Culture Road Festivals to revitalize Istanbul, Ankara with arts


Istanbul’s lively Beyoğlu district and the capital Ankara will simultaneously host two festivals that draw attention to their cultural, architectural and historical heritage and aim to introduce different cultural experiences this year. The Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival and Başkent (Capital) Culture Road Festival will spread the festival joy and entertainment to Turkey’s two leading metropolises between May 28 and June 12.

Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has been preserving and maintaining cultural heritage as a whole with its tangible and intangible efforts that are showcased to the world through the many important strategic events throughout the year. Among these events, a two-week festival was held in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu, long the center of the city’s bustling arts scene, last year. While the Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival will be organized for the second time this year, it will also be held in the capital Ankara with a new edition titled the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

The world-renowned violin virtuoso Bomsori Kim will perform with CSO as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

As part of the first edition of the Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival, more than 40 exhibitions and special projects, 75 concerts, 45 workshops and 25 artistic and literary talks were held across various venues, including Galataport – a large-scale urban redevelopment project in the historic passenger wharfs of Karaköy quarter – the historic Tophane-i Amire building, the Galata Tower, various cultural centers, museums and the Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) along a nearly 3.5-kilometer (2-mile) route. The Beyoğlu and Başkent Culture Road Festivals will also present nearly 2,000 events to art enthusiasts, bringing them together with 6,000 artists.

Branded routes to accelerated cultural life

The Beyoğlu and Başkent Culture Road Festivals were introduced at a meeting held with the slogan “Festivals kick-off” at AKM last week. Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy pointed out the importance of the “Culture Road Festivals” project and said that it will draw attention to the cultural, architectural and historical heritage of the cities.

Ersoy stated that the busy schedule of the festivals, which are geared toward both residents and visitors, will allow large masses to access and experience cultural riches. I have added that the Beyoğlu and Başkent routes will continue to keep the cultural life alive after the festivals.

Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy speaks at the introductory meeting of the Beyoğlu and Başkent Culture Road Festivals, AKM, Istanbul, May 12, 2022.

Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy speaks at the introductory meeting of the Beyoğlu and Başkent Culture Road Festivals, AKM, Istanbul, May 12, 2022.

Noting that cultural routes and festivals will undoubtedly enrich the social life of the host cities and regions, they will be effective in preserving the cultural richness, developing it through its unique values ​​and making it known at the international level, the minister said. “Turkey enjoys brand culture and arts festivals that attract international audiences. Istanbul was a pioneering step in our cultural road festivals, I hope we will consolidate our success with Ankara. These festivals will be followed by Diyarbakır Sur Festival on Oct. 1-16 and Izmir Culture Road Festival, to be held in May next year.”

Highlighting the vibrant cultural and artistic lives of Istanbul and Ankara, the Beyoğlu and Başkent Cultural Road Festivals are set to bring together everyone from all walks of life with numerous art events from different disciplines, from architecture to literature, from painting to music, from design to theater.

In addition to ticketed events at both festivals, many free and open-air stages will be set up to make participation accessible. During the festivals, special events will be organized for children and families, as well. Various activities related to gastronomy will also take place in cultural road festivals.

The world-famous Bosnian-Herzegovinian artist Dino Merlin will perform in Ankara as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

The world-famous Bosnian-Herzegovinian artist Dino Merlin will perform in Ankara as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

Beyoğlu Culture Road

Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival, which will take place with the participation of master artists and 53 different culture and art institutions, will host more than 1,500 events by over 4,500 artists at 84 different locations this year. The opening concert of Beyoğlu Culture Road will be held at AKM with Greek artist Glykeria, one of the leading names in Rebetiko music.

During the festival, AKM will offer an excellent program of a wide selection from opera to digital arts, from cinema to interviews. “Sinan” opera, which was composed at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s behavior and made its world premiere at the Beyoğlu Cultural Road Festival last year, will once again bring the magnificent life of Ottoman architect Sinan to the stage at AKM.

Universalizing the traditional Gypsy songs of Eastern Europe on the world music scene, Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra will share the stage with the beloved artist Suzan Kardeş at the AKM Türk Telekom Opera House. Tunisian oud master Dhafer Youssef will masterfully blend jazz, Indian music and electronic music for Istanbul music lovers at AKM.

Artist Hüsamettin Koçan, who is also the founder of Baksı Museum in northeastern Bayburt province, will open his solo exhibition “Diken” (“The Thorn”) at AKM Gallery. “Rumi” digital installation by Refik Anadol, inspired by Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, can be visited at the AKM Theater Foyer throughout the festival.

The opening concert of Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival will be held at AKM with Greek artist Glykeria.

