Talk of the table Mürver

This newly-opened restaurant proves that the open fire cooking concept works well not only on camping grounds but also on top of a five-star hotel in the center of Istanbul. In case you have any doubts about what a center-staged stove does on a Bosphorus-facing rooftop in Karaköy, our answer is...

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Talk of the table Aila

The recently opened Aila at Fairmont Quasar Istanbul proves that there is plenty of room for surprise as far as hotel restaurants are concerned. The new Turkish cuisine-oriented venue is one to look up to with regards to decor, menu and the wine list, and is well on its way to become one of...

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Zeynep Ahunbay by Merve Göral
Arts & Culture How Zeynep Ahunbay unveils the mysteries of Hagia Sophia

The many older parts of Istanbul are home to a number of historic buildings from the Byzantine
and Ottoman eras that require regular maintenance to keep
their magnificence. Thankfully, architects such as Professor Zeynep Ahunbay have spent their lifetimes overseeing the conservation and restoration...

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Ferzan Özpetek
My Istanbul Get to know director Ferzan Özpetek’s Istanbul

His latest movie, İstanbul Kırmızısı, brought Ferzan Özpetek back to his hometown of Istanbul, and with all that has changed over the years, he had something to say about it. Photos by Yiğit Eken “Istanbul is changing.” This is a phrase residents of the city have gotten used to hearing, along with...

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Dede - Efendi, photo by Merve Göral
Istanbul after dark Best mixologists in Istanbul

From the hip Karaköy bar Finn's bartender Onurcan Gençer to Efendi Topağacı's "Dede", we rounded up the best bartenders in Istanbul.

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Pizza Locale, Akaretler - photo by Merve Göral
Food & Drink Pizza Locale

Hailing from İzmir, the newly opened Pizza Locale is a living proof that one more Italian eatery is never one too many. The casual joint offers classic Italian delicacies side by side with their Turkish interpretations, such as Tire sucuk pizza . Gourmets will appreciate the fact that the...

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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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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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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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Flavor Factor Güllaç: the rosy dessert of Ramadan tables

Ramadan in Turkey sees the arrival of a few annual traditions: drums beating out the wake up call for sahur , dates to break fasting, shadow plays and the simple dessert güllaç after a large iftar dinner. Güllaç is almost never found anywhere in Turkey throughout the rest of the year, but in...

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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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