My Istanbul: Kaşif Gündoğdu

My Istanbul: Kaşif Gündoğdu

June 18, 2014
  • Kaşif Gündoğdu | photo by Cem Apa

When you walk into Sofa Art & Antiques in Nuruosmaniye (with its other location in Galata) you can sense that it’s one of Istanbul’s most respected antique stores. We could say it’s because of all the precious items that surround you, but the energy exuded by its co-owner Kaşif Gündoğdu (the other owner being his lovely wife) is definitely memorable. The bearded icon of a man, whose eloquence is peppered with just the right amount of expletives, is a delight. We had the chance to ask Kaşif Bey some questions about his city:


What is it about this city that you most want to share with tourists? 

The Asian side/the historical peninsula and the historic and modern feel.


What is Istanbul’s most important secret? 

It’s past.


If you had one last day in the city, how would you spend it?

In my store (Sofa).


What is your favorite time of year in Istanbul, and why?

Autumn. It is peaceful and cool, and a little melancholic.


What would you miss most about the city if you had to leave it? 

‘‘Keşmekeşini’’ (the bustle). We’ve gotten so used to it.



What is your favorite...


Novel/film that is set in Istanbul?

Old travel books/Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Istanbul,’ Ara Güler’s photography, and the Topkapı film, which, in my opinion has never lost its genuine feel as a true documentary. Old black and white Turkish films also make me happy.


Restaurant to go for an authentic Turkish meal?

Aslan restaurant. Apart from being close to our store, it has fresh and delicious food prepared with real expertise. Also, döner at Gül Ebru in Zincirli Han (Grand Bazaar).



Ops Café is a place where I can relax and it happens to be on my way home. Also Karaköy Lokantası and Baltazar in Karaköy.


A Turkish dish that reminds you of your childhood? (And where you can find it?)

Terbiyeli, sulu köfte ve domatesli pilav (soup with egg yolk, lemon, and meatballs wite a side of tomato pilaf) at Aslan.



Galata or Karaköy.


Historical Site/Monument? 

Arap Camii/ Archeology Museum/ Ayasofya and Resim & Heykel Müzesi (Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum).


Cultural Center/Gallery/ Museum? 

There’s not a lot of them, so let’s say all. I give first place to Resim & Heykel Müzesi (State Art and Sculpture Museum).


View (somewhere you can go to really get a sense of the city)?

Tevfik Fikret’s house: the Aşiyan Museum. The house’s interior and exterior, including the garden, were all designed by him and are like a ‘bird’s nest.’


Finally, how would you describe Istanbul in three words? 

Feast and famine.


Sofa Art & Antiques: Nuruosmaniye Caddesi No. 53/A, Nuruosmaniye; T: (0212) 520 28 50