A Book Lover's Guide to Istanbul

Courtesy of Salt Galata
Courtesy of Salt Galata
Photo of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
17 January 2018

It’s no surprise that Istanbul, a city of former empires, has plenty of stunning libraries with their fair share of historic manuscripts. However, the city also satisfies every bookworm’s interest with its more modern research libraries and bookstores. Check out some of the best.

SALT Galata

Certainly one of Istanbul’s most beautiful buildings that used to house the Ottoman Bank, SALT is not only an impressive research library and archive but also has its own café, restaurant, art gallery, and museum. Robinson Crusoe, one of the city’s best bookstores for international titles, also happens to be within this exceptional building.

Courtesy of SALT Galata

Yıldız Palace Museum Library

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark, Library, Museum
Map View

Located within the historic Yıldız Palace estate, the IRCICA Library is an institution with more than 81,000 books that focus primarily on Islamic religion and arts. From works of calligraphy to historic photographs, this particular library is a real journey back in time.

Vitali Hakko Creative Industries Library

Located on the Asian side within the headquarters Vakko, Turkey’s leading fashion brand, the Vitali Hakko Creative Industries Library is a hidden bibliophile’s delight. You’ll find special and limited editions about architecture, design, fashion, art, film, and much more.

Courtesy of Vakko

Sahaf Pasajı

A quintessential experience for all bookworms in Istanbul is browsing through the many used and antique books at a Sahaf Çarşısı (book market). The city’s two major stops are the Beyoğlu Sahaf Pasajı and the Beyazıt Sahaflar Çarşısı where you’ll find everything from Ottoman manuscripts to limited edition novels and even Turkish film posters.

Sahaflar Çarşısı | © J Brew/Flickr

Atatürk Library

One of Istanbul’s most overlooked libraries is also among its most precious. Open since 1939, the modernist architecture of the Atatürk Library stands as a reminder to a different past, while the almost entirely glass-covered façade looks out over unmatched views of the city.

Atatürk Library | © Benreis/WikiCommons


If you’re a fan of beautiful coffee table books, then Assouline is a prime stop on your list of bibliophile Istanbul exploration. The French publishing house’s branch in Istanbul is of course located in the very wealthy neighborhood of Bebek, overlooking the Bosphorus.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"