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Posts Tagged ‘Istanbul’

Istanbul Pictures: today I would like to share with you some of the photographic views I collected in Istanbul. No need to explain that my favourite pictures are the ones with the Sultanahmet Mosque, which is one of my best view in the city, a subject I love to admire, to gaze at, and to photograph from every angle, with every light. The one in the Yerebatan sarnici is not perfect, a little bit blurred, anyway, I think it’s a very fascinating place. As far as the last picture… no explanation is needed.
Hope  you like it. 😉

Sultanahmet Camii

Sultanahmet Mosque

Sultanahmet, My Love

Sultanahmet, My Love

The Yerebatan sarnıcı

The Yerebatan sarnıcı

Istanbul from Galata Tower

Istanbul from Galata Tower

to be continued…

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The time has come. Istanbul is now officially the 2010 European Capital of Culture.
Through various activities and festive celebrations held on 16 January 2010 in 7 different centres of the city, Istanbul celebrated its new title as 2010 ECOC. The celebrations started with a protocol event taking place at the Haliç Congress Centre, with Ministers from Turkey as well as neighbouring countries participated, along with high level statesmen and diplomats, leading members of the business, culture and arts world, local and foreign press members, and went on together with all of Istanbulites in the squares of Taksim, Kadıköy, Sultanahmet, Pendik, Bağcılar and Beylikdüzü.

Whirling dervish

Whirling dervish

A moment from the show

A moment from the show

The opening speeches were followed by the special performance called “The Magic of Istanbul,” choreographed specifically for this special night by Yekta Kara. The performance of 65 minutes presented 303 artists exposing a multi-layered and profound cultural heritage, the sources of energy and inspiration in Istanbul, through the music, dance, poetry and visions peculiar to Istanbul. For the joy of all Istanbul residents different programs were running simultaneously to the ceremony in Haliç. DJ performances, dance and music shows met with Istanbullites in the squares of Taksim, Kadıköy, Pendik, Sultanahmet, Beylikdüzü and Bağcılar until late hours of the night.

Fireworks upon the Golden Horn

Fireworks upon the Golden Horn

Fireworks upon the Golden Horn

Fireworks upon the Golden Horn

One of the biggest surprises of the night was the Fire Theatre realized in Taksim and the Balloon Theatre realized in Kadikoy. In these shows staged by Group F of France, they used the sky as their stage, giving Istanbulites unforgettable joy through their light and music shows. After the sound and light shows in Haliç started, the enthusiasm for 2010 was amplified through concerts taking place in six different squares across Istanbul. Renown Turkish artists who have also successfully represented Turkey in international arenas met with Istanbullites; Tarkan in Taksim, Mor ve Ötesi in Kadıköy, Nil Karaibrahimgil in Beylikdüzü, Mercan Dede in Sultanahmet, Kıraç in Pendik and Zara in Bağcılar.

Taksim Square

Taksim Square

Tarkan in concert

Tarkan in concert

For those who are now in Istanbul, you can find all the informations about events, exhibitions and concerts on the official website of Istanbul ECOC. You must know that you’re extremely lucky to be here… 🙂 if I had the chance to be there this week, I probably wouldn’t stop going ’round for hours, from morning until late night. Expect to visit wonderful exhibitions, to enjoy great concerts and please, don’t waste the opportunity to see how active is the turkish cultural life. Then, of course, if you want share with us your experiences here! We’ll be very pleased to enjoy with you these magic events.

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Tarkan

Tarkan

Taksim Square – 16th of January…big big big concert organized by the city hall of Istanbul, for the grand opening of the European Cultural Capital of 2010.
announced time for the Tarkan concert – 21:15.

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SKYLIFE Dec09

SKYLIFE Dec09

I’m used to fly with Turkish Airlines when I’ve to go to Turkey.
Every trip starts from here for me. The service on board is perfect, you can ask whatever you want and a kind hostess or steward will come to help you. Nowadays the airline companies are getting worse, trying to save money and penalizing the service on board, but Thy is responding with courtesy and quality. And this is important mostly for frequent flyers, that will choose again this company rather than low cost companies. I often meet lots of white-collar workers on these flights, and not just tourists.

Talking about the food… Even if italians are famous to be like spoiled children about food, I’ve to say that I really like Thy turkish meals. Each time I fly with Thy (Türk Hava Yolları) I find something so tasty that the next time I’d like to find it again… especially the chocolate mousse is fantastic! This time I decided to take with me the menu, so I can illustrate what I mean: good meals, great presentation (next time I promise to take pictures also) and everything is clean and tidy.

Thy Menu

Thy Menu

The service on board is really is up to the situation. Once you are on board you’ll hear a pleasant turkish music that brings you to your seat, and some kind crew members giving you newspapers. You’ll find your copy of the Skyline Magazine, a very good magazine including interesting articles about Turkey and columns on several aspects of turkish life, history, tourism, and I discovered a lot of curious things about Turkey here. Sometimes you may find also a bookmark. These are stupid things, ok, but I can’t help noticing them. Everybody loves to feel at home, coddled and waited on hand and foot without paying an excessive amount of money, don’t you think? 😉 So, what else can I say… enjoy your Turkish Airlines flight you too!

