100 kilograms, and the harvest lasts for about 25 to 30 days. That’s up to 3000 kilograms of roses, or about 3.3 tons, that one rose harvester collects in one season!

Approximately four tons of petals produce one kilogram of rose oil. On a more simple scale, it takes 10,000 roses to make 5 milliliters of oil—the bottle would be smaller than your pinkie finger. In the current rose oil market, one kilogram of rose oil will set you back a steep 11,500 Euros! Nevertheless, the benefits of rosa damascena products, whether in oil or water form, are quite priceless. Knowing that they come from Anatolian lands makes the distinct subtly sweet rose aroma all the more special.

Denim: A Forever Fabric

Marzena Romanowska
October 26, 2017

The invention of the most functional fabric in the world, denim, is a result of a mistake. When the weavers from the French city of Nimes tried to reproduce the famous Italian-made cotton corduroy, they made an error in the dying process that resulted in a more durable fabric. The warp threads were dyed with indigo while the weft threads remained white, giving this fabric a unique look and texture that made it appealing for many. This fabric, found practical during the Gold Rush and put to work by Levi Strauss, began its international career that continues to the present day. 

Compared to more than a century-long history of blue jeans in the US, the Turkish leg of that story is relatively new, with its beginning marked by World War II. Negatively affected by the practical quality of denim fabric, Turks began to purchase second-hand outfits from American soldiers, quickly spreading international trends amongst themselves. Having observed the new fashion in France around the same time, Turkish entrepreneur Muhteşem Kot decided to introduce production of the fabric to Turkey. He founded the Kot brand in the 1950s and took his permanent place in local fashion history. Blue jeans are known in Turkish as “kot,” and this word has assumed a place in the official Turkish dictionary since 1973. 

Trying to follow the latest fashion trends, local vendors in Istanbul struggled to source the most current looks involving denim. In the 1970s, local students would buy worn items from foreign tourists for half of what they’d pay for the new items from Turkey. The best deals were offered by travelers from India, and this second-hand market, although thriving, wasn’t resulting in any major business deals, as both selling and buying parties were relatively poor. Rumor has it that one of the local restaurants, Yener Lokantası, used to offer free meals to Indian tourists who ended up making absolutely no money on selling their second-hand jeans  to Turkish students. Students who could afford the new items, would work on their fashionable look for hours, wearing the fabric out with pumice stones and bleach. 

Though chemical dyes are mostly used to dye denim today, in the past, natural indigo dye was more commonly used due to local knowledge of traditional carpet weaving. The threads were colored entirely with dyes obtained from leaves and roots of various local plants. The recipes used for these dyes were personal; therefore, use of the same material by different dyers resulted in variant tones, which were further affected by factors such as soil type or local microclimate. Aytaç Kot, Muhteşem Kot’s son, remembers the dye used in the Kot factory was so intense that the company had no choice but to focus on producing only one type of fabric, with everything within the facility being painted blue. The company’s first advertisements advised their customers to wash their denim trousers in seawater in order to preserve the colors and shapes. 

From past to present 

Today, Turkish production of denim takes approximately 7% of the world market and equals more than 30% of the entire local woven fabric production. When browsing through blue jean designs in international chain stores such as Levi's, H&M, Zara, Benetton, Dolce & Gabbana, Guess, Calvin Klein, G-Star, Lee, Mavi, or Wrangler, despite the varieties on offer, the fabric used to make them most likely comes from Turkey. 

The sudden boom of local denim production is related to the position of the Turkish textile industry in the world. Due to special qualities of its fiber as well as its production volume, Turkish Aegean cotton is considered to be one of the best and most accessible in the world. With its long-staple fiber, designers such as French brand A.P.C. choose to highlight the natural shine and strength of the fabric in certain designs. Large international manufacturers closely work with denim mills to achieve the product they are looking for from the start. This involves choosing the right yarns, dye shades, and type of selvedge. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each mill, designers also tend to focus on specialized production sourcing materials for only certain type of products. For example, Isko is well-regarded for its stretch fabric. 

Today’s denim production is not only about competitive price and ability to deliver using the latest technologies. Independent designer brands look to collaborate with manufacturers who use organic products and implement good practices in their everyday operations, both in the manufacturing process and in work conditions. Following this line of production, ISKO joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition; Bossa, which does manufacturing for brands such as G-Star Raw, Topshop, and 7 For All Mankind, launched a collection with aims  to reduce its use of water; Calik Denim, known for its sustainable practices, has been awarded the European Business Award in 2016.

Seven wonders of Istanbul: Discovering the hills of the old city

Joshua Bruce Allen
October 26, 2017

“Time weaves a tapestry over the seven hills! From seven colors, seven sounds, numberless signs,” so wrote Turkish poet Necip Fazıl Kısakürek. Most Istanbul residents will recognize this reference to seven hills, but few can say where they actually are. The clue is in the date: it was the Byzantines who first built on these hills, emulating the seven hills of Rome. Therefore, they must be on the historical peninsula known today as Fatih. 

Six of the seven hills are along the coast of the Golden Horn, so you can get a good idea of their placement by climbing Galata Tower and looking south. The Byzantines crowned these hills with churches, palaces, and forums. After the conquest of 1453, the Ottomans set about replacing them with mosques. So turn your eyes to the tip of the peninsula, where the most historic of these hills casts an imperial eye across the sea to Asia.

The first hill: Topkapı Palace

This hill became the nucleus of what is now Istanbul when Greek settlers arrived here in around 650 BCE. The defensive advantages of being on a hill surrounded by water on three sides made this spot ideal for their fortified town. Emperor Constantine had his Great Palace built on the same grounds when he declared the city the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 CE. This palace was already in ruins by the time the Ottomans arrived in 1453, but Sultan Mehmed II saw the site’s potential and had Topkapı Palace built there three years later. This remained the seat of the Ottoman dynasty until 1865, when Sultan Abdülmecid moved to Dolmabahçe Palace. From the first Greeks to the last Ottomans, this hill was the city’s political center for around 2,200 years.  

The second hill: Çemberlitaş

Moving farther up the Golden Horn along the modern-day tramway line, you come to the large column called Çemberlitaş, or the Column of Constantine. It originally stood at the center of a large forum and supported a statue of Emperor Constantine. The Ottomans gave this hill its distinctive silhouette with the eighteenth-century Nuruosmaniye Mosque, whose name means “light of the Ottomans”. Drawing on French baroque styles for its architecture, this was the first Ottoman mosque to show strong European influence. The nearby Beyazıt Tower, now on the grounds of Istanbul University, takes advantage of the hill and offers a magnificent view.

