Your ultimate guide to life in Istanbul

Your round-the-clock guide to the city – delivered by local experts

Madamme Tussaud’s museum opened in İstanbul!
Attractions

Madamme Tussaud’s museum opened in İstanbul!

Get yourself ready to meet with celebrities.

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The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of Istanbul
Things to do

The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of Istanbul

To some, they're terrifying beasts, while to others they’re the best friend anyone could ask for. Whatever feelings you may have about street dogs, the undeniable fact is that the four-legged creatures with whom we share the city’s streets play an important role in our social life. “How?” you may ask. Well, the answer to that question can be found in Istanbul Research Institute’s latest exhibition, The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of Istanbul. The exhibition looks at the fate of dogs in the city by dividing history into two periods. From the Conquest of Istanbul until the Tanzimat Era, dogs served faithfully as the guardians of public property, but once modernization took off in the 19th century, so did the banishment of these animals begin. This mistreatment of street dogs reached its peak with the Hayırsızada Dog Massacre in 1910, which saw around 80,000 strays exiled to Sivriada, many of them dying on the boat ride over there. The exhibition recounts all of this history with photographs, travelogues, postcards, magazines and engravings. The dogs are obviously the focal point of the exhibition, but the works on display also provide glimpses into Istanbul’s history, with certain images – like those that depict the murder of dogs in gas chambers – proving to be both saddening and thought provoking for the viewer. The exhibition’s curator Ekrem Işın believes Street dogs have developed their own philosophy of life, just as we have. To him, dogs are multifunctional resi

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Socrates Bistro
Restaurants

Socrates Bistro

A bistro that’s just as unique as the “Thinking Sports Magazine” Socrates.

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Istanbul’s coolest shops
Shopping

Istanbul’s coolest shops

Whether it’s for shoes, bags or just a pair of socks, stylish Istanbulites flock to these destinations for unique finds.

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Shop of the month
Shopping

Shop of the month

As of September, we have a brand new reason to visit Akmerkez: Turkish retailer Boyner Group’s latest project, Wepublic. For those based in Istanbul, the opening of the shop heralds the end of returning from trips abroad hauling suitcases stuffed with clothes, or spending hours in front of the computer screen perusing online shopping sites. This floor-story shop caters to both men and women with over 500 brands, 100 of which are sold in Turkey for the first time. You’ll be mesmerized by the variety of options, from Alexander Wang to All Saints, Cheap Monday to Helmut Lang. Sneaker fans who always opt for comfort, even during elegant social gatherings, will feel right at home in Wepublic’s sneaker section. The interior design and décor also make shopping here a uniquely fun experience: instead of taking escalators to get from the top floor to the bottom, you can thrill the child within by sliding down a spiral chute. Wepublic’s glass ceiling and graffiti-filled walls help you forget you’re at a shopping mall. Add to that the Petra Coffee and Chado Tea stands as well as audio book and technology corners, and we can almost guarantee you’ll be sad when it’s time to leave.

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Latest restaurant reviews

Union Pacific
Restaurants

Union Pacific

Union Pacific is an eatery whose cuisine is hard to define. Its owners are New Zealander chef Chris Maxwell and Canadian photographer Innes Welbourne, who put together an eclectic menu inspired by the unforgettable dishes they tasted during their travels. The bookcase lined with English-language magazines and the countertop full of pastries might give the space a coffee shop-like feel, but the best time to visit Union Pacific is for lunch or dinner. The Thai-style green curry with organic chicken comes with a delicious, creamy sauce that’s probably milder than what you’d expect. The smoked salmon and dill summer rolls are another great dish to try at Union Pacific. Those who wish to experiment with their favorite Asian-inspired recipes at home can also check out the selection of ingredients like rice flour, noodle varieties and an assortment of sauces offered for sale. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Goodville Seasonal Kitchen
Restaurants

Goodville Seasonal Kitchen

The next time you find yourself getting hungry in the Levent area, think twice before you head to the nearest shopping mall to grab a bite. The latest lunch hot spot for professionals in the district, Goodville serves enticing options all day long: you can choose from a variety of omelets (or mix and match toppings to create your own) for breakfast, or you can stop by weekdays from 17.00 to 22.00 to take advantage of happy hour specials. Still, there’s a reason the restaurant has become a popular destination for a midday meal: as its name suggests, the eatery serves healthy dishes made with seasonal ingredients. The semi-open kitchen allows you to watch your meals being prepped, while the mezes and salads lined on the counter make the decision-making process that much easier. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Hazine
Restaurants

Hazine

The latest venture from Jüpiter Group (whose previous project was the incredibly popular restaurant Grey in Topağacı), Hazine has fast become the new “it” location in Cihangir. The eatery instantly stands out among its neighbors due to its swanky décor and equally trendy menu. Be sure to check out the sushi selection if you happen to visit for dinner, and stay afterward to enjoy a more club-like atmosphere with live music.

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Capricorn Restaurant
Restaurants

Capricorn Restaurant

After Zuma moved to İstinyePark a few months ago, there was a great deal of chatter regarding what would happen to its old location – and it was only recently that we got to meet the new resident here. Housed in Zuma’s former Bosphorus-adjacent home, Capricorn is an exceptional seafood restaurant where you’ll find hard-to-come-by dishes like slow-cooked baby octopus and oysters served on ice.

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Unmissable events of the month

Ernani
Music

Ernani

The Istanbul State Opera and Ballet presents Verdi’s famous opera about the tragic love story between Ernani and Elvira, was first staged in Turkey in 1846 by Italian artists at the historic Naum Theater (which stood in the spot currently occupied by Çiçek Pasajı).

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Layer by Layer Excavating the Anatolian Side of Istanbul
Things to do

Layer by Layer Excavating the Anatolian Side of Istanbul

If your knowledge of historic Istanbul is limited to the Topkapı Palace and the Hagia Sophia, you won’t want to miss this exhibition, which highlights the cultural wealth and diversity of Istanbul’s suburbs in the Late Antiquity, Late Byzantine and Early Ottoman eras.

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The Royal Opera House
Things to do

The Royal Opera House

This month, Zorlu PSM hosts screening events for some of the new season’s productions for those who don’t have the luxury of hopping on the first plane to visit the historic performing arts venue. Don’t miss the chance to see Cosi fan tutte on December 1, Anastasia on December 14 and Les Contes D’Hoffmann on December 29.

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Madeleine Peyroux

Madeleine Peyroux

Despite her success, she still remains the same down-to-earth musician she was during her days as a street musician. She’s in Istanbul to perform her own songs as well as covers.

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