Istanbul Hints

Month: October 2017

Gordion alliance

An historic venue adorns modem Eskisehir’s backyard. We are talking about the quarter of Odunpazan with its narrow winding streets and gaily painted, wood-frame row houses. Regarded as choice examples of traditional Turkish architecture, these houses were reclaimed for tourism in the Odunpazari Houses Preservation Project launched in 2005 by the local municipality.

Like those at Beypazari, Safranbolu and Sirince in other parts of Turkey, the historic houses at Odunpazan are involved now in the branding process. And if you venture outside these three city centers into the valleys and steppes, you will encounter splendid Phrygian monuments at almost every kilometer. Dating back to the 12th century B.C., this civilization exhibited a mastery ahead of its time in architecture, carving, pottery and metal working.

And Midas, who signed the first political alliance at Gordion, was the Phrygians’ most famous king. This culture, which inhabited dwellings cut into the rocks, left behind extraordinary and refined monuments in the valleys of Yazilikaya, Yapikdak, Kumbet, Asmainler, Zahran, Porsuk, Ayazini and Goynus. To see all this and more, you need to take a tour to the Phrygian Valley. If the traveler inside you is keen on an exciting adventure of discovery, now is the time.

One of the best things about Anatolia is the juxtaposition of traditional values with everyday life in complete harmony. After finishing their routine chores, homemakers go to each other’s houses to visit. Served with the traditional tea or ayran (buttermilk), savory pastries such as ‘agziagik’ and lentil- filled ‘bukme’ are carried amidst peals of glee by the children of the house to the local bakery, where they are baked in the oven.

Turkish Delight

Colorful candies, Turkish Delight, chocolates and walnut ‘sucuk’… Candy stores remain part and parcel of life in the cities of the Phrygian Valley. And the opium poppies used in some candies immediately pop to mind at the mention of one of those towns, Afyonkarahisar. Used in a range of products from breads and pastries to pharmaceuticals, the opium poppy continues to be produced under state supervision.

One of the sages who contributed to the cultural ferment of these lands, Yunus Emre springs to mind at the mention of Eskisehir. And International Yunus Emre Culture Week is held every year in the city.

Phrygian Valley

Art and tradition make their presence felt in the cities along the border of the Phrygian Valley. The tiles made by the late Sitki Olgar, one of the world’s leading tile producers, provide clues to Anatolia’s past. And starting from the 13th century, the grandsons of Mevlana Jalalladdin Rumi in Afyonkarahisar and Kutahya ensured the propagation of a new philosophy that would enlighten mankind.

Occupying a special place among the handicrafts of Kutahya and Turkey in general, the art of the tile has achieved an international reputation. Bird, fish, flower, plant and human motifs are generally used on the tiles, which are mainly in shades of dark and light blue, white and Bordeaux. (Funili Cami (the Tiled Mosque) at the city center and the shops that line the main street are proof of the importance given to tile making in this region.

22/10/2017     0 Comments  

Zonaro Istanbul

The conquest of Istanbul through the eyes of Zonaro

If Sultan Abdulhamid hadn’t given the order, our only picture of Mehmet The Conqueror would be gentile Bellini’s Portrait.

 Chief Palace Painter Fauso Zonaro worked for months at the behest of Abdulhamid to depict Mehmed IIs conquest of Istanbul from the lowering of the galleons into the Golden Horn to the commander’s victorious entry into the Byzantine capital.

The 34th of the Ottoman sultans and as a caliph of Islam, Abdulhamid succeeded in keeping the Ottoman Empire on its feet for 33 years from 1876 to 1908.

He would be respected and appreciated not only for the successful reconstruction projects on which he embarked upon his accession to the throne, but also for the cultural activities that he patronized. The large visual archive known as ‘The Yildiz Photographs of the Reign of Sultan Abdulhamid is one of the world’s oldest known and most important collections. Abdulhamid, who took a keen interest in the art of painting, appointed Che Italian Orientalist painter Fausto Zonaro his ‘Palace Painter’.

Orientalist painter Fausto Zonaro

Born in 1854 to an extremely poor family in a small village in Italy’s Veneto region, Zonaro nevertheless had a very colorful and exciting life. His art reached its zenith in Istanbul, where he came first as a traveler, when he was appointed the Ottoman Palace Painter by Sultan Abdulhamid II early in 1896.

