Archive for the ‘Places’ Category

Kanyon gets the Architectural Award…

Suzy Menkes in A futuristic mall is new Turkish playground says:

It does not have quite the cachet of the Hagia Sofia or the Blue Mosque. And it was not on the itinerary of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit last week to this city of domes, minarets and traffic jams. But the futuristic swoop of Kanyon’s arresting architecture is a landmark in Istanbul’s burgeoning consumerism. In a city that has become a hip destination for visitors and a magnet for its own country’s population, this shopping center for the 21st century is Turkey’s new playground….

I think as Ms Menkes says Istanbul’s malls might be a real attraction for Istanbul visitors in near future… Time to rewrite guide books:)

Vatan newspaper just announces that Kanyon was given the Cityscape 2006 Architectural Review award….

Night Sights On İstiklal Street

Thanks to Filmekimi (“Filmoctober” and/or “Filmcultivation” – our lovely, little, one week film festival) I’m on İstiklal Street every night (after the last screening, of course!).

Heyyo! Kestaneciler (chestnut vendors who sell fresh made roasted chesnuts) are everywhere:) And so the smell of roasted chestnut…
(Yes, I know chestnut vendors and so the delicious smell of roasted chesnuts have been around for some time, but for some reason roasted chestnut suits İstiklal Street more than any street.)

Aksanat was converted into TeknoSa.
It’s quite mysterious: on the one hand they arrange Picasso, Rodin exhibitions, on the other they convert the precious Aksanat building into TeknoSa – as if we have enough art centers but not enough technology shops, as if it is mandatory to have technology shops at every 10 meters! I don’t know what you’ll do, but I’ll never step foot in any of TeknoSa shops again.

Apart from usual souvenirs of film festivals, various, interesting little things are also being sold as film festival souvenirs now. For people like myself who collect things like ants and attach emotional value to them and so get emotionally attached to them, that’s a good news…

Today is the last day of Filmekimi…
It was the first festival after İsmet Bey’s death…
His absence was conspicuous. I had looked for his polite face among the crowd in Emek Movie Theatre’s foyer; he was a perfect example of İstanbul beyefendisi (İstanbul gentleman). He had administered Emek Movie Theatre for 30 years. Without people like him we wouldn’t have movie theatres like Emek or film festivals.

It was past midnight…
Coffee shops were filled with people…
Though it was cold, rainy and past midnight people were strolling down the street merrily… (Why am I talking ridiculous? All those people were Cinderellas who had to be back at home before the final stroke of midnight? No!… So let them ejoy the street till morning…)

Sunday delight: Ortakoy

Being lazy is like a moto to me, myself and I.
On a sunday morning, if I don’t have to get to work, I make a point of dragging myself out of bed at a fashionably late time and then dragging myself out of the house (emphasize on dragging). One of my favourite activies on Sundays – like I might have written before – is browsing the local markets. It’s a great activity for the lazy. This sunday before I had to go to work, I grabbed my friend and we went off to the Ortakoy market which is just great, even when the weather is grey! The stalls are nicely arranged down the streets and you have a wide choice of jewellery, clothes and bags.

Cevahir vs. Kanyon

I will go against the grain and support Cevahir Mall:) Not because I disagree with the critiques levelled at Cevahir, but I disagree with what is likeable about Kanyon Mall. Its open air concept is really innovative but there is just too much concrete coming upon you. Even in the open air, there is something claustrophobic. This might be changing but it seems that the targeted consumer mass at the outset was an upper social class that other malls ignored. But then I am not sure Kanyon can live with that alone… As a footnote, Cevahir does not know how to manage its movie theatre. In the beginning, its programme was not available in some newspapers, now they sometimes mess up with the programming itself. Last friday, I did a first in my life, and talked to the manager- I wasn’t angry; just tried to be a concerned citizen (!)- the manager accepted their fault and offered me and my friend a free ticket. I was so satisfied that I did not care for the free ticket and went back home:)

Science fiction is a place

I don’t need a flat screen showing commercials two decimeters in front of my face while doing my businisse in the bathrrom. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt. You get this when going to the movies in Kanyon. More useful: the screen showing exactly which seats are still free to choose. Less useful: the price.

I guess huge shopping centers are one of the least exciting parts of Istanbul, but since I tend to end up in them quite often (due to their plain practicality) I often ponder over them anyway. And you know, the cities I have previously lived in had smaller economies than Cevahir.

But to be honest: Cevahir is big and stupid. In addition some of the floors in Cevahir are among the only places in Istanbul I have ever seen empty. Huge stores without a single costumer, I really can’t remember seeing that elsewhere ever in this city. I really like Koç Taş and Burger King during a sudden rain is as liveable as anywhere, but otherwise it’s just huge and dull.

Kanyon is the extreme opposite. Much smaller in size and filled with places that at least to us from lutheran countries have the affect of making us feel that we are probably doing something immoral (TV-screens in the bathroom, just have to be immoral, right?). As late as last Friday I finally confessed to myself that I actually enjoy being in Kanyon. I didn’t like the movie, though.

Have you been to IKEA ?

‘Cause I have.
This Saturday we decided with a friend to be courageous and go to IKEA to check out the huge store that’s on the other side of the world for me. It’s not that far from where I live especially since I only need to catch two different buses to get there but it still was annoying to get to (even though the second bus drops you right in front.) We jumped on a bus from Mecidiyekoy and even though there was a little traffic on the bridge, we ended up at IKEA half an hour later.

When you enter the IKEA, you get greeted by a team of IKEAiens that want you to have a pencil and a little paper pamphlet and a little measuring thingy and the famous yellow bag. Ahhh the yellow bag.. anyway.
Saturday seemed to be a good day to go, it was busy but not too busy. Then again I’m used to the extra huge IKEAs in Europe so it’s really not comparable since this one was rather small compared to the others.

When you go to IKEA, could I advice you to go there already knowing what you want to buy? If you don’t, you walk around for hours, aimlessly, trying to dodge the hord of people who are too busy pretending to know what they or that push their pram towards you in an effort to make you move out of their way. No way is your way, it’s all their way. We probably checked out every area of the shop. Since it was smaller than the others, it didn’t take us that long, just an average of 1.5hrs. Seeing the familiar IKEA products made me smile, it reminded me of Belgium a lot. Once we were done drooling over the toys and colored pens in the children’s section, we stopped at the food court which obviously was very nice, I’ve always liked the food they serve, especially when I get salmon.

The cooked salmon was 6YTL, the smoked salmon dish was 6.50YTL, if you want a soft drink that’s 1YTL for the first glass and the rest are for free. The food court was very very busy but we managed to throw ourselves down on a table in the non smoking area. People didn’t really seem to care if it was smoking or non smoking area though, they just seemed to smoke wherever they saw fit. We are after all in Turkey. Once we finished having our food we headed for the ground floor where you can find kitchen and bathroom utensils, gardening utilities etc.
After getting all we needed we headed for the cash registers, which were over packed as you’d imagine. Ten minutes later I had purchased for 7YTL a salad bowl, a living bamboo stick, a vase for the bamboo stick and 10 Swedish lollypops. They have this food supermarket at the entrance of the shop who sells all things Swedish (cookies, frozen cakes, jams etc..). I wanted to get jam but it seems that they were packed with more sugar than fruit so I decided against getting anything at all.
All in all, the IKEA in Istanbul is small but cute, a must see for all of those who like all things IKEAish.

IKEA Istanbul
Çakmak Mahallesi No: 243 Tepeüstü Mevkii
34768 Ümraniye-İstanbul
10AM-22PM 7 days a week.



I happen to walk across between Marmara University’s School of Law (this university’s campuses are spreaded all over Istanbul) and Kadıköy’s square. The former is somewhere on the right and the latter is somewhere on the left of this picture. In between that 15 minute walk you can see the historical Haydarpasa station over there. I don’t have the news of the latest situation but there are plans to make this site another business center.
I remember once walking with my dad on those rails while I was 6 or something. But I don’t know why we were there and don’t remember what we would do. As far as I remember I had been inside the Haydarpaşa station only once…

Chasing Wits

My wandering wit has taken a holiday and has left me behind…maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the season, but it has been difficult to write this month. So, feeling abandoned, we hopped a Bosporus tour boat (Turyol) at Kadikoy, paid our 5 YTL each and headed out for the afternoon.
The boat stopped at Uskudar for a few minutes, headed north to just shy of the second bridge and returned to Kadikoy. Our highlight was (of course), the view, the guys we passed swimming from Asia to Europe, and the Asian shore.

Swimming the Bosporus

Bottom line? No better way to spend 5 YTL and an afternoon, or many afternoons…this is a trip that would be different every time you took it.
Tips? Grab a seat on the starboard side of the boat….it skims the Asian shore (at least this one did), so unless you want the long view to Karakoy and parts west, grab a seat on the right side, sit in the shade and drink it all in. I still don’t know where my wit went…but it missed out on this trip.

Secret Garden

These photos were taken at a secret garden almost in the middle of İstanbul, yet there you feel sooooooo far away…
Hopefully soon I’ll present more photos and a description of that Secret Garden…
For the time being enjoy the photos…

Water-Lilies and Their Shadows



Islands’ Nights

I love strolling on the Islands…during winter, I should add, during which I can hear my footsteps..during which I hear nothing except my own footsteps. Naturally far away sounds of waves can be heard… and the sound that wind creates among pine trees. Those are the times I meet noone, but cats and maybe dogs. Those are the times the Islands are deserted, but not dejected.

Several days ago I hopped into a ferry and went to Islands for a summer night stroll. Chirpy perfectly defines how Islands are in a summer night: there was no empty table in the restaurants or cafes, no empty benches, people were drinking, eating, talking and laughing…
I began walking on the seafont without knowing or caring where it would lead me. The sound of waves were there exactly like in winter… but some other sounds added to the sound of waves: the songs of cicadas (oh, how I love their ‘annoying’ sounds!), talks and laughters flushing from verandas, balconies, gardens, even on the most desolate roads I heard dogs barkings… I couldn’t hear my footsteps…

Ferry to the Islands

Young people were sitting on the platforms above the sea or under the trees or on the beach or simply on the road, drinking wine while talking in whispers or silently watching the dark sea and the illuminated İstanbul across the sea. Their zest reminded me of how my friends and I shared a bottle of wine and sometimes a coat at one of the few stepped stairs led to Bosphorus in front of Rumeli Hisarı, talking and talking while getting wet by the waves caused by giant ships passing through Bosphorus, watching Bosphorus and Asia at the other side… (This was one of my extracurricular activities… it’s not surprising why I miss to be a university student!:) )

On my way back met a Persian cat. His name is Darius. A perfect name for a Persian cat:)


It’s not a good photo but it was dark and I wasn’t actually seing what was inside the frame!

On my way back to İstanbul a golden-silver full moon accompanied me…


It’s worth to go to Islands for so many things I haven’t told here. Even for spending a few hours without hearing any cars, horns is a sufficient reason to visit Islands. (For those of you who are not familiar with Istanbul Islands, let me tell that motorized vehicles are forbidden on the Islands.)

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