The golden voice of Africa Salif Keita will perform in Ankara as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

Along with AKM, many other venues will feature wide-ranging events. Atlas Cinema and Istanbul Cinema Museum will host the “Behind the Scenes Exhibition” and the director talks at the festival.

Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum, which has the most comprehensive painting collection in Turkey, will host speeches by world-renowned architects. Special performances by the State Theaters will meet with theatergoers on many stages throughout the festival, as well.

Tarık Zafer Tunaya Cultural Center will host the “Faces from Anatolia” and “Istanbul with Photographs” exhibitions by photojournalist Coşkun Aral as well as concerts, theater performances and talks.

Streets and squares will also turn into stages during the festival. Galata Tower, Şişhane Square, French Street, Tomtom Street, Odakule, Karaköy Ferry Terminal and many more places will bring the festival atmosphere everywhere with their open-air stages.

Galataport, the last stop of the Beyoğlu Culture Road route, will set up a special area related to gastronomy during the festival and will also host open-air concerts. Visitors will also be able to see an exhibition of Turkey’s first female ceramic artist, Füreya Koral.

Suzan Kardeş will share the stage with the Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra at the AKM Türk Telekom Opera House as part of the Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival.

Suzan Kardeş will share the stage with the Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra at the AKM Türk Telekom Opera House as part of the Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival.

Baskent Culture Road

The Başkent Culture Road route will host more than 300 events and 1,500 artists at more than 70 venues belonging to different periods, including pre-Republican, Republican era and new contemporary Ankara.

Ankara Castle, one of the landmarks of Ankara; the hundred-year-old Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, featuring a unique collection; the Hacı Bayram Veli Mosque, which is among the most important religious structures of the capital with its 400-year history; Hamamönü neighborhood with its historical urban texture, Ankara Art and Sculpture Museum, Ethnography Museum, Iş Bank Economic Independence Museum, Ziraat Bank Museum, PTT Stamp Museum and Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Ada Ankara, are among the venues to host events on the route of the Başkent Culture Road Festival, which is approximately 4.7 kilometers (2.9 miles) long.

The festival will start with the opening concert of South Korean K-pop group Mirae, who will sing the hits of the K-pop genre. The Spanish singer Buika, who is shown among the best vocalists in the world, the world-famous Bosnian-Herzegovinian artist Dino Merlin, the golden voice of Africa Salif Keita, the violin genius Ara Malikian, who is very popular with his energetic stage performances , will perform for listeners at the CSO Ada Ankara Main Hall.

The CSO, one of the world’s most established orchestras, will present a musical feast for classical music lovers with different concerts. The orchestra, under the direction of Conductor Rengim Gökmen, will accompany the world-renowned violin virtuoso, Bomsori Kim. Maxim Vengerov, one of the best violin virtuosos in the world, will share the stage with pianist Birsen Ulucan and violinist Özcan Ulucan at the next CSO concert, which will be held under the baton of Conductor Cem’i Can Deliorman.

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin will perform under the baton of Giovanni Antonini as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin will perform under the baton of Giovanni Antonini as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

On June 8, CSO Ada Ankara will host a very special classical music concert. Soprano Anna Prohaska will sing the compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Joseph Haydn with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under the baton of Giovanni Antonini, the sought-after conductor of the opera repertoire.

Ankara State Opera and Ballet’s (ADOB) “Aida,” “Swan Lake,” “Midas’ın Kulakları” (“King Midas’ Ears”), “Romeo and Juliet” performances will meet spectators at the Grand Theater. In addition, “Harem,” which has been playing sold-out for 20 years and brings together ballet and classical Turkish music, takes part in the festival program.

Ankara Art and Sculpture Museum, which has an invaluable historical painting collection that bears witness to the construction of the Republic and modern Turkey, will host the 75th State Painting and Sculpture Competition and exhibition throughout the festival.

Soprano Anna Prohaska will perform at CSO Ada Ankara as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

Soprano Anna Prohaska will perform at CSO Ada Ankara as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival.

Steve McCurry will meet art lovers in Ankara. American photographer McCurry, who has received many important awards in the field of photography, is considered one of the best visual producers of today. An exhibition of the artist’s works will take place at CerModern.

Turkey’s Iş Bank Economic Independence Museum, Erimtan Archeology and Art Museum and Sümerbank will also present special exhibitions throughout the festival.

Detailed information about the events that will take place within the scope of the Beyoğlu and Başkent Cultural Road Festivals can be found on the website, IOS and Android applications of the festival. Tickets for the events can be obtained through biletnial.com and sanatcepte application.

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