The third hill: Süleymaniye Mosque

Designed by master architect Mimar Sinan in the sixteenth century, Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the finest buildings in the classical Ottoman style. Marble elements were recycled from the old hippodrome near Hagia Sophia and from ancient ruins in İzmit to speed up the mosque’s construction, which lasted almost 10 years. From the outside, the mosque is a giant dome ringed by bubble-like, smaller domes of varying heights. Looking up from inside, you feel the dome stretching above into infinity, supported on four triangles that open into two lower domes on the left and right. This harmony of intricate forms trickles downward through stained-glass windows, striped arches, columns with muqarnas capitals, and İznik tiles around the central mihrab (prayer niche).  

The fourth hill: Fatih Mosque

In the Byzantine era, this was the site of the Church of the Holy Apostles, the city’s second most important church after the Hagia Sophia. It is thought that this was also the Byzantine imperial burial ground. Several sarcophagi from the church are preserved on the grounds of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. Serving as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch for a few years after the Ottoman conquest, it was then demolished to make way for Sultan Mehmed II’s imperial mosque. This was the first Islamic complex of its kind in the city, with schools, medical centers, a library, and a hammam. Mehmed II’s tomb is next to the mosque, along with many impressive graves of Ottoman writers, soldiers, and diplomats. 

The fifth hill: Yavuz Selim Mosque

Standing prominently in the Balat neighborhood, this hill is the closest to the Golden Horn. The nearby Ecumenical Patriarchate building, Fener Greek High School, and the many churches and synagogues dotting the neighborhood show that this was mainly a non-Muslim area until quite recently. On the peak stands Yavuz Selim Mosque, built on the orders of Sultan Selim I, nicknamed “Selim the Grim” for his harsh tactics in warfare. The architect was an Azeri named Acem Ali who was brought back from Tabriz after Selim’s successful campaign against the Persians.

The sixth hill: Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

The highest point of the peninsula, this hill sits beside the Theodosian Walls that contain the old city. Its crown is Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, built by Mimar Sinan for the only daughter of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. The building’s beauty comes from its thin, graceful construction, with no bulky pillars or balconies. Rows of small, stained-glass windows make a play of colored light across the prayer hall. Be careful not to confuse this with Istanbul’s other Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, which is across the Bosphorus in Üsküdar.

The seventh hill: Koca Mustafa Paşa and Cerrahpaşa
 
This hill is the only one located closer to the Sea of Marmara than the Golden Horn. It is home to several historic mosques, including Koca Mustafa Paşa Mosque, whose origins are in the sixth century CE church of Saint Andrew in Krisei. Despite the entirely Turkish exterior, Byzantine columns and walls are still visible inside. A short distance away is Cerrahpaşa Mosque, which palace doctor Cerrah Mehmet Efendi commissioned to a pupil of Mimar Sinan in 1593. Intricate muqarnas top the mosque’s entrance door while more of this stonework outlines the lower domes inside. The marble minbar is particularly notable for its geometric grillwork.

Vakko Patisserie Petit Four: Elegant French pastry

Presenting a lifestyle for over 80 years, Vakko has long been more than only fashion. It has added a new facet to that lifestyle, bringing the elegance of the French pastry experience to Istanbul in the form of Vakko Patisserie Petit Four at the Akmerkez Shopping Center in a chic extension of this centuries-old tradition of urban social life. Vakko Patisserie Petit Four offers a chic and authentic French patisserie experience with pastries prepared by some of the best in the world, leaving lasting memories and reminders of life’s little pleasures. Of course, the draw for any patisserie is its pastries, and award-winning French Pastry Chef Ghislain Gaille’s elegant presentation of his delectable creations are a reminder of why French pastries are famous the world over. Gaille produces these delicacies under the supervision of Philippe Chatelain, who was awarded the prestigious title Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) for pastry making, which is only bestowed on the best proprietors of their respective industries. The unrivalled pastry menu includes such mouthwatering and visually amazing offerings as the Opera—prepared with biscuits, almonds, and coffee-flavored chocolate—mille-feuille, forêt noire, tarte aux fraises, choco-vanille, and éclair au chocolat, café, and other flavors, all of which will leave a lasting impression and create delightful memories not soon to be forgotten.
 
Vakko Patisserie Petit Four does not only serve up dazzling pastries though. It also offers breakfast and lunch options. For breakfast, you can sit and enjoy the morning in continental style with a croissant and steaming freshly brewed cup from Vakko Coffee Atelier. The special, proprietary blend includes beans gathered from Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and India, which are then roasted in Italy, and ultimately prepared by the patisserie’s veteran Italian barista, Steve Salomoni’s expert hands, creating a truly international blend, perfectly complementing the artistic morsels on your plate. Lunchtime has more savory options that include soups, salads, and sandwiches on offer—the perfect thing for a satisfying meal. The most exciting time at Vakko Patisserie Petit Four, however, is the daily Teatime, served from 3pm–6pm. Whether you opt for the selection of teas from Vakko Tea Atelier, a coffee or espresso drink, or throw a little more caution to the wind and indulge with a flute of champagne, with petit fours at your fingertips, a little late-afternoon revelry is in store.
 
All of these epicurean delights are found amid the welcoming and chic atmosphere of Vakko Patisserie Petit Four’s luxurious, French-inspired architecture where the best of French pastry is combined with Vakko’s elegance, staying true to the French patisserie tradition of offering only the finest in presentation and flavor. So, whether starting the day with a classic breakfast, enjoying a leisurely lunch break away from the office, a late afternoon tea or some bubbles, or popping in to treat your sweet tooth any time of day, the elegant fare, both sweet and savory, presented with care and to the highest standards amid its authentic atmosphere, Vakko Patisserie Petit Four is a little piece of France in Istanbul that will leave lasting memories of sumptuous delights and life’s many pleasures. 
  • Etiler

Type: 

  • Bakery
10:00am - 10:00pm
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Akmerkez Shopping Center, Adnan Saygun Caddesi No.3, Etiler

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Boza and şıra: Not-so-innocent drinkables of the Ottoman kitchen

Aylin Öney Tan
October 26, 2017

Food fermentation is a culinary trend around the world, and for good reason. In certain foods, the process of converting carbohydrates and sugars can not only create bacteria-boosting agents but also release small amounts of alcohol. Boza and şıra, fermented drinks quite common in the Ottoman kitchen, are no exception in this process.

Though present-day Turks may not place boza and şıra on the same level as beer or wine, they might be surprised to learn about the similarities between alcoholic beverages and their innocent-looking substitutes. Boza and şıra are traditional drinks from the Ottoman times with a complex history. As alcoholic drinks were not allowed in the Muslim religion, these two beverages, though containing tiny amounts of alcohol from the fermentation process involved in their production, were not regarded as alcoholic. Even children were allowed to enjoy a glass or two of these drinks without a worry. However, boza and şıra are not as innocent as one may think. As long as there is fermentation involved in starches of cereal used to produce boza, or in sugars of grape juice used to produce şıra, the end product includes a low percentage of alcohol content. This low percentage may not be so innocuous if the fermentation process continues. In learning more about boza and şıra, we begin to see how these innocent drinkables have been enjoyed–sometimes even in excess–from the Ottoman times to the present day.

