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Arts, Culture & History

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...

23 Turkish Phrases I Wish Someone Had Taught Me

There are a number of phrases that Turks use in daily life that you may not find properly explained in your Intro to Turkish...

In Search of Mantı

As you walk down the streets of Istanbul, the air swirls with color and unfamiliar smells. Occasionally, you stop and peer into shop windows,...

Republic Day: A Last-Minute Guide

Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) is this Wednesday, 29 October, and the holiday officially begins Tuesday afternoon. Republic Day commemorates the declaration of the Republic of...

The Interwoven Worlds of Yaşar Kemal and Slim Memed

Before Orhan Pamuk came to prominence in the West and launched Turkey once more into the international literary scene, Yaşar Kemal was Turkey’s best...

The Şakirin Mosque

There are more than 3000 active mosques in Istanbul and, in terms of architectural style, they can generally be categorized as either Byzantine (ancient...

The Passages of İstiklal

İstiklal Caddesi is home to many eateries, stores and coffee shops. Although chains such as Shake Shack have been cropping up, the promenade manages...

Ibrahim Tatlıses for Beginners

It started as good a time as any – on a dolmuş to Hasankeyif with a crate of live chickens on my lap. I had...

Istanbul’s Hidden Architecture: The Camondo Stairs

Strolling through Istanbul requires two basic skills: a good sense of direction and a strong pair of legs. The steep hills and windy streets...

Take 5: Cihangir (A Morning on Başkurt Sokak)

Istanbul arguably doesn’t really have one central district, like a downtown or a city center. It is a city of many centers, each with...

Neighborhood Stroll: Balat

One of my family's favorite weekend activities, particularly now that it's gotten warmer, is to spend the morning wandering around neighborhoods, whether it's our...

Tribute to Ayran: An Expat Love Story

Writing about the allure of ayran has been on my agenda for over a year now. Every time an expat informs me that they...

Insider Trading: Museum of Turkish Jews in Karaköy

You may not be aware that there is either a museum or a synagogue in central Karaköy, downhill from Galata Tower and directly facing the tram stop....

Barış Manço: 10-Song Starter Kit

How does one explain Barış Manço?  He is kind of like the Turkish John Denver, but with the notoriety of John Lennon and a...

Levantine Lessons: Discovering Syria in Istanbul

“Light is more important than the lantern, The poem more important than the notebook” ― Syrian poet, Nizar Qabbani To the general public, Syria has become...

Kuzguncuk: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Kuzguncuk is a little slip of a neighborhood whose reputation has a surprisingly wide reach. I had not even left dusty Tarsus in Southern...

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...

Istanbul’s Hidden Architecture: Şemsi Pasha Mosque

Mimar Sinan was, without a doubt, the greatest architect of the Ottoman empire. His importance and influence are often compared with his contemporary Michelangelo, and it's an established...

Gold Day Recipes: Delicious Eats for a Day of Socializing and...

Like every other Turkish kid who grew up in the 90s, I have been to many “gold days” (altın günü) hosted by my mother...

Setting of Records: Istanbul’s New Mosque

  Three years ago building of a new mosque began on one of the highest hills of the city, where roosters still crow and visitors...

Book of Travels: The Evliya Çelebi TV Show

These days quasi-historical shows like Game of Thrones are the most watched (and pirated) shows on TV. Also, Muhteşem Yüzyıl, “The Magnificent Century”, a prime-time...

Life under Occupation: A Review of Eleni by Nicholas Gage

When Mosul was invaded in June, one of the first announcements made by ISIS was that the civilians within their territory would be treated...

Top 5 Bookshops in Istanbul

Istanbul sure does have a lot to offer when it comes to the world of books - there are boutique retailers, hidden stores, retail...

Camel Wrestling in the Land of the Efe

Camel wrestling is, in a word, raucous. Smoke permeates every inch of the earthen amphitheater, so much so that it is difficult to make...

Yabangee Essentials

Yabangee Classics