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The Top Events In Istanbul 2013
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The Top Events In Istanbul 2013

Picture of Melissa Pearce
Updated: 9 February 2017
Istanbul is one of the greatest cities in the world for festivals and events. With Turkey’s borders touching no less than eight countries, Istanbul’s culture is infused with a myriad of Eastern and Western influences. Istanbul’s pleasant Autumn and Winter months have become a popular time for festivals and 2013 sees some new faces in the scene, as well as some old favourites that have drawn thousands of visitors to the city for decades.

YAP Istanbul Modern: Young Architects Programme

June 25 – October 20, 2013

This biannual exhibition sees the Istanbul Modern work with the the MoMA and MoMA PS1 to enable emerging architects the chance to design a temporary installation within the gallery’s courtyard. With the intention of increasing global awareness of current environmental issues, the architects focus on themes such as recycling and sustainable design in order to create open-air spaces that provide for the public during the hotter months of the Turkish calendar. Visitors of the 2013 exhibition will experience ‘Sky Spotting Stop’, this year’s winning exhibition which will be on show until the end of the event, as well as a range of programmes and information about the projects of previous winners.


Rock ‘n Coke

September 6 – September 8, 2013

Turkey’s biggest music festival Rock ‘n Coke has been going for a decade and hosts not only some of the biggest bands in contemporary music but a catalogue of culture and arts events. Inaugurated in 2003, the festival includes feature films, theatre performances, book signings and readings, interviews with artists, discussions, workshops and an array of entertainment from acrobatics to pantomime. With the musical highlights of 2013 including Primal Scream and The Prodigy, this open air music festival sets itself as a celebration of Turkish and international music and cultures, culminating in a varied array of experiences from over 100 performances.

Istanbul Biennale

September 14 – October 20, 2013

Titled ‘Mom, am I Barbarian?’ after a poem by Lale Müldür, the 2013 Istanbul Biennale is curated by Fulya Erdemci. The theme behind the exhibition looks at the notions of democracy, contemporary politics and the essential difficulties within these concepts that are rooted within the question of what it means to be civilised. Other themes such as the idea of the ‘barbarian’ and how this relates to the ‘civilised’ person’s notion of the ‘other’ will be explored. These concepts will be highlighted through the use of public buildings as exhibition spaces, in addition to the use of ‘urbanised’ spaces such as shopping centres and office buildings. The biennale will take place at Antrepo no.3 in Tophane, Galata Greek Primary School in Karaköy, ARTER and SALT Beyoğlu on İstiklal Street and 5533 in İMÇ 5th Block, and will be a free event.


ArtInternational Istanbul

September 16 – September 18, 2013

Although in its first year, ArtInternational Istanbul is set to be a favourite amongst art enthusiasts for years to come with the strong team of prestigious arts organisers and professionals involved. The art fair will engage with a selection of international and local artists within its events, exhibitions and forums that are held at the Halic Congress Center. Those visiting Istanbul will get the chance to see the diversity of the city set against its incredible contemporary and modern arts scene. In addition to fantastic premiers such as David Claerbout’s film Travel (1996 – 2013), the event will feature a non-profit section, which will promote alternative institutions and artists’ collectives from Turkey. A contemporary art fair with 62 international galleries exhibiting as well as the Artistic Programme, the event will include the Delfina Foundation and SPOT.


Akbank Jazz Festival

September 25 – October 12, 2013

An 18 day event, the 2013 Akbank Jazz Festival has been running for over 20 years. The festival is a huge celebration of this rich musical genre, and events will include performances from some of jazz’s most internationally renowned artists, bringing visitors from all over Turkey and the world. The festival comes after a successful April, which saw Istanbul host the 2013 International Jazz Day. In addition to workshops and talks, the event will show performances from musicians such as Tortured Soul, The Real Tuesday Weld, Mattias Nilsson and Enrico Rava. Akbank Jazz Festival is an eclectic festival that highlights the many layers of music and culture within Istanbul.


Istanbul International Architecture and Urban Films Festival

1 October – 9 October, 2013

Organised by the Chamber of Architects of Turkey, the Architecture and Urban Films Festival has been running since 2007. The festival has a focused objective to emphasise the importance of architectural and cultural development, whilst simultaneously protecting historical buildings and improving ways of life. In doing this, it aims to involve both professionals in the field as well as architectural enthusiasts. The event sponsors films that centre around the importance of these issues, exposing them to a wide audience and providing a place within which filmmakers and other experts in the field can communicate. The event highlights World Architecture Day which takes place on the first Monday in October.


Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival

October 30 – November 3, 2013

This innovative festival presents itself as a celebration of literature from Turkey and overseas, and in doing this opens up a communication between local and foreign literary minds. A rich network of partnerships with overseas organisations such as the Manchester Literature Festival and Writers Unlimited makes the Tanpinar Literature Festival hold some truly exciting and novel events. Dozens of authors from over 20 countries will take part in the event, which is named after the acclaimed Turkish novelist and poet Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar. Now in its 5th year, the festival serves as a platform for exchange between European cultures and will emphasise the importance of literature in raising awareness of contemporary issues.


Istanbul Book Fair

November 2 – November 10, 2013

Held annually since 1982, the 2013 International Istanbul Book Fair will feature China as its Guest of Honour. Organised by both TÜYAP Fairs and the Publishers Association of Turkey, the fair will take place at the TÜYAP Fair and Convention Centre. Featuring over 200 individual events and over 600 publishers, the People’s Republic of China have chosen a general theme for their selection of events ‘New Silk Road’, which will focus on the history of Chinese literature and its incredible adaptation from traditional writings to the more contemporary works of prose we see today. Visitors will witness a diverse range of events including workshops, discussions, interviews, signings and exhibitions, and the fair will run alongside the 23rd International Istanbul Art Fair.


Contemporary Istanbul

7 November – 10 November, 2013

2013 sees Contemporary Istanbul (CI) in its 8th edition. The event will be one of several arts events that collectively aim to put Istanbul at the centre of the contemporary art world, and will serve to attract art professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world. Boosting Istanbul’s reputation as a key player in the contemporary art market, the event will include a collection of both local Turkish and international works. CI will feature over 100 galleries from a total of 21 countries, making it the largest arts event in Istanbul to date. Utilising the geography of Istanbul as a bridge between cultures, organisers seek to make it a ‘cultural platform’, and with the previous year attracting 68,000 people worldwide, 2013 is set to be a success.


Istanbul Design Week

November 27 – December 01, 2013

Held at Kucuk Ciftlik Park, Macka, Istanbul’s Design Week looks at established international design, and across five days there will be an abundance of exhibitions, workshops and conferences. 2013 will see 25 countries participating, thus giving Istanbul the chance to portray its designs to the international design world, providing increased communication between designers from different countries. Allowing for a refreshing viewpoint on new designs, design week underlines the fact that the city of Istanbul is developing, creating a new urban identity for itself. Istanbul Design Week holds conferences, panels and seminars that discuss everything related to design, all past and future trends and include world famous designers sharing their experiences.


By Melissa Pearce