Boza, the proto-beer

If you have never tried boza before, imagine drinking a soured soupy pudding with a slightly pungent yet addicting taste. Just like some of us crave a glass of cold beer when the summer comes around, you’ll crave the texture and taste of boza once winter is on the way.

Boza is considered to be an ancient type of beer, dating back to the time period of the Sumerians, Egyptians, and Hittites. Though the Ottomans insisted that boza was safe to drink, rumor has it that the word “booze” originates from boza. In the Ottoman times, boza with a notoriously high alcohol content, which was called mırmırık boza or Tatar boza, was sold in drinking holes called bozahane, which is roughly translated to booze houses or taverns.

Regular customers at a bozahane were sailors, porters, muleteers, laborers and other working class people. The bozahane was definitely not a place for the elite. A story goes that the great Ottoman travel writer Evliya Çelebi was overwhelmed with shame when he accidentally walked into a bozahane in Ankara and was surprised at its resemblance to a sleazy bar. Needless to say, Tatar boza was subject to prohibition from time to time, though with little effect. Still, drinking boza was tolerated to a certain extent, as it was never categorized as booze. The popular belief was that boza gave enormous strength to the drinker. It may have even given him  a sense of empowerment!

Boza is made by fermenting millet, barley, wheat, bulgur, rice, or a combination of these grains. Unlike beer, boza is opaque and quite thick in consistency; it can often be as thick as pancake batter. In the process of making boza, a considerable amount of sugar is added to the mix. Boza bears a sweet and sour taste, which becomes more sour if left to ferment longer. The fermentation, and the potential for higher alcohol content, becomes uncontrollable in warm climate. This is why its consumption is restricted to the cold months.

Şıra, the fermented grape juice

When warmer weather rolls around in the spring, boza season is officially over, and şıra season begins. Şıra is made by fermenting grape juice, but the fermentation process is stopped before the sugars–most of them, at least–are converted to alcohol. Depending on the degree of fermentation, şıra can be cloyingly sweet if the fermentation is minimal, or it can be a bit sour and less sweet if it ferments for a longer period of time. The ideal sip of şıra leaves a fizzy and refreshing taste on your tongue, just like a summer wine cooler. One can easily say that şıra replaced wine on Muslim dining tables of the Ottoman Empire. Just as with wine, there are elaborate varieties of şıra that can be found in different regions of Turkey. One such example is the Hardaliye of Kırklareli in Thrace, where the fermentation is stopped by adding mustard seeds and cherry leaves to the grape juice. With a complex flavor coming from the sharp bite of the mustard seeds along with the faint bitterness of cherry leaves, this special type of şıra was Atatürk’s favorite.

Safe for consumption?

In present-day Turkey, the type of boza safe for drinking is called tatlı boza (sweet boza). The other type, ekşi boza, is regarded as a lowly drink, and was often sold in grungy shops frequented by drunkards in the past. Needless to say, we recommend the former, not the latter. Interestingly, the benefits of tatlı boza are high. It is traditionally given to lactating mothers to increase milk flow, and some might argue that is can help with postpartum depression due to its sugary, starchy, slightly boozy content. In addition, boza is usually served with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, which may help regulate and lower insulin levels.

Unlike the two different types of boza, şıra is typically safe for drinking, though we recommend drinking it in moderation due to the high fructose concentration. While tatlı boza is typically consumed by itself except for the occasional nibble of leblebi, or roasted chickpeas, şıra is a classic accompaniment to kebabs, just like one would have wine with steak. The original Iskender Kebap restaurant in Bursa makes its own şıra from the dried black grapes of Manisa that have been aged in mulberry casks.

The old wisdom is that leblebi is always good with booze, as in the case of the rakı-leblebi pairing. Since we know that boza is always served with a small portion of leblebi, this gives us the hint that the Ottomans surely knew what they were drinking. What they were drinking was not as innocent as they feigned it to be–they simply preferred to see the sober side of the matter. One Turkish saying goes, “bozacının şahidi şıracı,” which translates to “the witness of  the boza maker is the şıra maker.” Alas, neither is as trustworthy as we may think!

Baba Sahne: Şevket Çoruh continues Istanbul's theater legacy

Zeynep Ardağ
October 26, 2017

The arts and culture scene on the European side of Istanbul has lost some of its luster with the closing of the Atatürk Cultural Center in 2008; this has led to the rise of arts and culture, theater in particular, on the Asian side of the city. The district of Kadıköy became the new theater hub, and it is now the home of a newly opened theater, Şevket Çoruh’s Baba Sahne. The story of Baba Sahne is one of passion, drama, and hope for a bright and successful future.

A priceless passion

Şevket Çoruh always dreamed of having his own theater. He stumbled across a special building two years ago in central Kadıköy. Despite its dilapidated state, he knew right away that he had found the perfect place to start his theater. The history of this building was appealing for him, and it inspired him to continue the theater tradition it once represented. It was originally constructed as a theater by actor Yıldırım Önal in 1967. In later years, it continued to be used by other famous actors such as Abdurrahman Palay, Nezih Tuncay, Ani and Çetin Ipekkaya, and Zafer Diper. However, it was transformed into a cinema in the 80s, and it was used as an arcade in the 90s. Thus, the building slowly deteriorated over the years, having lost its spotlight as a space for actors and audiences to gather and enjoy theater together.

Çoruh was passionate about bringing this theater back to life; however, he was met with financial difficulties. Upon discovering the building in its ruined state, Çoruh did not hesitate to sell his house, his 1966 model Mustang, and his Thunderbird to purchase the building and begin major repairs. As a memorable gesture of celebration, he finalized the deal on March 27, 2015, which is also known as World Theater Day. However even after finalizing the deal, his work had barely begun. Though Çoruh searched for sponsors to fund the construction work to refurbish the building, he could not find many people willing to help, as spending money on arts and culture is not a common practice in Turkey. In the end, he received a bank loan and sought help from his friends. “This theater was built without getting funding from any corporation or organization, instead, only with the support and contributions made by friends, relatives, and colleagues,” Çoruh told The Guide Istanbul. He has this exact statement carved onto a plate that is hanging on the wall of the theater’s foyer, emphasizing his appreciation for receiving support from friends and colleagues who supported his pursuits. Although some news websites claim that the overall amount to build Baba Sahne cost 17 million TL, Çoruh states those numbers are exaggerated and are not true. When asked the actual price of the theater, Çoruh refuses to share this information, instead explaining, “This is an art house, not a trade firm. You cannot put a price on the sweat and effort that we have devoted to building this place in just two years from scratch. The only thing the public should be aware of is how much love and effort has gone into founding this theater.” Knowing that he sold his belongings, cleared out his savings, and took out a bank loan for the purpose of transforming a ruined building into a vibrant center is enough to understand just how much he sacrificed to create his dream theater.

