Baklava, photo by Merve Göral
Flavor Factor 6 types of baklava that will surprise you

First comes a crackling sound of crisp, thin phyllo, and then delicious syrup flows from between the layers. This is the beautiful allure of baklava. Most likely you have tried a classic version, filled with pistachios or walnuts. But there are more variations of this heavenly dessert, and each one...

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Üç Yıldız Şekerlemecisi, photo by Merve Göral
Food & Drink Best Turkish sweets and where to find them

With the end of the fasting month of Ramadan in sight, we can not help but be excited about the wave of sugary delights that is about to hit town. Whether you want to bestow the gift of sweetness upon one of your family members or hosts during the Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Feast or Eid al-Fitr) or...

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Gondola ride along the Porsuk River
Travel Eskişehir: young at heart

With its name literally translating as “old city”, one would expect the dignity and seriousness of a centuries-old settlement from Eskişehir. However, unlike its name, the city is vigorous and lively, densely populated by young students from the two major local universities, and planned with the...

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Arts & Culture The 400-year march of Istanbul's cymbals: Istanbul Mehmet

One of the Psalms, composed over 2,500 years ago, says, “Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.” This splashing, crashing percussion has been making noise since the Bronze Age, as seen in stone carvings from ancient Anatolia to Egypt and Greece. But the cymbals...

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Art Abstraction a la Turca: Fahrelnissa Zeid at Tate Modern

Despite her acclaimed exhibitions across Europe and the US in the 1950s and 1960s, Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid’s name has been heard more at auction houses than at galleries in recent years—she became the Middle East’s highest- selling artist with a $2,741,000-sale at Christie’s Dubai in 2013....

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Hotels Istanbul's best pools and beaches

It’s the siren song of the water – cool and inviting waves lapping against the skins of our city's blessed and beautiful, every shade of blue the perfect antidote for those other kinds of weekday blues. Can you hear it calling to you? We’re here to help you answer, in a city that thrives by the...

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Aşure, Noah's Pudding - photo by Maja Topcagic
Talk of the table Losing heat: the culinary art behind raw food

Dr. Sana S. Hećo is a walking poster child for her raw food profession. She glows with good health that seems to radiate from somewhere deep inside and her constant talk about nutrition is punctuated only by a slight, beatific smile that seems to say “it’s all good.” With the launch of her first...

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Culture & history Everything you need to know about Ramadan and Eid

It might not be everyone’s idea of a festival, but the end of the holy month of Ramadan is arguably one of the biggest celebrations in the Muslim calendar. This year, Ramadan runs from May 27 to June 23, and the religious holiday known in Turkey as Şeker or Ramazan Bayramı and Eid al-Fitr in Arabic...

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Vassiliki Papageorgiou
Music The voice of the Aegean: Vassiliki Papageorgiou

The 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece was a defining moment for both countries, with around 2 million people relocated to new lands over the border. Although many people traveled with what little they could carry, they did not leave their memories behind. In Greece, their...

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Music 7 'unusual' performances you shouldn't miss at the 45th Istanbul Music Festival

The Istanbul Music Festival is hosting its 45 year of classical concerts this year from May 29–June 21. Marking a high point in the city’s cultural calendar, the festival continues to bring world-class names to Istanbul as well as showcase the finest performers from Turkey. The theme of this year’s...

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Books & Film Top 7 non-fiction books to take with you to Istanbul

The large number of books available on Istanbul makes it hard to separate the dry from the inspiring. These recommended books will show you why Istanbul deserves its place in the pantheon of great cities. Bettany Hughes Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities
 The product of a decade’s research, British...

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TGI Food & Drink
Practical information Best practical apps to help you in Istanbul

Nothing beats a good travel companion with insider knowledge, but here are some handy digital helpers that will make your Istanbul experience a little more comfortable. TGI Food & Drink (Free, English, iOS) So, you’re looking for a table with a good view, somewhere chic and with a prominent...

