İstanbul is the New Cool!
Famous for its breathtaking architecture, local cuisine, and its genuinely welcoming people, İstanbul, Türkiye’s biggest city, straddles two continents. This particularity gives it a unique character that makes the city a sui generis centre of arts and culture in the world. Let’s discover!
A thriving scene of arts, design, and culture
İstanbul is home to talented up-and-coming designers and artists. Here, amazing arts as well as both fashion and object design works are largely inspired by the urban heritage as well as the marrying together of Asia and Europe. And the city’s funky, contemporary side stages impressive artworks and performances.
To see some major works of contemporary Turkish artists İstanbul Modern is the right place to go. If you prefer one-shot events, you may follow İstanbul’s fabulous year-round calendar of events and festivals with films, concerts, jazz performances, performing arts, and much more. Events range from orchestral recitals and theatre plays in thousands-year-old cathedrals to contemporary performing arts and jazz improvisations. Before you travel, check the events list to pick the one you would like to take part in.
In addition to classical prime museums like Topkapı Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace and İstanbul Archaeological museums etc. there are also some private initiatives that have been providing some boutique, thematical spaces and galleries for different temporary exhibitions.
The prestigious yet free-of-charge İstanbul Biennial is the perfect meeting point for artists and art enthusiasts, gathering thousands of spectators at different spots of the city.
Every year, art aficionados and professionals meet up at Contemporary İstanbul, the leading art fair in the city. It is also possible to find a wide range of side events for art lovers: from glamorous party spots to converted Ottoman power stations, art events are held in various spots, showing works of both emerging artists and masters.
Big guns of the art scene
The major art galleries are based in Nişantaşı, the modern European neighbourhood. They showcase cutting-edge modern and contemporary artworks by local and international artists. There are also a few galleries offering artworks from classical Turkish painters as well as numerous auction houses. Nişantaşı is also home to some elegant designer boutiques, glamorous international stores, and upscale restaurants. So, it’s the place to spend a stylish afternoon or a luxurious evening.
In Karaköy, Galata and Çukurcuma neighbourhoods, near the brand-new and impressive Galata Port facility, some small-scaled hip galleries and contemporary art spaces aim to develop the new generation of Turkish artists by focusing exclusively on emerging talents. They seek to represent artists who are at the early stages of their careers, across a wide array of mediums from painting to photography, and sculpture. Full of antique shops, creative souvenir shops, and street delicacies, these quarters are perfect to explore the Turkish contemporary art scene by wandering in backstreets.
Remember to check the event calendars for events and galleries – some of these propose artworks that reach beyond the usual cliques, aiming to develop an alternative discourse on all elements of art by way of projects such as holding panels, discussions sessions, creating an archive, producing exhibitions, and contributing to new literature.
In fact, İstanbul is a megapolis, comprising numerous neighbourhoods that are fond of arts! Younger hotspots such as Yeldeğirmeni and Bomonti are blossoming with new hip spaces to explore while presenting architectural neighbourhood characteristics; whilst old and historic neighbourhoods such as Balat and Fener are full of colourful houses as well as religious and architectural landmarks. Take a trip to the main market, explore vintage stores, design and antique shops and craft workshops. You may choose between a traditional coffeehouse offering Turkish coffee and tea, and hyper-cool, brand-new micro coffee roasters where you can get a cup of flat white or various cold brews.
These diverse districts of İstanbul consist of a treasure map for the urban arts explorer. İstanbul is the new cool when it comes to arts! Join in for new artistic quests!