A sneak peak inside Baba Sahne

Upon entering the theater, you walk through a passage where the walls are decorated with photos of legendary Turkish actors and actresses from past and present. Walking through this corridor is like entering into a Turkish cinematic history time tunnel. There is one headshot hanging on the wall that is more eye-catching than the others. It is a photo of Savaş Dinçel, the acclaimed actor who passed away ten years ago, who Çoruh refers to as his mentor. In dedicating this theater to Dinçel, Çoruh set the date of the grand opening as April 1st, which would have been Dinçel’s 75th birthday. The theater was named Baba Sahne, or “Father Stage,” and Çoruh intends for it to be used as a safe space for all actors. “We named our theater Baba Sahne in order not to feel orphaned,” Çoruh stated. He further defined the Turkish word baba (father) as someone who cares, who provokes, who intervenes, who protects, who is missed when he is not around. “A stage is like a father for all the actors. If an actor doesn’t have a stage to perform on, he is like a child without a father,” Çoruh explained. Therefore we named our stage Baba Sahne, so we have a father to protect us at all times.”

Passing down the theater legacy

On the opening night of Baba Sahne, Çoruh’s predecessors showed their appreciation for his work by rewarding him with the fez of Ismail Dümbüllü, who was a renowned actor of traditional Turkish theater. The fez is considered an important and prestigious symbol that is only given to actors that have made great contributions to theater. It can be likened to a heritage that can only be passed down through generations. Upon receiving the gift, Çoruh humbly stated, “It was a big surprise for me to receive the fez on opening night. I am very thankful. But I don’t consider this as a present which is given only to me personally. It is dedicated to Baba Sahne and to all my actor friends here.” When speaking about the completion of the theater, Çoruh humbly says, “I am not the first person to accomplish this.” Yıldız Kenter, the prima donna of Turkish theater, built a theater from scratch in 1968; Ferhan Şensoy renovated a historical stage dating back to 1885; Müjdat Gezen bought an old pavilion in Ziverbey, had it renovated, and turned it into an art school. “I am just following in the footsteps of my predecessors and role models. We must show the same courage and continue the legacy,” Çoruh stated.

Present-day productions

Baba Sahne started its repertoire in April with its first play entitled Aşk Ölsün (Let Love Die), which was written by Murat Ipek and directed by Barış Dinçel. Later, it released Bir Baba Hamlet (A Father Hamlet), a production that Çoruh himself starred in. In addition to these productions, Baba Sahne has hosted other events, such as concerts for famous Turkish singers Nükhet Duru, Leman Sam and Bülent Ortaçgil. A number of Çoruh’s mentors, such as Müjdat Gezen, Ferhan Şensoy, Genco Erkal and Demet Akbağ, have also produced their plays at Baba Sahne to show their support for the new theater. Baba Sahne had a successful start in the first three months following its opening. In recent weeks, Baba Sahne has reopened its doors for the fall and winter season with productions Aşk Ölsün and Bir Baba Hamlet, along with new plays and events added to the calendar. With Çoruh’s passion motivating the continued success of Baba Sahne, theater in Istanbul continues to live on.

Vega in Istanbul

10 October
9:00pm - 11:00pm

One of the most beloved local rock bands since the 1990s, Vega has captured its fans’ hearts with their hits such as “Tamam Sustum”, “Bu Sabahların Bir Anlamı Olmalı”, and “Alışamadım Yokluğuna”. After taking a long hiatus, Vega is promoting its new album with a country-wide tour, stopping by Istanbul on select dates in November.

DasDas
24 November

End Date: 

Friday, November 24, 2017 - 23:00

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Event Website: 

http://dasdas.com.tr/

Vega in Istanbul

10 October
10:30pm - 12:00am

One of the most beloved local rock bands since the 1990s, Vega has captured its fans’ hearts with their hits such as “Tamam Sustum”, “Bu Sabahların Bir Anlamı Olmalı”, and “Alışamadım Yokluğuna”. After taking a long hiatus, Vega is promoting its new album with a country-wide tour, stopping by Istanbul on select dates in November.

Salon IKSV
04 November

End Date: 

Saturday, November 4, 2017 - 23:30

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39th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon

10 October
9:00am - 3:00pm

The most-anticipated marathon in Turkey and the only one in which runners can cross the Bosphorus Bridge by foot, the 39th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon will take place on November 12. Since its initiation, athletes from all over the world have joined local runners to cross the Bosphorus Bridge together, promoting a spirit of peace and unity throughout the race. Well-known athletes such as Ian Thompson and Terry Mitchell have participated, as have many Turkish athletes who then went on to run at international races. During the race, participants are encouraged to enjoy the experience without earphones and to spend their time talking with fellow runners. 

Partake in this exciting experience with thousands of other people, whether for eight kilometers or for the full marathon. Late registration is available at the Eurasia Performing Arts Center on November 9-11. Registration for the “Fun Run” will start on October 30 in all major Istanbul squares and sports facilities.

To join the countdown until marathon morning, visit istanbulmarathon.org.

12 November

End Date: 

Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 15:00

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Event Website: 

https://www.maraton.istanbul/

Kurt Bullend's solo exhibition: I Am You

10 October
11:00am - 7:00pm

Çağla Cabaoğlu Gallery hosts painter Kurt Bullend’s first solo exhibition, entitled I Am You, from November 4 to December 7. The hyper-realistic female figures in his work bring out topics such as ego-innocence and perceptions and distortions of reality. His characteristic hyper-realism art style seeks to remind viewers about the essence of our existence when society’s rules are imposed and interpreted as real.

Çağla Cabaoğlu Gallery
04 November

End Date: 

Monday, December 18, 2017 - 19:00

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Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B002'53.1%22N+28%C2%B059'34.8%22E/@41.048082,28.9908173,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.048082!4d28.993006

Event Website: 

http://caglacabaoglu.com/

Phone: 

(0212) 291 37 91

Event Address: 

Abdi Ipekçi Caddesi No. 49/8

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Frenk Karaköy

It might be difficult to keep track of new places at the ever-changing Kılıç Ali Paşa Mescidi Sokak, but Frenk Karaköy, despite its petite size, caught our attention with its elegant decor. This venue has a limited seating area, as only about half a dozen little tables are spread out between the small indoor space and in front of the restaurant. However, for those who want to pick up a light lunch in a compact yet classy space, this restaurant offers just that. Focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients, the menu gives this place an advantage with few competitors in the area. With crisp mücver among several items on offer done just right, this restaurant is up for Karaköy’s test of time.

