Istanbul is unique. It is the only city in the world where two continents meet. Enjoy old and new in the cultural capital of Turkey with Istanbul expert Marc Guillet

Turkish is easy!

Posted on 13 November 2019

Reading and speaking Turkish is easy: all words are written and pronounced phonetically. Even if you don’t know what the words mean, you can still pronounce them without any mistake, after learning the pronunciation of the letters. I will teach you in 15 minutes! Until 1928, Ottoman Turkish – the language of the educated few… Read more »

How to drink Turkish coffee

Posted on 7 November 2019

Photos: Slawomira Kozieniec Modern coffee bars like Starbucks and Turkish counterparts like Kahve Dünyası and Mado, where a range of Western coffees are sold, are found in Istanbul’s tourist and upscale westernized districts. In most restaurants bars in the old city they have all kinds of western style coffees too. Elsewhere in the city, the… Read more »

“Ottomania” is everywhere, even in burgers

Posted on 2 November 2019

The first thing that struck me visiting Istanbul again in the summer of 2006, after having spent seven years in the U.S., was the fast changing face of the city. Many squatter’s houses (‘gecekondu’ in Turkish and translated as ‘built overnight’) in shanty-neighborhoods had been destroyed or were gradually demolished and replaced by modern mass-housing compounds developed by the… Read more »

Dogwalkers in Istanbul

Posted on 24 October 2019

The first time I saw professional dog walkers was when I was posted in New York City as a foreign correspondent in 1999. Here in Istanbul I mostly saw stray dogs. Not surprisingly as many pious Muslims consider dogs to be ritually unclean. The last couple of years I see an increasing number of young… Read more »

Orient Express nostalgia in Pera Palas

Posted on 22 October 2019

The legendary Pera Palas Hotel is getting more attention again. Not only because the old grandeur is back after undergoing a major renovation and restoration project (2006-2010). Also because of a great book that has just been published Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul, by Charles King. I loved reading it. It is… Read more »