Art This art installation transformed a lost Byzantine monastery

Exiting at Küçükyalı metro station on a busy motorway and walking through a neighborhood of concrete apartment blocks on Istanbul’s Asian side could put you almost anywhere in this modern city. All the more remarkable, then, when the ruins of the grandest monastery from 9 th-century Istanbul appear...

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Aubergines eggplant season in Istanbul
Flavor Factor What's in season: eggplant

The family name of the eggplant species bodes ominously for a fruit that much of the nation chows down on weekly. Part of the nightshades family, also referred to as deadly nightshades, the plant was shunned when it arrived in Europe from Asia, thought to be poisonous due to its bright colors. In...

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Talk of the table Top 7 restaurants showcasing Istanbul’s shores

Summer is in high gear, which means as many meals as possible should be enjoyed with sparkling views of the water and breezes kissing the nape of our necks. Here are a handful of favorite spots to enjoy Istanbul’s epic straits and seas. Aqua Contemporary Italian cuisine served on a relaxed,...

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Istanbul with kids #Istanbulwithkids: get your kids moving

Summer camp can involve anything from sending your children solo to a remote location, a family trip into the unknown or a series of day activities right here in the city – as long as your children’s brains and bodies are occupied. If you haven’t thought about summer plans, here are our last-minute...

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Open air spa at The Ritz-Carlton
Wellbeing & Beauty Open air spa at The Ritz-Carlton

There is no rule that spa facilities must be located on the bottom floors or under the buildings, yet 99 percent of them are. Let’s talk about the remaining one percent then – Istanbul’s only open-air spa, located at The Ritz-Carlton hotel . The outdoor alternative to classical therapies has been a...

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Food & Drink Karletto

Pop-ups are an Istanbul thing. Since location is key to success in the city, many experiment with new concepts and ideas before making the leap to brick-and-mortar spots. So has renowned chef Carlo Bernardini embraced this movement by taking over the rooftop of Vault Karaköy hotel and turning it...

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Food & Drink Ahali 279

Ahali can be defined as “a group of people who share no common qualities aside from being in the same place” in Turkish. That’s what Ahali 279 is all about. Here, you’ll find one long table down the middle, meant to bring together a group of strangers, compelling them to share the experience of...

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The coasts of Turkey Dikencik Cottages: an escape of orchids and wild mushrooms

It is a charmed air that surrounds Dikecik Cottages. Located along a country lane that connects the pint-sized community of Yeşilüzümlü with the even smaller one of Ortaköy, a journey here leaves Turkey’s coastal tourism far behind. Instead, the landscape is ensconced in swaths of pine forests and...

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Wellbeing & Beauty 5 Istanbul spas that rejuvenate in style

Who doesn’t like to escape all the rush and noise of the city, to unwind and relax for an hour or two? In other words, who doesn’t love a spa session? A city like Istanbul sets a fast pace that has everyone trying to catch up. This makes regular spa visits nearly mandatory - and luckily, there is...

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Art “Emotion Commune” streams South Korea’s smart city to Istanbul

Interconnectivity of networks, free capital flows, ergonomic efficiency from mind to interface to production: these are the catchphrases of the digital world that is rapidly encasing our workplaces, homes, and bodies. New York-based artist Mika Tajima has examined these dizzying developments in her...

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Magical talismans of Istanbul, photo by Merve Göral
Culture & history 15 magical relics protecting Istanbul

Istanbul is a city whose memories stretch far into the past, through the ages of Islam and Christianity back to the ancient religions. The power of the Evil Eye, known in Turkish as nazar, is one example of how these traditions live on. But the Romans also created a complex and intriguing system to...

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Ghulam Mohammad, 2016 Jameel Prize Winner
Art Three-dimensional calligraphy wins the Jameel Prize

Ghulam Mohammad has been declared the winner of this year’s Jameel Prize, organized by the V&A in partnership with Art Jameel. This is the first year that the prize has been presented outside the UK, and nominated works will be on display at the Pera Museum until August 14. As well as the great...

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CANAN, Istanbul exhibitions, June 2016
Art V&A nominates Cevdet Erek and CANAN for Jameel Prize

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London began collecting Islamic art in the 1850s, and the renovated Islamic arts wing was renamed the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art in 2006. Along with the renovation came the Jameel Prize, which celebrates contemporary art that draws inspiration from the...