(0212) 243 78 46
  • Karaköy
11:00am - 11:00pm
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Kılıç Ali Paşa Mescidi Sokak No.24

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  • Cash and credit card

Halet-i Ruhiye

The new face of Arnavutköy’s nightlife, Halet-i Ruhiye, has become one of the most crowded spots in the neighborhood within just a few days of its opening, just like it was the case with its owner’s previous project, Efendi. Kıvanç Kasar’s new bar boasts a creative cocktail menu, which is the craftsmanship of mixologist Uğur “Dede” Tekebaş. Some of the drinks on offer at Halet-i Ruhiye may seem familiar to frequent visitors of the Nişantaşı location, but most will agree that this is a positive attribute of the place. The name of this bar, which translates from Ottoman Turkish as “state of mind,” suggests a historical reference that is reflected in the venue’s decor details. These details, in addition to the drink offerings, reflect an ambiance of elegance at this fresh cocktail bar.

  • Arnavutköy

Type: 

  • Bar
12:00pm - 2:00am
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Bebek Arnavutköy Caddesi No.83

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B.BLOK Restaurant

 

Though a small hole-in-the-wall type of place on Akaretler's main street, B.BLOK is already a minor legend around the neighborhood, with one item on the menu you would not want to miss for the world: their creamy cheesecake. With vanilla notes immersed in the dessert’s smooth texture, and the ever so lightly toasted top layer, this simple treat might soon become Istanbul’s number one favorite. While their cheesecake is by far what sets this restaurant apart from the others, they also have a wider selection of dishes, from Turkish breakfast to bagels, that are scrumptious as well.

 

(0212) 258 31 49
  • Akaretler

Type: 

  • Bakery
11:00am - 9:00pm
Monday
Saturday

Address: 

Şair Nedim Caddesi No.35, Akaretler

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A single portion of B. Blok's creamy, sweet and salty cheesecake

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Odun Pizza

Od + un, fire and flour, make Odun Pizza, a newly opened restaurant in Reşitpaşa with a concept so simple and dishes so tasty you will undoubtedly leave satisfied and happy. The pizza dough, which is fermented for two days and then baked at 400 degrees in a wood-fired oven, is prepared in a unique way that gives this pizza heightened taste. The natural flavors from the flour are preserved and a slight bitterness of the fermented dough comes through with each savory bite. Part Italian, part Turkish, this restaurant offers a fusion of foods that owners Can Ünsal and Suat Palpas carefully selected to highlight the creativity of their restaurant. Start with a few of their specialty pizzas, such as the artichoke and asparagus with Bergama tulum cheese for veggie lovers and the kokoreçli (grilled lamb intestines) or duck confit pizza for meat lovers. If you would like more of a traditional Italian meal, the pesto ravioli is an ideal dish to share. The chocolate profiterolewarm cream puffs sitting on a bed of dark chocolate syrupis a must. Odun Pizza also offers takeaway service so you can enjoy their dishes anytime with ease and comfort. Open Tuesday-Saturday 1pm-10:30pm, Sunday 2pm-9:30pm, closed on Monday.

(0212) 229 03 92
https://pizzaodun.com/
  • Reşitpaşa
1:00pm - 10:30pm
Tuesday
Sunday

Address: 

Tuncay Artun Caddesi, No.4

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Lara's Gourmet Burgers

While today restaurants servicing light and healthy dishes alongside green smoothies and detox juices are in trend, sometimes we still need a hearty, freshly cooked burger. One of the newest spots in Ortaköy, Lara’s Gourmet Burgers, is looking to fill this role. The restaurant was created by celebrity photographer Lâra Sayılgan and is a cozy little eatery offering comfort food’s finest. While VIPs are attracted to the place due to Sayılgan’s reputation and network, Lara’s Gourmet Burgers is not just for people watching. Come to be satisfied and try something new. The menu includes several choices for toppings on the burger. Lara’s signature burger is the one with an extra layer of pastırma, while chef’s specials include grilled vegetables, extra cheese options, and signature sauces.

(0212) 327 27 58
http://laras.com.tr/
  • Ortaköy
12:00pm - 9:00pm
Monday
Sunday

Address: 

Eski Bahçe Sokak No.16

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Hanefi Yeter Retrospective: "Ere"

10 October
10:00am - 7:00pm

From October 31-December 16, ​İş Sanat Kibele Art Gallery will host the retrospective exhibition of Hanefi Yeter's 50-year art journey. Hanefi Yeter, who began his art education in 1967 at the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts and has been practicing in Germany since 1972, has produced artwork with a focus on the city, which also began to incorporate human figures in later years. Influenced by events such as the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, Chernobyl, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hanefi Yeter's artwork is both light-hearted and grim, personal and political. This exhibition, "Ere", features a collection of paintings, sculptures, and ceramic artifacts of this important artist. 

Kibele Sanat Galerisi
31 October

End Date: 

Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 19:00

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Event Website: 

issanat.com.tr

Event Address: 

Iş Kuleleri, Büyükdere Caddesi, Levent

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Mixer exhibitions: "Upside Down" and "Sense of Movement"

10 October
6:30pm - 8:30pm

From October 27 to November 9, Mixer will host two new exhibitions. “Upside Down” is artist Ahmet Sarı’s critique on cultural objects used by anthropologists in distorting the realities of societies. “Sense of Movement” is an artist collaboration of photography by Kürşat Bayhan, Çağdaş Erdoğan, Furkan Temir, Murat Şaka​ that emphasizes the blurred lines between photography and journalism.

Mixer
27 October

End Date: 

Saturday, November 25, 2017 - 20:00

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Event Website: 

http://mixerarts.com/

Event Address: 

Mumhane Cad. No: 50, Giriş & -1. Kat, Karaköy

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"Storyteller" Exhibition at Anna Laudel Contemporary

10 October
12:00pm - 7:00pm

From November 9-December 27, Anna Laudel Contemporary will bring three solo shows together in its "Storyteller" exhibition. Jan Kuck's "History of Now", Ruth Biller's "VisaVis", and Serkan Küçüközcü's "Daydreaming" will share stories about the artists' inner worlds through their varied art mediums and techniques. Pointing to the irony, wit, and tragedy of our time, asking the question of "Why am I here?" from a migrant's view, and playing with feelings of displacement and homelessness in a world of vibrant colors, this three-tiered exhibiton seeks to draw viewers into the artists' personal narratives and to have them reconsider their own.

The Guide Istanbul had the chance to interview one of the artists, Eskişehir-born Serkan Küçüközcü, about his contributions to the exhibition.

