My Istanbul How to get 'cultured' in Istanbul

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...

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Culture & history Promoting culture to build bridges: Interview with Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan

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,...

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Photo by Emel Ernalbant
East of Turkey Mardin: An off-the-beaten-path spot for history

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,...

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

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...

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Art Miniature: The modern face of centuries-old art

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...

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Talk of the table Bao buns: A new favorite on-the-go

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...

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Music Like music to your ears: Sound therapy in Turkey

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...

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Music 27th Akbank Jazz Festival

While jazz may have originated in the African American communities of New Orleans, today it is enjoyed and celebrated in every major city around the world. From November 3-19, Istanbul will get its chance to be in the jazz limelight with the 27th Akbank Jazz Festival, which will host over 200...

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Shopping Şekerci Cafer Erol

Craving a sugar-rush but don't necessarily care for the baklava crowds of Güllüoğlu? Take a trip to Kadıköy and ask a local for Şekerci Cafer Erol. It's not a hard place to miss, as it is located in the crowded Kadıköy square not far from the ferry docks, and as it is oftentimes filled with eager...

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Flavor Factor Making merry with aşure

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,...

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Flavor Factor What's in season: Pistachios

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...

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My Istanbul Ihsan Aknur: "The Best Taxi Driver"

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...

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Photo from Robert College Archive
Culture & history An American school on the Bosphorus: 150 years of Robert College

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...

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Sedat Girgin - Photo by Merve Goral
Art Every issue a new Istanbul: The Guide Istanbul cover artist Sedat Girgin

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...

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Fashion Denim: A Forever Fabric

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...

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Wellbeing & Beauty Sublime fragrance: The story behind roses of Anatolia

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...

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Culture & history Seven wonders of Istanbul: Discovering the hills of the old city

“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...

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Art Baba Sahne: Şevket Çoruh continues Istanbul's theater legacy

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,...

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Talk of the table 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...

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

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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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