Istanbul is, for excellence, an international center of art and culture. The Istanbul International Film Festival takes place every year in March and April, showing the best of the world film scene in the cinemas of the historic district. The International Festival of Art and Culture is held in the months of June and July and is attended by artists from all over the world.
Istanbul is also full of entertainment programs. The night clubs offer various entertainment during dinner, from a selection of Turkish songs to the famous belly dance. There are numerous discos, theaters, cabarets and jazz-clubs in the Taksim-Harbiye district. Among the many opportunities for recreation that the city offers, the numerous and elegant “casinos” should be mentioned.
The Whirling Dervishes Ceremony was born from the inspiration of Mevlana, a 13th century poet, mystical philosopher and musician and it constitutes a part of Turkish tradition, of culture. Here is a summary of the thought that led to this ceremony.
The dervish, with a high felt hat (symbolizes the tombstone of his ego), with his white dress (symbolizes the mortuary sheet of his ego), takes off his black cloak and spiritually “born” to the truth. He begins to turn, with his arms crossed, then extends it, his right hand open to heaven ready to receive divine gifts, his left hand turned towards the ground, to distribute to the people what he has received from God. Thus, turning from right to left, around the heart, he embraces creation and all the nations of the world with love.
For many years the Çiçek Pasajı (Passage of Florists), in the Beyoglu district, was a meeting place, in particular to taste the gastronomic specialties, especially those based on fish accompanied by a “rakı” or a good Turkish wine.
In the lively atmosphere of the Ortaköy district there are numerous places of entertainment. Ortaköy, on the shore of the Bosphorus, is populated by excellent restaurants, pubs and bars where you can listen to jazz music. A neighborhood frequented especially by young people, students and tourists.
The Ortaköy Mosque which was built by Sultan Abdulmecit in 1855, is located on the bank of the Bosphorus, while the sultans lived in the Beylerbeyi Palace, they often came to this mosque to pray with the imperial caiques.
In the Eminönü port, we find boats from the Ottoman period with fishermen dressed according to the custom of the time, offering the traveler delicious grilled fish.
A visit to a Turkish bath (hamam) is an essential part of any trip to Istanbul and we do not believe it is appropriate for you to leave Istanbul without the experience of a Turkish bath. The hamams in the city differ enormously from each other and it is better to be careful in the choice, as they can also vary in terms of hygiene and cleanliness. In the Turkish baths there are different sections for each sex.