TGI: What do your recurring motifs of certain objects, such as planes, balloons, and toys referencing childhood, represent for you? What are some other motifs you frequently use in your artwork? 
Serkan Küçüközcü (SK): The monumental objects I use in that lonely and fairytale like spaces symbolise us, showing how lonely we are in this mechanic world. I pick objects that would explain my hopes and dreams...In my works I use objects that I free from being dependent on a certain period of time, people and space. I think, that’s the only way for me to show that one’s childhood, toys, candied-apple, lollipop, carrousel had been stolen and given to the hands of strangers in different places. I narrate this in colourful yet cold imaginary spaces where objects create a feeling of displacement and homelessness.

TGI: As a part of Anna Laudel Contemporary’s “Storyteller” exhibition, what is the “story” you want to share with the viewers through your “Daydreaming” exhibition? 
SK: “Storyteller” brings three solo shows by three artists together in one exhibition. As the title implies, the artists of this exhibition are presenting common themes in their own individual
narrative forms just like storytellers. Storytellers help us see ourselves, others and the world from a different perspective and they draw the audience into their own world. My works
displayed under the title of “Daydreaming” aim to have the viewers participate in the story presented and find their own interpretation. The viewer should keep developing the narrative in the paintings. In addition to that, in my works I enjoy playing around with the perception of space and familiar objects, focusing on the thin line between ordinary and unusual. In this section I present familiar daily objects in huge sizes, placed in unknown, irrelevant spaces; describing a world of vibrant colours. With this, rather than creating a sense of astonishment, I aim to play with our perception of space and objects, making the viewer question the sense of belonging and attachment through this surreal, imaginary narrative.

 

Upon entering through Anna Laudel Contemporary’s main entrance, viewers will immediately be drawn - in surreal and emotional ways - to Serkan Küçüközcü’s paintings. Make your way up the spiral staircase to see the fantastic works of two other artists in the “Storyteller” exhibition. Entrance is free, and the museum doors are open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, noon-7pm, and Sunday, noon-6pm.

Anna Laudel Contemporary
09 November

End Date: 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 19:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B001'26.2%22N+28%C2%B058'25.7%22E/@41.0239412,28.9716128,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.0239412!4d28.9738015

Event Website: 

annalaudel.gallery

Event Address: 

Bankalar Caddesi No.10 Karaköy

Between Waves Performance: Endless Art Taksim Atölye

10 October
7:00pm - 8:00pm

In collaboration with the ongoing exhibit, "Identity," Endless Art Taksim Atölye brings Pınar Derin Gençer's performanced entitled "Between Waves" for viewers on October 26th at 7:00pm. This event is about the collective unconsciousness of people whose circumstances are more interwoven than they may think because we are connected by waves that begin from birth with our cut umbilical cords. Performers Gamze Öztürk and İlgi Özdikmenli will join in on this performance. 

Endless Art Taksim
26 October

End Date: 

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 20:00

Event Category: 

Event Website: 

http://www.endlessarttaksim.com/

Event Address: 

Elmadağ Caddesi No:28 Şişli

Royal Opera House Screening: Alice’s Adventures

10 October
7:00pm - 9:00pm

The Royal Opera House continues its ballet screenings on the big screen. With inventive choreography by Christopher Wheeldon and sweeping melodies of Jody Talbot, this classic story of Alice’s extraordinary encounters in Wonderland are brought to life.

 
Zorlu PSM
27 November

End Date: 

Monday, November 27, 2017 - 21:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B004'03.9%22N+29%C2%B000'59.2%22E/@41.06774,29.0142623,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.06774!4d29.016451

Event Address: 

Zorlu Center, Zincirlikuyu

Event Places : 

GusGus Live

10 October
9:30pm - 12:00am

Known for his work with famous musicians such as Björk and Sigur Ros, GusGus will take the stage to perform his music, a mix of techno, trip-hop, and house.

Babylon Bomonti
09 December

End Date: 

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 23:30

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B003'30.0%22N+28%C2%B058'50.2%22E/@41.058337,28.9784333,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.058337!4d28.980622

Event Address: 

Bomontiada, Silahşör Caddesi Şişli

Event Places : 

ALA.NI

10 October
9:30pm - 11:00pm

After serving as a back-up vocal artist for Andrea Bocelli, Mary J. Blige, and Blur, Ala.Ni began to record solo songs in a jazz five years ago. As a part of the Akbank Jazz Festival, Ala.Ni will take the stage with her well-known EPs entitled You & I.

Babylon Bomonti
16 November

End Date: 

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 23:30

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B003'30.0%22N+28%C2%B058'50.2%22E/@41.058337,28.9784333,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.058337!4d28.980622

Event Address: 

Bomontiada, Silahşör Caddesi Şişli

La Fresque

10 October
8:30pm - 10:30pm

The Istanbul Theater Festival will host French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj’s La Fresque. This performance, which is based on two travelers and a Chinese monk’s quest for a fresco, is told through a dazzling fusion of classical ballet and contemporary dance. Composer Nicolas Godin and fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa join Preljocaj in this dynamic performance.

 
Zorlu PSM
18 November

End Date: 

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 22:30

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps?q=41.06774,29.01645099999996

Event Address: 

Zorlu Center, Zincirlikuyu

Event Places : 

CANAN: Behind Mount Qaf

10 October

CANAN’s solo exhibition brings together cosmology and landscape-based legends in this creative self-exploration. Inspired by the spirit of a mountain, the artist draws the viewer into another world in which mythical and real creatures live together.

ARTER
12 September

End Date: 

Sunday, December 24, 2017 - 20:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B001'49.7%22N+28%C2%B058'32.3%22E/@41.030478,28.9734491,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.030478!4d28.9756378

Event Website: 

http://www.arter.org.tr/W3/?iExhibitionId=69

Event Address: 

İstiklal Caddesi No.211 İstiklal

Event Places : 

David Helfgott

10 October
8:30pm - 11:00pm

This world-renowned piano prodigy and subject of the Oscar-winning movie Shine returns to Istanbul to play many favorites, including one of the most difficult pieces composed, Rachmanioff’s Piano Concerto No.3. He will be accompanied by Hoang Pham, a young up-and-coming pianist.

Zorlu PSM
15 November

End Date: 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 23:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/41%C2%B004'03.9%22N+29%C2%B000'59.2%22E/@41.06774,29.0142623,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d41.06774!4d29.016451

Event Address: 

Zorlu Center Zincirlikuyu

Event Places : 

2nd Harvest Festival

10 October
1:00pm - 8:00pm

The 2nd Harvest Festival is taking place in KüçükÇiftlik Park this year, bringing good music, exciting workshops, and the creation and exchange of creative art products together in one space. Come here to meet with small business owners and creative minds representing grocery stores, coffee shops, find ecological food products, and artwork. The music group, Jungle, will keep your festival day filled with cool beats.

KücükCiftlik Park
27 October

End Date: 

Friday, October 27, 2017 - 20:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps?q=41.043134,28.992471

Event Address: 

Kadırgalar Yokuşu No:4 Maçka

Event Places : 

Museum talk: Is it used up and beyond its time?

