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

Spicy vegetarian snack: çiğ köfte

Posted on 3 April 2019

Most friends look at me with suspicion when I introduce them to an unfamiliar kind of Turkish snack, çiğ köfte, and translate it into English: seasoned raw meatballs. You see them thinking: ‘no raw meat for me, because that has been sitting around in the sun breeding bacteria; I don’t want to spoil the rest… Read more »

Orient Express nostalgia in Pera Palas

Posted on 29 March 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 »

Modern and traditional toilets ala Turka

Posted on 25 March 2019

 In Istanbul’s old town, with all the touristic high lights, many public restrooms are not in a good condition. Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş has promised to renovate existing facilities, including those in mosques, and construct new, modern ones. “There are often questions surrounding the cleanliness of public restrooms, so the municipality will initiate a project to… Read more »

Oldest graffiti artist adores Atatürk

Posted on 19 March 2019

You will find his work on many walls in Istanbul. On the European as well as on the Asian shores of the Bosporus. I saw him once around 11 PM drawing on exactly this spot in Kadıköy, where the Roma women are selling their flowers. He is retired and in his 70ties. He draws always the… Read more »

Human pack mules of Istanbul

Posted on 14 March 2019

Whenever you stroll through the district of the Covered Bazaar and the Egyptian or Spice Bazaar you probably will see human pack mules with all sorts of cargo on their backs. Bent over, groaning under their unimaginable huge burdens, they trudge through the streets, up the hills, and even up the stairs in the wholesale… Read more »