• Tania Wee

Arts Across Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul – the only metropolis in the world to span two continents, and a bridge between civilizations, cultures and economies– recently launched a multi-faceted, wide-ranging international city festival focusing on culture and arts.

Developed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Beyoglu Culture Route Project highlights Istanbul’s international value, and its historical, architectural, economic, and touristic assets. The Beyoglu Culture Route Festival takes place from October 30 to November 14, 2021, featuring the participation of more than one thousand artists across 60 locations.


Serving as the capital for three empires due to its strategic position connecting Europe and Asia, Istanbul has brought together different religions, cultures, communities and their works throughout a rich history dating from the prehistoric era. Named a European Capital of Culture in 2010 by the Council of Europe, Istanbul now hosts an international city festival organized on the axis of Türkiye’s largest cultural and art project, the Beyoglu Culture Route.



The Beyoglu Culture Route features the newly-rebuilt Atatürk Cultural Center, as well as the Galata Tower, Atlas Cinema, Galata Mevlevi Lodge, the Mehmet Akif Memorial House, and the Tarık Zafer Tunaya Culture Theatre, along with numerous other historical, cultural and architectural assets restored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. These include important cultural and tourism investments such as Galataport, the Emek Cinema, and Garibaldi Stage. The route from the Atatürk Cultural Center to Galataport presents a revealing journey from the past to the future amid the captivating ambiance of Beyoglu, with architecture, literature, painting, music, design and theatre.


The Beyoglu Culture Route Festival will be held annually to ensure that this project, designed to contribute to the brand value of Istanbul, one of the world’s most important tourism destinations, is showcased on an international level.


Atatürk Cultural Center opens its doors

Istanbul’s Atatürk Cultural Center reopened its doors to art lovers on October 29, 2021, the 98th anniversary of Turkish Republic Day. Known as Atatürk Kültür Merkezi (or AKM in short) by the locals, the newly-built contemporary structure references its former, iconic design.


The AKM is one of the most important investments of the Beyoglu Culture Route, established by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as Türkiye’s one of the largest arts and culture project to date. The Centre marks the start of the culture avenue, and its reopening launches the International Beyoglu Culture Route Festival, also developed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, inaugurated the Istanbul Atatürk Cultural Center in an opening ceremony attended by prominent figures from the business, arts and academic spheres, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations, and local and foreign media outlets.


Completely reconstructed in 2.5 years by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism at a cost of TL 2 billion, the AKM welcomes visitors throughout the year to a 49,000 square meters, 2,040-seat Opera House equipped with the state-of-art technology. The Center also features a 16,300 square meters, 802-seat Theatre Hall, the 410 square meter AKM Gallery and the AKM Multipurpose Hall.


In addition to the aforementioned halls, the AKM offers an indoor area of approximately 100,000 square meters, consisting of a Gallery, a Multipurpose Hall, a Children’s Art Centre, a music platform, a music recording studio, and a library designed as an information centre for specialized topics such as music, art, architecture and design. The renewed complex also includes the AKM Yesilcam Cinema and spaces such as the Design Shop, along with rehearsal areas, soloist and orchestra study rooms, restaurants, a cafeteria, book cafés, workshops, and administrative and technical units.


Türkiye’s Largest Arts and Culture Project


Starting on October 30 and running through November 14, the Beyoğlu Culture Route Festival will feature concerts, exhibitions, and other events. Embracing all segments of society, exhibitions, concerts, opera and theatre productions, discussions and workshops will be held in sixty locations along the Festival route, with the participation of more than one thousand artists.


As Türkiye’s largest arts and culture project, the Beyoglu Culture Route Festival brings together a wide array of works and disciplines, ranging from classical to contemporary arts, digital and film, music, dance and literature. Contemporary artists and university students are featured, along with collectors’ works and pieces produced for the Festival, gathering the nation’s cultural and artistic values under one roof. The full programme can be accessed at http://www.beyoglukulturyolu.com


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