Zonaro’s acquaintance with Munir Pasha, the Minister of Protocol of Yildiz Palace, would be an important turning point in his life. Following that meeting, he met Osman Hamdi Bey, who made sure that his paintings were seen and appreciated by Abdulhamid. And in 1896 he was honored with the title and position of Chief Palace Painter.

Halil Ibrahim feast

A stroll through the old quarters on the opposite bank of the Asi is one of the best ways to get a feel for the city. For preserved here in the stone-paved courtyards that join the narrow lanes are the finest examples of the old Antakya houses: Antakya House, the mansions of Fuad Kuseyri and of the Yahyaogullari, Halepogullari and other families. These two- and three-story houses, the oldest of which is 200 years old, were built facing the mountains, while their stone-paved courtyards boast pools and gardens.

The call of the muezzin mingles with the peal of church bells as children play marbles in the narrow cobblestone streets. A city frequently mentioned in the Bible, Antakya has a high potential for faith tourism. And the Church of St. Peter is an important place of pilgrimage for Christians in this city which is home to the first church after the one at Jerusalem. Our extended stroll through these streets steeped in history is enough to whet our appetites.

Our destination this time is Harbiye, 10 kilometers outside the city and a resort area going back to Roman times, where hidden waterfalls rush down into a deep, wooded valley. Offering the full range of Antakya cuisine, the restaurants at Harbiye are true palate pleasers. And olive oil soap, and the silk scarves and hope chests produced in the neighboring villages are sold in shops on the road to the falls. Refreshing to body and spirit with its pure air and outstanding cuisine, Harbiye is great for a day’s outing, and we are mighty glad we came here.


Big mommas

Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son

Cast: Martin Lawrence, Brandon T. Jackson, Jessica Lucas, Michelle Ang, Portia Doubleday

Director: John Whitesell

Turner is joined by Trent, as they go undercover at an all-girls performing arts school after Trent witnesses a murder. Posing as Big Momma and as hefty coed Charmaine, they must find the murderer before he finds them.

Scoobydoo: The Curse Of Lake Monster

Cast: Robbie Amell, Hayley Kiyoko, Kate Melton, Nick Palatas, Frank Welker, Ted McGinley

Director: Brian Levant

Off to a resort with summer jobs, the gang stumbles onto a mystery when the Frog Monster of Lake Erie makes an unexpected appearance, scaring away all the guests.

The Rite

Cast: Colin O’Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins, Ciaran Hinds, Alice Braga, Toby Jones

Director: Mikael Hafstrom

Michael Kovak, reluctantly attends exorcism school at the Vatican. While he’s in Rome, he meets an unorthodox priest who introduces him to the darker side of his faith.

The Tourist

Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

During an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, Frank unexpectedly finds himself in a flirtatious encounter with Elise, an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path..

Gulliver’s Travel

Cast: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly

Director: Rob Letterman

Lemuel Gulliver is a lowly mailroom clerk. After he bluffs his way into an assignment writing about the Bermuda Triangle, he goes there only to be transported to an undiscovered land, Lilliput.

Yogi Bear

Cast: Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, T.J. Miller, Andrew Daly, Nathan Corddry

Director: Eric Brevig

Jellystone Park has been losing business, so greedy Mayor Brown decides to shut it down and sell the land. That means Yogi and Boo Boo will be tossed out of the only home they’ve ever known.


Cast: Matt Damon, Cecile De France, Bryce Dallas Howard, Lisa Griffiths, Cyndi Mayo Davis

Director: Clint Eastwood


Jenene Castle

Emergent gaming trends increasingly connect virtual in-game space with “ordinary” or geophysical life space.

The inclusion of real world interaction within game play is imminent. For example, the developers of World of Warcraft (WoW) are currently investigating ways to synchronize WoW’s auction house with real world currency.

Game worlds seem to be more inclined to partner with components in life space as opposed to the reverse. That being said, the unfortunate reality of gamification has started to take shape in both realms.

