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...


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...

Bülent Eczacıbaşı - photo by Muhsin Akgün

The Eczacıbaşı family’s rise to fame began 100 years ago in İzmir, where Süleyman Ferit gained the surname - meaning head pharmacist - for his high-quality medicines. His grandson, Bülent Eczacıbaşı, is chairman of Eczacıbaşı Holding, one of Turkey’s largest industrial groups. But among many...

Ferzan Özpetek

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...

Haldun Dormen - photo by Merve Göral

Haldun Dormen received The Guide Istanbul at his museum-like house in Teşvikiye, where he has lived for the past twenty years. Sitting in a room filled with books, vinyl, cassettes, photos, and posters from his plays, the living legend of Turkish theater rose to greet us with unexpected energy....

Mario Levi, photo by Merve Göral

While Istanbul’s overall population has swelled from around 1 million in 1945 to 15 million today, various splits and calamities have caused much of the city’s Christian and Jewish populations to emigrate. Along with this movement, the living memories of old Istanbul have slowly evaporated. One...

Beyti Güler, photo by Merve Göral

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...

Murat Bulut Aysan, photo by Merve Göral

Holding a mirror to ideas such as the evil eye, gentrification, and the Istanbul gentleman, Murat Bulut Aysan makes us question the cultural codes of the city. He gives his view on an ancient metropolis that is changing before our eyes. Perhaps nobody understands Istanbul better than an artist. The...

Lale Apa photo by Merve Göral

Since The Guide Istanbul has been published, the city has no more secrets, says Lale Apa, the magazine’s founder. Having guided others through Istanbul’s narrow streets and picturesque coasts for a quarter of a century, in our silver anniversary series she paints her personal portrait of the city....

2. Ali Efe Yılmaz, Kadıköy

The number of Istanbul-oriented Instagram accounts (including The Guide Istanbul’s own, @theguideistanbul ) clearly proves that photography is the most popular tool used to describe the city on a daily basis. The choice of this creative medium to promote Le Meridien Istanbul Etiler ’s latest...


Do you have an old but functional computer you don’t need anymore, or do you want to get rid of some books to make some room in your new apartment? Do you have some free time that you want to put to good use, or did you notice someone around your place whose life could be improved with a small...


Despite the magnificent marble stairs and palatial furnishings of the British consulate in Tepebaşı, UK Consul-General Istanbul Leigh Turner paints a picture of modesty. As soon as he begins talking about Istanbul, however, he cannot restrain his praise. “I moved here influenced by a 2012 survey in...


The nature of tourism is changing. Holidaymakers are becoming less satisfied by the idea of letting their holidays simply wash over them. There’s a desire to explore unknown environments more deeply, to immerse oneself in a particular culture or natural setting. Water is one of the hypnotic...


We are alive in curious times. Is it any wonder, then, that more and more of us are asking ourselves some fundamental questions? Privately, we snatch precious yet precarious moments of quiet from the hubbub of our day to ask: What is life? What is living? What does it mean to be?... only to find we...


Body modifications, including scarring, marking, or inscribing the body, are a practice that exist, and have existed, on every continent on earth. Denizhan Ozkr is an independent tattoo artist who works alongside fellow tattoo artist Biçem Sinik at their studio in Mecidiyeköy, having previously...


A short walk from the bustling Ali Suavi Sokak, referred to by locals as “The Artist’s Square,” Art Sequoia is a newly opened ceramics studio that adds another layer of creativity to this neighborhood. Walking down the street, bright and eccentric ceramic pieces immediately capture your attention and it is impossible not to peek inside to see the hand-crafted personality and details of these objects. Rabia Özdemir Tokat, the owner of Art Sequoia, characterizes her space as a not only a shop but also a workshop space and art gallery. Her motivation for opening the store is to reach people who seek to use art as a form of rehabilitation or therapy, and she invites anyone to participate in one of her ceramics workshop sessions.


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