Archive for December, 2005

jazzy end of the year

iksv (istanbul foundation for culture and art) ? about iksv ? will celebrate the new year with woody allen and his new orleans jazz band at lutfi kirdar cultur and congress center tomorrow at 20 30. thanks and damned to enthusiastic members of woody allen cult, all tickets are sold out in 5 hours.

woody allen jazz band blog

Istanbul Through the eyes of a stranger..

People ignore a lot when living permanently in a big city.

Sometimes we need someone else to show us the other face of her.

The german artist Ute Langkafel has taken pictures of Istanbul.

I think it is worth looking at them.


Enjoy !

Housing in Istanbul

Now after a long flight from San Francisco, I am back in my hometown Istanbul for the winter break. In this post I would like to explain you the differences between housing in Istanbul and most of other US cities.

First of all, we (the residents of Istanbul) like living in downtown. We usually have 5 to 6 floor apartments, owning a country style villa in the middle of the city with it’s own garden is a very rare situation and usually a sign of luxury and richness. There is one other important factor that increases the value of your house dramatically, a view of Bosphorus… If you ever see that fairy view of Bosphorus you can understand why.

Oh so you wonder about the most expensive houses in Istanbul? They are definitely the old mansions on the shore of the Bosphorus whose prices range between 1 million dollar to 100 million dollars and most of them are not for sale anyways. They are usually historic mansions and the owners are not even allowed to modify them because of their historic importance.

Well speaking of downtown, a city like Istanbul, which has more population than the whole country of Sweden, does have multiple downtowns for sure. Most touristic historic downtown is the Sultanahmet. So being close to those downtowns is also a plus for your housing.

So compared to suburb residental life of US cities, Istanbul is quite different. Altough there are new luxury suburb areas with american-style housing formations, they are quite new and rare for Istanbul.

From my observations, in most of the US cities downtowns are usually commercial areas and after work hours people drive to their suburb houses. In Istanbul people drive to their houses in downtown but it can take more time for us to reach home because of our lovely traffic. Also Istanbul is quite big in landscape as well so it can take up to 3 hours drive from one end to the other end of the city.

Another difference is the number of homeless people in downtowns, I don’t know most of the US cities but in San Jose the downtown is full of them and they really look weird. In Istanbul it is really less than any big american city and they don’t look as weird as the ones I saw at San Jose or San Francisco. I also noticed that raising kids in downtown in most of the big american cities is a big challenge where as in Istanbul it is quite normal and usual.

Lastly the neighbour relations in american culture looked pretty weak to me, in Istanbul most of the neighbours really talk with each other, visit their neighbours and spend some time together. Gossiping about other neighbours is a tradition for most of us :)

I hope you can see those differences with your own eyes some day.

paris and singapore

two new cities have joined the metroblogging family, paris and singapore, both live, both with loads of interesting local stuff.



istiklal caddesi is having a face-lift for some time now. literally the whole street and the parallel ones(trees as well) are being pulled out (which is a traditional municipality act). instead of the stones that i loved so much, now we are going to have granites. and the street remains a nightmare, although i try to avoid going, it becomes inevitable and i find myself playing the game “pitfall”, but my burst of joy is taken from me as i see the new granited-istiklal behind the shovels. it is like seeing one of your friend after a nose job and you cannot decide if the new beautiful nose is actually beautiful. so i look to the new granited side rather doubtfully, seeing a part of nisantasi (the 5th avenue of istanbul)there, rather than good old istiklal. and i know, because it is impossible to leave it, i’ll go for loving it.

First snow..storm.

Last night, Istanbul was blessed with its first snow fall. The weather is very cold and dry. All television channels we’re flashing a notification that schools would be closed today and that our beloved youth could stay in the comfort of their own homes.
This morning I was lucky enough not to experience any snow problems on my way to work, I didn’t see any snow actually even tho it had been snowing all night. Maybe it’s because I live on the coast of the Bosphorus ? Other neighbourhoods seemed to be more inconvienced by the sudden outburst of white crystals.
Either way, we might be lucky to have a white Christmas.

Jingle Bells Jingle Bells..

Can you hear it? It’s the sound of Christmas..
Even tho Christmas isn’t celebrated in this wonderful city (obviously.) – we still have magnificent decorations througout the city being put up for new years (they look kinda christmasy to me.)
For those who would still like to enjoy the joys of Christmas in Istanbul, you should check out the Christmas Fest that is being held at the Movenpick hotel. It is said to be a true delight. ( I still need to go so let me know what you think of it. )
For those living in the city, have you noticed the decorations on Akmerkez and Metrocity ? They’re uber cute. Very festive indeed.(Those lights would be enough to light up a third world country.)
I think this year Santa will surely be very proud of us, we must stand out from up there.

Oh! You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town!

He’s making a list,
Checking it twice,
Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town!

He sees you when you’re sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

Finding interesting people in Istanbul ?

While others are more interested in the artistic and somehow high level life of Istanbul, I pay more attention to the practical side of hers.

This time I shall give you a hint which is not particularly about but could help a lot if you are planning to come to this city, so you could take a look around and see the existing generation in Istanbul who are capable of expressing themselves.

Living abroad for so many years, I made use of these so called internet communities and I had been complaining about that Istanbul did not have a good one herself.

I was proven wrong.

The community Elektrik Santrali – Plug In Baby lets you communicate with many people from various cities in Turkey. All you need to do is to register, get confirmed and you are ready to go.

Do a test drive, it’s worth it !

PS. it could be a good idea to find a turkish-english dictionary as this platform seems to be turkish only :)

10th Internet Conference

10 th national internet conference will occur between 9-11 December at Bahcesehir University.
Organized by INETD (Internet Technologies Association), the congress will bring together ISP,Telecommunication Companies and internet press representatives. Internet publishing will be on focus this year..

Late sommer days…

If you are a resident in Istanbul, then you probably know that these are the last good days in Istanbul for some time. The weather is good, streets rather quiet and the sunsets are quite attractive.

Put on your coats and boots, get a cup of coffee and go to Ortak

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