10 October
7:00pm - 9:10pm

In collaboration with Goethe-Institut Istanbul, Istanbul Modern brings Nicolaus Schafhausen, the director of Kunsthalle Wien, to its “Museum talks” series. He will be discussing the role of art and art institutions in mediating our the hectic changes, erosions, and transformations in our contemporary society.

Istanbul Modern
26 October

End Date: 

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 21:00

Event Category: 

Map Location: 

https://www.google.com/maps?q=41.026675,28.98442399999999

Event Website: 

http://www.istanbulmodern.org/en/events/museums-talk/museums-talk-from-germany_1820.html

Phone: 

(0212) 334 73 00

Event Address: 

Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi Antrepo No.4 Karaköy

Event Places : 

Jujube soup recipe: comfort food for the fall

September 25, 2017

Jujubes, hünnap in Turkish, are more common in Turkey than one might think, and they deserve more attention given their health benefits, pleasant taste, and versatile nature. This fruit, slightly bigger than an olive, is reddish brown when ripe, with a light green flesh that is soft in texture. It grows in the summertime and is in season during the September and October months. Jujubes are most commonly eaten as a dried fruit. Sometimes, they are made into jam. However, they can also be bought fresh and used as a main ingredient in other dishes, such as soups. Selçuk Gönen, the executive chef of The Grand Tarabya Hotel, shares his recipe for jujube soup, a comfort food you’ll enjoy making as the colder weather sets in.

Ingredients

2 kilograms jujubes

1 kilogram green apples

2.5 liters vegetable broth

½ liter vegetable cream

200 grams potatoes

100 grams onions

100 grams celery

5 grams garlic

12 grams salt

6 grams brown sugar

8 grams black pepper

20 grams croutons (optional)

½ leek (optional)

 

Preparation process

Chop the jujubes and green apples. Add olive oil and a sprinkling of sugar and salt, and place in a bowl. Set aside. Optional, for garnish: Slice leeks thinly and fry them in oil until they become crispy. Set aside with croutons.

 

Cooking process

Add the jujube and apple preparation to a vegetable mix of potatoes, onion, garlic, and celery. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. Before the vegetables change color, making sure the mixture is still soft, take it out of the oven. Place the mixture in a soup pot and cook for 10 minutes over low heat. After the ingredients further soften, add vegetable broth to the soup pot and continue to stir until a thick liquid consistency is reached. Add cream, salt, and pepper to taste, and bring the soup to a slow boil. Remove the ingredients from the heat and place in soup bowls. (Optional: Ladle the soup over a bed of fried leeks and croutons.) Serve warm.

Eastern Halkidiki: An enriching journey

Marzena Romanowska
September 18, 2017

 

 

The area of Eastern Halkidiki is an example of how cultural and historical influences have no borders. Ottoman history enthusiasts might know that the heart of the region, the area historically known as Mademochoria, or in Turkish as Sidrekapısı, was one of the most profit-generating areas during the Ottoman Empire. Rich in silver and gold resources, it was developed in the 9th century in the present-day town of Stagira. Several fortifications of Machala, the capital of Mademochoria, as well as a recently restored Ottoman hammam nearby, are preserved and surround Aristotle Park. The park is an open-air museum overlooking Mount Athos, which displays installations showing the great thinker’s contribution to some of the proudest achievements of humanity. The ancient philosopher is the patron of the area, with all present-day activities revolving around him and his legacy.

 

Footsteps of the great philosopher

 

Occupying two hills of the Liotopi Peninsula, Ancient Stagira was a little settlement founded in 655 BC by the Ionian colonists of Andros. Although very prosperous at first, the city was devastated by king Philip II of Macedon, and despite the later rebuild, the place has begun to decline; six centuries later Strabo described it as completely deserted.

 

The reason why the place hasn’t been forgotten today is the legacy of its most famous son, the omnipresent Aristotle, who was born there in 384 BC. Although he spent most of his life in Athens, first with his studies in Plato's Academy, then later with his teachings for Alexander the Great, he returned to Stagira for a short period of time before his death. Still, residents of the ancient town have attributed to him importance and a respectable status. Aristotle is known to have studied every subject possible during his time, and it was even suggested that he was the person to know everything there was to know, a savant.

 

The latest archeological discovery suggests that people of Stagira have transported the ashes of Aristotle from the island of Euboea, where he died, to Ancient Stagira to build an altar. Although it has been destroyed by the Byzantines, the entrance making the memorial accessible to the pilgrims has been preserved. Later on, in Aristotle’s honor, the Stageiritans organized feasts and races, commonly known as Aristoteleia.

 

In order to follow the footsteps of the ancient philosopher, eight different hiking trails have been mapped out around the Halkidiki region, with the longest one being approximately 30 km. Three different paths cut through Eastern Halkidiki besides the one already mentioned, there is a route leading from Arnea to Varvara, as well as a two-kilometer walking path from Olympiada to Ancient Stagira.

 

The culinary tradition in Eastern Halkidiki is as old as the history of the region. The Ancient Greeks’ diet was simple yet varied, based on the local ingredients nature was providing them with. Today, when traveling around the region, one can see the great comeback of appreciation for local seafood, mushrooms and berries, and meat and wine. The reason behind this is more than just a temporary gastronomic trend.

 

Chef Dimitrios Tsananas Thessaloniki’s popular Met Hotel, a native to Arnea, says that the economic crisis is one of the reasons why Greeks had to change the way they thought about food. “People ended up with nothing and many of them came back where they were from. The farms that used to be shut down are now starting to operate again, providing the locals with great produce which they previously sourced from Italy or Spain,” he states. Current development is beneficial for the local cuisine not only in terms of sustainability, but first and foremost as a value added to the available varieties of food.

 

Among many local products, Olympiada mussels are reason enough to travel to the area. Feeding off of the sea and sweet water at the same time, they grow to be larger and tastier than those coming from other areas. Louloudia Alexiadou, owner of Hotel Liotopi and one of the local gastro-experts, says it is best to eat them only slightly seasoned because then you can still smell the sea on them and enjoy their full flavor palate. While serving four different takes on the local delicacy, her brother Dimitris recalls that when his family first settled in the area, there was no infrastructure not only to grow anything, but also to live. The Sarris family (Sarı in Turkish) came to Olympiada from Turkey’s Yalova region due to the population exchange agreement between Greece and Turkey. His family used to speak fluent Turkish, and the locals still use various Turkish expressions on a daily basis. “You can hear guys at the port yelling ‘gel buraya,’” he laughs. The events of the past helped the family to open up to foreign travelers and get involved in the tourism industry. “Everyone is welcome here,” says Sarris. “Tourism is not only musaka and mussels, it is about making people comfortable.”

