1st Turkish Contemporary Literature
Meetings 1 -31 January
Kýrým Music and Dance Days
1 -28 February
2nd Turkish Theater Festival 1 -31 March 20th International Ýstanbul Film Festival
17th Child's Feast 17-23 April
4th International Crr Child's Festival
Fetih Celebrations 1 -31 May
Tataristan Culture Days 1 -31 May
Turkish Puppet Theaters Festival 1 -31 May 6th International Crr Youths Festival
13th International Ýstanbul Theater Festival
18 May-1 June
29th International Ýstanbul Music Festival
8 June-3 July
4th International Boðaziçi Festival 15-30 June /Þile Bezi Culture and Art Feast 1 -31 July
Kartal International Culture and Art Festival
25-27 August /
7th International Ýstanbul Bienali
21 September-17 November
International Crr Mystical Music Festival
1 -30 November
Turkish Cinema Days 1 -30 November International Crr Piano Festival
1 -31 December
Meyhane: A Culture, A Tradition (Part 1)
Meyhane is a kind of restaurant in which you can drink alcoholic beverages, especially raki with the meal. The main dishes of meyhane are fishes and meats. But the most important dishes are meze which means appetizers.
Raki has a ceremonial way of consuming. You can have a beer alone, enjoy whisky or get drunk with vodka yourself. But you need company to drink raki. We say “The best side dish of raki is chat.” And you also need to have a nice table with many kinds of food, in small portions of course.
The main side dishes which go together well with raki are white cheese (like feta), melon (in summer), haydari (a mixture of thick yogurt, garlic, dill, salt), liver, stuffed mussels, meyhane boregi, fava (boiled and smashed broad beans), humus (boiled and smashed chick peas), purslane with garlic and yogurt, green salads, fried livers with onion, borek with pastrami, stuffed vegetables, sea fruits, aubergine salad (grilled aubergine is smashed with garlic and sometimes with yogurt), fried aubergines in tomatoes sauce, pickles, barbunya pilaki (kidney beans in olive oil, cold served), grilled red peppers in garlic and vinegar sauce, mezes from some strange and rare plants,…
When you sit a table in a meyhane, waiters come and ask for drink. Then they bring a tray with the mezes (which the meyhane has at that time) on it. You pick whatever you want. The waiter left the chosen meze, bring you your drink, serve the hot appetizers during your stay and finally they bring the main dish (a fried or grilled fish, for example). All these appetizers are in very small portions. So you need to have at least 3-4 appetizers to be full up. I usually skip the main dish and enjoy the appetizers. It is better for the budget.
Meze tradition is coming from Rum (Greek people in Turkish nationality). The best meyhanes of our time once belong to some Rum Barbas (meyhane owner). Some of them still belong to a Rum but many of them are being managed by the Turks now. But –Thank God- the tradition continues.
Forgot to take my winter underwear with me and it was kind of difficult to find
long underwear to wear right away. If you need some walk over Istikal Caddesi (st) in Taksim area and you will find some.
Take with you hat, gloves and a good jacket. Umbrellas are easy to find and they sell them almost everywhere for the rainy days.
Books and Browsing
The Book Bazaar is in a lovely little courtyard just off Beyazit Square and near the Grand Bazaar.
The stalls and shops sell a mixture of different books from tourist guides, textbooks to bestsellers and magazines. There are also some fantastic places to buy prints, pictures and calligraphy.
The clientele seems to be a mix of students from the nearby university, locals and tourists.
A great place to wander and browse.
Please note that all prices are fixed so no haggling.
Shopping in the covered market (Kapali Carsi)
The Grand Bazaar really worths a visit. There you can find everything : turkish carpets, tea, nargile, belly dancer belts, scarfs, pottery, tiles, jewels, books etc. But don't forget to bargain ;-) And if you don't like shopping, just walk through the passageways and enjoy this colourful atmosphere. Depends on how good you can bargain ;-)