There is, however, an alternative to this diluted perspective. Game designer and professor Ian Bogost notes: “Serious games have given their advocates a way to frame the use of games in governmental and industrial contexts by making the claim that games can tackle consequential topics and provide profound results. ” These can range from simple games to more complex systems. For instance, Third Faction presented “DPS” (Demand Player Sovereignty), a project promoting social activism, at ISEA 2011 in Istanbul. This is one way artists have begun merging real world politics with gamespace in a non-trivial way.

The future of gaming is morphing. Artists and educators are acting as a catalyst for this change. The result will be a merging of both the virtual and the geophysical world. Instead of integrating games into reality, as with gamification, reality will be integrated into games.

John Bruneau

There is a lot of buzz right now over Gamification. Businesses are jumping on the Gamification bandwagon to push profits up. There is a strong drive in academia to gamify education. On the one hand we have Serious Games and Games for Change; on the other, we have foursquare America Army and Badgeville, all vying for our attention, all trying to up the ante. Gamification is the present of gaming. So what of the future?

The future is full of intensity, excitement and stress! Every aspect of life is so deeply infused with game mechanics that separating game and life is an impossibility. Desperately, people begin searching for a way to escape into a place where they won`t be weighted, measured or scored, a place where quest-lines all come to an end. Banal is the new fantasy world of games.

When life is a game, escapism becomes the ideal life. Several indie game titles currently indulge this impulse. Passage, Dinner Date and Metro Rules of Conduct are all signs of things to come. As this new genre of games begins to rise in popularity, marketers and academics will begin looking for ways to introduce life-like elements into life. For better or worse, future schools, businesses and altruistic nonprofits will all try to lure us away from the leveling rat race with “Lifeification”. The future of gaming is not the Gamification, but rather the Lifeification, of life.

21/10/2017     0 Comments  

Filibe Koftecisi

If, whilst shopping, you couldn’t stop thinking about having some delicious meatballs, then look no further; head straight to Filibe. You’ll find delicacies like grilled chicken and meat varieties, baked rice pudding and cheese pudding as well as famous Plovdiv meatballs at this restaurant open between 7am and 5pm. A meatball sandwich is 5 TL and a portion is 8 TL. They stress that they don’t accept credit cards.

Tel: 0212 522 9721

It has been serving customers on Uzungarsi Avenue since 1960. The scent of meatballs will seduce even the fullest of people. The restaurant whose portfolio includes regulars including celebrities and journalists, offers a portion of meatballs for 6.50 TL, while its semolina halva will leave you begging for more. Consider yourself lucky if you find any at lunch though, as the dessert is served from 7am along with soup.

Tel: 0212 52013 25

Lezzet-i Sark

One meeting point for kebab lovers is Lezzet-i sark restaurant where you’ll find all types of kebabs, from Urfa to Adana, lamb- stuffed kibbeh, a variety of soups and of course, angel’s hair dessert. Prices range from 10 TL to 20 TL.

Tel: 0212 514 27 63

Asli Borek

If you set off before breakfast, stop by at Ash Borek. Order a breakfast platter and get delicious su boregi (layered pastry). Pastries are 5 TL, breakfast 9 TL and manti 8 TL.

Tel: 0212 527 54 80

Tahtakale Et Lokantasi

Soups, meatballs, wraps and kebab varieties await you in the restaurant open between 10am and 9pm every day. Prices vary from 2.50 TL to 10 TL.

Tel: 0212 512 52 92


Take a lunch break here if you long for traditional Turkish home cooking like eggplant ragout, bean stew or soup. Prices are low; specialties from the daily menu cost from 2.50 TL to 6 TL.

Tel: 0212 526 26 86

Murat Karadeniz Pidecisi

If you like pide you must try this place which has been serving Tahtakale’s craftsmen for 20 years. Try its pide with tahini. The restaurant, famous for its Konya-style pide, serves minced meat and mixed pides for 5 TL.

Tel: 0212 522 49 08

Milan, which hosts the ‘Salone Internazionale del Mobile’, the world’s biggest furniture and design fair in spring and the world’s two most prestigious fashion weeks during the winter, is a fashion and design paradise. Despite having become a cliché, the ‘Quadrilatero Della Moda’ (Quadrilateral of Fashion), consisting of Via Della Spiga, Via Montenapoleone, Via Santo Spirito and Via Sant’Andrea is one of Milan’s most necessary routes.

20/10/2017     0 Comments