 

 

 

 

Where to eat

 

A part of a larger touristic complex consisting of a hotel, spacious garden and a lounge area, Prasino Horio is also a popular locals hangout, with a full bar as a bonus for the evening. www.prasinohorio.gr

 

With an extensive menu of mezze and meat, Bakatsianos offers a wide range of local delicacies, paired with tsipouro and locally-made wines by Claudia Papayianni. www.bakatsianos.gr

 

Alongside a great choice of local seafood, the waterfront restaurant Akroyiali serves countless variations of Olympiada-grown mussels, which are an essential when visiting the area. www.hotel-germany.gr

 

Where to stay

 

In Arnea:

Chorostasi Mansion is a traditional guesthouse located at the central town square, with rooms overlooking the Cathedral of Saint Stephanos and the property’s back garden. The building, dating back to 1896, is home to six rooms decorated in a simple yet warm and welcoming style. For more info visit www.chorostasi.com

 

In Olympiada:

Having been forced to re-settle from the present-day region of Yalova, Sarris family took residence in Olympiada where they run boutique Hotel Akroyiali, known among the locals as Hotel Germany. With 17 rooms and a waterfront restaurant, the place makes an ideal base for further exploration of the area. www.hotel-germany.gr;

 

Award-winning Hotel Liotopi, known for its homey atmosphere and cooking workshops conducted by the owner, is attracting visitors from all of Europe. Their kitchen is the focal point of the entire operation: homemade breakfast is served in the back garden, while delicious snacks are on display during the day. www.hotel-liotopi.gr;

 

 

Arriving and getting around

 

Olympiada is located a three-hour drive from the Turkish-Greek border gate in Ipsala, with Arnea being a further 45 minutes away. Alternatively, you can choose one of the daily flights from Istanbul Ataturk Airport to Thessaloniki and then proceed by car. Greek Travel Services can send a driver to pick you up at a designated time and accompany you throughout the stay. English speakers are not easy to find in the little villages, you might want to rely on the help of someone who communicates in both languages at ease. For more info visit  www.greektravelservices.gr

 

What to buy, what to try   

 

From 2000 bottles in 2006 to 150 thousand bottles today, Claudia Papayianni’s award winning Greek wine varieties, malagouzia, xinomavro and assyrtiko, are the local finesse that add unique value to any dining table. Blends with international varieties such as chardonnay and syrah are also available. www.cp-domaine.gr

 

Liquor enthusiasts will appreciate Mountovina, distilled honey extract slightly resembling tsipouro, granted a geographical indication of Halkidiki region. www.honeygeorgaka.com

 

The ignorants will claim that feta is just another type of beyaz peynir, but cheese enthusiasts will appreciate the distinction, and enjoy Karagiannis feta, as well as choriatiko, paneraki and other varieties of cheese available in markets across Greece. www.karagiannifeta.gr

 

Jams and marmalades from the abundance of berries that can be found in the forest on the slopes of Holomontas mountain are another must-try. Ask at the Lanara Cafe in Arnea if Angelos Gagani and his wife Fotini have any to offer. If you have some free time on your hands, the owner of Hotel Liotopi, Louloudia Alexiadou can even teach you how to make the  delicacies.

 

From mid-May until mid-June, Eastern Halkidiki hosts Kouzina gastronomy festival, highlighting various aspects of the local culinary tradition. The event gives the opportunity to local and visiting chefs to expand their creativity and interpret traditional recipes with a modern twist. en.mountathosarea.org

 

Past Meets Present

09 September
12:00pm - 7:00pm

16 Turkish and international artists will present artwork inspired by historians, scientists and archaeologists to explore the meaning of taking a historical journey through contemporary art practices. A curatorial tour, artist talk, and a performance installation by TORK Dance Art will also be presented within the scope of the program.

07 September

End Date: 

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 19:00

Event Category: 

Event Address: 

Bankalar Caddesi No.10, Karaköy

Event Places : 

Past Meets Present

09 September

16 Turkish and international artists will present artwork inspired by historians, scientists and archaeologists to explore the meaning of taking a historical journey through contemporary art practices. A curatorial tour, artist talk, and a performance installation by TORK Dance Art will also be presented within the scope of the program. This exhibition is open for viewing on Sundays from noon-6pm and Tuesdays to Saturdays from noon-7pm.

07 September

End Date: 

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 19:00

Event Category: 

Event Address: 

Bankalar Caddesi No.10, Karaköy

Event Places : 

A porcelain-inspired peek into Ai Weiwei's practice

Ai Weiwei's first solo exhibition in Turkey presents a wide selection of works from this internationally famous Chinese artist. 

La La Land in Concert

09 September
9:00pm - 11:00pm

The winner of 6 Academy Awards® including Best Original Song, LA LA LAND can now be experienced for more than its movie form. On October 6th at 9pm and October 7th at 8pm, La La Land in Concert will take the Zorlu stage alongside a live symphony orchestra.

Zorlu PSM
06 October

End Date: 

Saturday, October 7, 2017 - 23:00

Event Category: 

A-WA

09 September
9:30pm - 11:30pm

The three sisters that form A-WA (pronounced Ay-Wa) take inspiration from jazz, hip hop, reggae, progressive rock, and Yemenite women’s chants to form their eccentric sounds. On September 23 and 24, they will showcase selections from their album “Habib Galbi” to captivate their audience with their new genre of inspired music.

Babylon
23 September

End Date: 

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 17:15

Event Category: 

Michael Kiwanuka

09 September
8:30pm - 11:00pm

British musician Michael Kiwanuka, winner of the BBC Sound of 2012 poll, will be sweeping the stage at Zorlu PSM with his acoustic blues-folk sound and soulful voice. He will be performing songs from his successful albums “Home Again” and “Love & Hate.”

Zorlu PSM
27 September

End Date: 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 23:00

Event Category: 

Turkcell Platinum Istanbul Night Flight

09 September

Bringing together some of the best musicians in classical music, Turkcell Platinum Istanbul Night Flight will host a series of concerts at Hagia Irene. Famous groups, such as the duo Igudesman & Joo, the Berlin Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and the quartet Salut Salon are some of the groups to be featured in these events.

Hagia Irene
15 September

End Date: 

Sunday, October 29, 2017 - 17:15

Event Category: 

Gezgin Salon in collaboration with Limits Off presents: Kiasmos Live

09 September

In collaboration with Limits Off, Gezgin Salon, a new project by Salon IKSV, will be bringing the duo Kiasmos to the stage at Beykoz Kundura. Known for their electro-pop sounds and energetic performances that involve stunning visuals and lighting, Kiasmos will leave an impression on even those who are not fond of electronic music with their dense but elegant sound.

Beykoz Kundura
10 September

End Date: 

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 17:00

Event Category: