Culture & history 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...

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Culture & history Nazimî Yaver Yenal: Ahead of the architectural drawing board

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,...

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Around Istanbul 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...

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Flavor Factor Simit: A Turkish treat through the ages

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....

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Talk of the table 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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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Talk of the table 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...

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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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Talk of the table Top 7 cozy chef restaurants

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....

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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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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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