29 Quirky Things about My New Home, Turkey

Editor's Note: For those of us who have been in Istanbul for some time and have grown accustomed to the Turkish way of life, it's easy...

Istanbul Street Names: The Stories They Tell

Having only laid claim to most of their monikers since the declaration of the Republic, Istanbul’s street names often go unnoticed (highly due to...

City Scherzos: Lahmacuns in the Sky

Ali was a 27-year-old Kurd from the eastern Turkish city of Van. He and his brothers had come to Istanbul nearly a decade before...

Walking the Rainbow: Istanbul’s Colorful Stairs

Protest in Turkey can take many forms. Sadly enough, few of them will leave a positive imprint on your memory: TOMAs and tear gas,...

When the Night Comes Falling

All day long, in fits and waves, there had been blackouts. And not just in one part of Istanbul, but across the whole vast...

Sketching Istanbul’s Hans Part 2: Rüstem Paşa Han

Emilie Varlet and Gabrielle Reeves began exploring Istanbul's hans in the summer of 2014, when they first started their sketching adventures in the city. They have...

Sketching Istanbul’s Hans Part 1: Büyük Valide Han

Emilie Varlet and Gabrielle Reeves began exploring Istanbul's hans in the summer of 2014, when they first started their sketching adventures in the city. They have...

Returning to Selçuk Year after Year: Camel Wrestling and Authenticity in...

There are certain constants that one can rely on when attending camel wrestling: The booze is always flowing, the camels are consistently covered in...

“Girls of Hope”: Education and Gender in Rural Turkey

You might have already noticed that Istanbul is a place that can be hard to comprehend. Thousands of years of history, millions of inhabitants,...

There’s No Such Thing as a Simple Turkish Wedding

The marriage bureaucrats at the Şişli marriage bureau seem like the unhappiest people in the world. Just a few meters from the miniature theater, where everyday...

The Pursuit of Happiness in the ‘Bul

In this megacity, which delivers stress in seemingly increasing dosages year by year, I’m realizing that it is essential to wear a different pair...

How to Stop Being Such a Yabancı: 23 Resolutions for 2015

Stop ordering on YemekSepeti cause you’re too scared to order over the phone in Turkish. Stop forcing your friends to call you cause you forgot...

Letters from Istanbul: Avenues & Interludes

One Saturday afternoon in the autumn of 2012, I was walking around Beyoğlu. I don’t spend much time on the European side of Istanbul,...

Your Most Important Vocab Lesson: The Haircut

Sick of leaving Turkish hair salons looking like a 50-year-old, overly done-up newscaster? No matter how much you try to tell hairdressers that you’re...

The Journey of the Istanbul Ferry

Vendors and commuters criss-cross in front of the gates of the dock. My friend and I use the akbil dangles with the circular buttons...

A Guide to Correctly Queuing in Istanbul

A few days ago I was waiting for the bus in the ridiculously long line at Beşiktaş Square - some mornings the line turns...

Yabancı Abroad: When in Rome…Levitate

When we got off the bus at Rome’s Termini Stazion, the first thing we saw was an Istanbul Kebab Shop. My girlfriend Ozge laughed at...

Recap of the Istanbul Marathon

At least it wasn't too hot. That's what I was thinking to myself as I lined up for the 15 km run this past...

Letters from Istanbul: Yeldeğirmeni’s Quiet Renaissance

Author’s note: Last week, I wrote about the stories behind some of Istanbul’s street names, and the week before that I traced some of...

Fig Season

My favorite season in Istanbul is fig season. Never having seen or eaten a fresh fig in my life, I was fascinated by this...

Confused Letters from Istanbul: Rude Sheiks and Mad Rams — A...

It is almost a cliché to say that behind every name in Istanbul there is a story; nevertheless, the saying is true. For instance, I...

Letters from Istanbul: City of the Blind (Or, Why You Shouldn’t...

I live in Kadıköy, the “city of the blind.” Have you heard this one? Well, in ancient times, the first Greeks who arrived from Megara set...

Letters from Istanbul: The Anatolian Way

As a yabancı, you probably have your own first impressions of the city. One of my own was made while coming from Ataturk International Airport...

Istanbul Welcomes the Yellow Bouncy Castle

Istanbul attracts all sorts of heroes and magnificent freaks. And I am not talking about Sean Connery or Liam Neeson. Meet Thomas, who calls himself...

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