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Hilye-i Şerif
Culture & history Hilye-i Şerif and Prayer Beads Museum

The Hilye-i Şerif ve Tesbih Müzesi (Hilye-i Şerif and Prayer Beads Museum) is located in a restored 16th-century religious school close to Süleymaniye Mosque. The word tespih comes from an Arabic word for "praise," and the these beads are used for reciting specific prayers after the usual prayers...

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Hamdi Akatay
Music How the works of Mozart meet the Roma

The Aegean port of İzmir is one of the most prosperous and developed cities in Turkey. But İzmir’s Tepecik neighborhood has a different story – this mainly Roma district is better known for poverty and crime. Hamdi Akatay, a Roma percussionist from Tepecik, is trying to offer something more hopeful...

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Arts & Culture Animatronic exhibition brings new perspective on modern Turkish society

Issues of identity and belonging are never far from the surface in Turkey, and have become one of the main themes for many contemporary artists. Serra Behar’s first solo show, To Remember , engages with society, personal history, and religion through 17 years of her work. Due to Behar’s training in...

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Fashion Where to find the best designer menswear in Istanbul

Marc Jacobs once said, “To me, clothing is a form of self-expression—there are hints about who you are in what you wear.” If you want to express yourself not through the collections of clothing chains but through unique and bespoke pieces, make your way to these stores where you will find designer...

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Chez Galip - photo by Merve Göral
Sports & Skills Pottery making in Cappadocia: the relationship of the river and clay

The ease of navigation around a town, that is divided by a river makes visitors adapt to the new location much faster. They quickly learn distinctive markers of each bank, finding the best spots preferred by locals and making them their own. This is the case of Kızılırmak, Turkey’s longest river...

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Şirin Pancaroğlu, photo by Utku Dervent
Music Şirin Pancaroğlu revives the lost Turkish harp

For many of us, the sound of the harp recalls images of cherubs in heavenly clouds, or classical concert halls. But Turkey’s foremost harpist Şirin Pancaroğlu takes the sound both forward and backward in time, using an Ottoman harp in her album Çengnağme and also collaborating with electronic...

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Burgerhood, Nişantaşı - photo by Merve Göral
Food & Drink Top 7 burgers in Istanbul

A good hamburger is more than just a bun and patty. With quality meat, homemade buns, and special recipes, these places seem to have perfected their burger game. If you are looking for something more elegant but still as tasty as the ultimate late-night food, ıslak (wet) hamburger, head to one of...

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Hayalleme, Muhittin Bayram
Arts & Culture For the love of Istanbul: imagining history with Muhittin Bayram

When choosing the name of his website, Muhittin Bayram could have chosen something simpler – Old Istanbul, for example. Instead he chose Hayalleme, which means “imagining.” This reminds us that our view of the past is always framed by the present, colored by our own nostalgia and prejudices. More...

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Talk of the table Best foodie pop-ups in Istanbul

Foodie networks keep the culinary scene vibrant and add some creativeness to the milieu by taking food out of the restaurant and bringing people together on a regular basis. If you are looking to explore new pairings and flavors while meeting like-minded foodies, get a head start with these foodie...

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Çamlıhemşin, Rize - photo by Yalçın Örsoğlu
Travel Çamlıhemşin: finding peace in nature

The vast, tranquil waters of the Black Sea and a land covered in dense verdant forest of the region hug each other at Turkey’s northern district of Rize and offer a wealth of untouched treasures. The region is filled with inspiring vistas, such as Çamlıhemşin, hidden amongst the green. Set in...

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Arts & Culture No LaB: Turkish street culture meets art and design

No LaB first burst onto the Istanbul scene with Modern Africa / A Rainbow Nation , showing a new face of art and design from Africa. Now with their second exhibition, the women behind No LaB, Ala Onur and Zeynep Ercan, believe that Turkish street culture is ready for a contemporary twist. The new...

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Önder Tiryaki - photo by Merve Göral
Wellbeing & Beauty Best makeup artists in Istanbul

If eyes are the window to the soul, the face is it’s finely fashioned gateway. Meet accomplished beauty experts in Istanbul who are leaders in their craft, as adept at high fashion as they are everyday street style. Melis İlkkılıç After two years in the banking industry, Melis İlkkılıç decided to...

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