This is the first part of my last trip to Istanbul last December, and I must say that the beginning augur well. Oh, I must also say that I’m not working for Turkish Airlines, or you may think that I’m just advertising! 😛

Thy bookmark

Thy bookmark

Turkish Airlines http://www.turkishairlines.com/

Skylife Magazine http://www.thy.com/en-INT/corporate/skylife/index.aspx

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One of my favourite Turkish painter

One of my favourite Turkish painters: Oktay Bozkurt

Hi followers,

This is just to have a sample of what you’re going to read in the next posts…
I’m writing from Istanbul right now, I’m on the terrace of my hotel looking the Blue Mosque in front of me. Unfortunately this great trip is coming to an end, and these are my last hours here, because tomorrow I’ll fly away, but I’m really happy because I’ve met wonderful people and visited fantastic places, and I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with you all soon. I guarantee it will be very interesting because I’ve a lot of material to show you and many stories to tell you, especially about some of the most interesting personalities of the Istanbul‘s artistic and cultural life. I’ve met painters, ceramicists, rug dealers, collectors, travelers, and everyone has a story or more that will fascinating you, I’m sure. Maybe you’re asking yourself why I’d like to talk so much about art and culture right now. Well, first of all because many people doesn’t know how rich is the turkish culture and how fine are their artistic works. Then, obviously, because Istanbul is going to be the Capital of Culture in 2010 so, let’s make sure we’re ready for that!

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The Spoonmaker Diamond in Topkapi Palace

The Spoonmaker's Diamond in the Topkapi Palace

The story I’d like to tell you now is the story of the Spoonmaker’s Diamond (Turkish: Kaşıkçı Elması), the pride of the Topkapi Palace Museum. Although the Imperial Treasury is full of ancient daggers, pendants, book covers, chests, rings, and various other ancient artifacts artfully decorated with beautiful stones, the Spoonmaker’s Diamond rests its most valuable single exhibit. It is an 86 carat (17 g) pear-shaped diamond, surrounded by a double row of smaller forty-nine diamonds, giving it the appearance of a full moon lighting a bright and shining sky full of stars.

According to one of the origin myths of the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, a poor fisherman was wandering penniless and empty-handed around Istanbul,  when he found a shiny stone among the litter. Unsure of what the stone was, but recognizing it as beautiful, he carried it about in his pocket for a few days, and then stopped by the jewelers’ market, showing it to the jeweler, who recognizes it as an extremely valuable diamond, but feigning disinterest gave it a cursory glance-over, and stated that it was just a hunk of glass. So he’d had give the fisherman three spoons for his trouble, out of sympathy. The fisherman agreed, and walked away from the deal feeling better off.

According to a slightly different version of the story, the person finding the diamond was Rashid, an impoverished man who found the diamond in 1699 while scouring the Istanbul garbage dumps. He haggled with a spoonmaker and managed to get three wooden spoons in exchange for the shiny rock. The spoonmaker, recognizing the gem as valuable but not realizing that it was worth a fortune, sells it to a jeweler for ten silver coins. After changing a number of hands, the diamond was confiscated by Grand Vizier Ahmed Pasha and soon passed into the hands of Sultan Mehmed IV.

According to researchers and historians, was a French officer named Pigot who purchased the diamond in 1774 from Maharajah of Madras and brought it back home with him to France. But during his trip some thieves robbed him, and the diamond ended up in numerous auctions, where it was first bought by Casanova and then by Napoleon’s mother, who had to put it up for sale in order to save her son when Napoleon went into exile. Who bought the diamond from her was a man who worked for Tepedeleni Ali Pasha, who later, during the reign of Mahmud II, was killed under charges of rebellion and treason. His treasury, including the Pigot Diamond, was confiscated by the state.
It is still unsure if the Spoonmaker’s Diamond was cast with the forty nine brilliant cut diamonds by Mahmud II’s men or by Tepedeleni Ali Pasha’s men, but what is true is that they increase its dazzling appearance as well as its market value.

So, whatever happened, now I’m sure you have another good reason to visit Istanbul and the wonderful Topkapi Palace!
You’ll find yourself completely dazzled, and recalling its incredible story, you’ll be able to fantasize about the characters and the misadventures of the marvellous diamond in front of you. 😉

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Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar

Istanbul, which seduces on even a brief stay, is now beginning to emerge as a “capital of tastes“. Its culinary richness is probably due to the role the city played in the time of the Eastern Roman Empire first, when it was the giant cellar and spice depot for Western Rome, and in the Ottoman period then, when it became the meeting-point of all the culinary cultures of Mesopotamia. With these special features, Istanbul today has begun to take its place among world tourism destinations. Visitors to Istanbul can enjoy not only an extremely rich culinary culture with roots going back thousand of years, but at the same time contemporary flavors. Whether you prefer the traditional flavors or are an adventurer seeking new departures in eating and drinking, you can experience a full-scale of tastes in the markets of Istanbul. The rich variety of fruits and vegetables will literally dazzle your eyes, and a wide range of fish, caught in the Black Sea, the Marmara or the Mediterranean Sea, are available at the city’s wholesale fish markets. The Egyptian or Spice Bazaar is my favourite one, a must-see for every tourist who come to Istanbul. You won’t believe your eyes when you see the array of spices, lokoum and dried fruits and nuts at this market, a “temple of taste” and incredible scents, say nothing of the thousands colours! Every tourist comes back home with a picture of the colorful spices and fruits neatly arranged in this typical turkish market. So, enjoy Istanbul’s markets and its tastes, colours and scents!

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