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Beyti Güler, photo by Merve Göral
My Istanbul Same quality kebap for 70 years: what's Beyti Güler's secret?

For more than half a century, Beyti Güler has kept his restaurant at its best. His reputation has travelled far and wide, with his eponymous Beyti kebab. An adagio was playing through the speakers when we first stepped into one of the oldest restaurants in town. Clearly, Beyti is not your ordinary...

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Anayurdu, Motherland film
Books & Film Turkey’s clash of generations hits the screen in “Motherland”

The word “motherland” is so familiar in its political connotations that we might forget the subtler, and yet more fundamental, nuances of its components: “mother” and “land”. Senem Tüzen’s debut film picks apart these semantics through three generations of women: the young urbanite, the traditional...

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Çırağan Palace Kempinski
Food & Drink Where to go for the best iftars in Istanbul during Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar when Muslims are required to fast every day from pre-dawn to sunset for a month. Due to differences between calendars, each year the dates of Ramadan change by approximately ten days. In 2016 Ramadan runs from June 6 – July 7, followed by a...

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From left to right Tyma Hezam, Akram Al-Amoudi, Farah Salem, Mohammad Shibli, Rawan Husseini, Marwan Haredy
Arts & Culture Arab photographers take Art Jameel’s Journey to Turkey

The oft-repeated phrase of countless travel guides declares that Istanbul is “a fusion of Europe and Asia”. But in a century when you can buy a Savile Row suit in Dubai or eat falafel in London, we might question whether the concepts of “East” and “West” have much meaning left. On the other hand,...

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Istanbul after dark Where to go for a true meyhane night

On the historic side of the Golden Horn, in Balat, is Balat Sahil Restoran . It has been open for 23 years and its owner’s family emigrated from the Black Sea town of İnebolu, renowned for its various produce and local dishes. As residents of Balat, which has been home to many immigrants from many...

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Rakı, meyhane
Culture & history From past to present Istanbul's meyhane culture

If there is one social space that epitomizes the true Istanbul experience in this city, it is meyhane . Most commonly referred to as just a Turkish version of a tavern, for many decades, the meyhane has been representing more than just a mere place to eat and drink. It is a place where the...

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Ali Ocakbaşı, Gümüşsuyu
Food & Drink Ali Ocakbaşı

Ali Ocakbaşı’s new location in Gümüşsuyu may just be the perfect way to try ocakbaşı (traditional Turkish grill restaurant) culture. This branch with an eye-catching Bosphorus view is the new addition to the chain, after having successfully operated in Karaköy for three years and over a year in...

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Ouzo Roof Restaurant, Kalamış
Food & Drink Ouzo Roof Restaurant

The moment you step into Ouzo Roof Restaurant, you’ll be mesmerized by the Marmara Sea view – especially if the sun is about to say its goodbye. You’ll feel like you are in a coastal town in İzmir or on a Greek island when you sip your rakı or ouzo with that kind of view. But you cannot simply...

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Erdem Helvacıoğlu, Turkish Experimental Music
Music New anthology dives into Turkish experimental music

It can’t be said that experimental electronic or electroacoustic music is very well known anywhere in the world - and that might be especially true of Turkey. With that in mind, the Sub Rosa label’s new album Anthology of Turkish Experimental Music 1961-2014 is filling an important gap in global...

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Mila Biju accessories
Design Mila Biju accessories: from whimsical pineapples to elegant flowers

After studying politics and working at a magazine publishing strong political content, Elif Ergenç Işıldar decided to pursue her passion and turn her leisure time activity into her full-time job. “This is what I always wanted to do,” she told The Guide Istanbul, while we were talking about her...

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Ahmet Ümit, photo by Merve Göral
Books & Film Ahmet Ümit talks about Istanbul's vibrancy, history, dark side

Ahmet Ümit’s latest novel, Farewell, My Beloved Homeland , has sold over 2 million copies since its release in December 2015. Ranked the most translated Turkish author in 2014, Ümit’s reputation stretches across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Given this popularity, it is tempting to put his...

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