What to do in Istanbul: December Cuisine and Confessions (Source: IKSV)

What to do in Istanbul: December

Genre-bending performances, art exhibitions and jazz are just a few things happening this month...

As the days get shorter, the temptation to stay huddled inside grows ever larger. Yet Istanbul is chock full of events this December that will give you the motivation to get out of your comfy clothes and explore the town. Whether you want to take in some of the city’s artistic heritage or rock the night away, we’ve got something for you.

Spend a night in the kitchen with ‘Cuisine and Confessions’

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) is once again bringing a boundary-pushing and genre-bending performance to Istanbul. From December 23-27 at the Zorlu Performing Arts Centre, the troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main (7 Fingers) will combine acrobatics, dance and theatre in a unique take on how we tell stories through food. This 90-minute performance is set against the backdrop of a massive kitchen – the common meeting point – and will explore all the senses in a journey through space and time.

23-27 December, tickets for ‘Cuisine and Confessions’ can be purchased from Biletix.

Sing the blues at Blues Sessions Istanbul

Blues sessions Katherine DavisBlues Session Istanbul (Source: Positif Live)

Istanbul has a surprisingly vibrant jazz scene, and as a testament to the wealth of jazz and blues artists in this city, Blues Sessions Istanbul features both local and foreign artists of acclaim. The evening will kick off with the Berk Arıhan Blues Experience, an Istanbul-based blues group, who will be followed by the Chicago-based blues band Mississippi Heat featuring Sax Gordon. The show will end in a grand fashion, with the award-winning guitarist Jimmy Burns taking the stage with Katherine Davis and Elif Çağlar, two incredible vocalists, and the Dave Herrero Trio.

12 December at the Volkswagen Arena, tickets can be purchased from Biletix.

View Istanbul from a new perspective in ‘Sketchbooks of Constantinople and Hagia Sophia’

Ceren OykutCeren Oykut 'Sketches of Constantinople and Hagia Sophia' (Source: Facebook)

In this exhibition at the Galata Greek Primary School, one of the former Greek educational centres that now functions as a gallery space, artist Ceren Oykut has created expansive drawings of the city that show the details of everyday life.

Utilising elements from caricature, miniature and cartography, she creates new topographies in her drawings, a technique that was inspired by Stefanos Yerasimos’s 1990 book La Fondation de Constantinople et de Sainte-Sophie Dans les Traditions Turques (The Foundation of Constantinople and Hagia Sophia in Turkish Traditions). The exhibition is a refreshing take on how the city is portrayed and imagined. To top it all, it’s staged in one of Istanbul’s most captivating gallery spaces.

‘Sketchbooks of Constantinople and Hagia Sophia’ runs until Saturday, 26 December. Entry is free of charge, and visiting hours are Tue–Sat, 11.00–18.00.

Rock out to the art-punk melodies of Blonde Redhead

Blonde RedheadBlonde Redhead (Source: Babylon Bomonti)

While Blonde Redhead is not the sort of band that will rock you to your core, this trio’s euphonious sounds, which are equal parts dream pop and shoegaze, will lure you in and keep you hooked, to the point where you won’t want the evening to end. The trio is made up of Kazu Makino on vocals/guitar and twin brothers Simone and Amedeo Pace on drums and lead guitar/vocals, respectively.

Blonde Redhead is a common name on the Istanbul concert circuit, but this will be their first time playing at Babylon Bomonti, a newly-opened concert venue located in what was Istanbul’s first brewery. The vibe at Babylon Bomonti is intimate, and their acoustics are outstanding, making it the best place to fall in love with Blonde Redhead’s music.

Babylon Bomonti, 15 & 16 December, tickets can be purchased from Biletix.



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2 Volkswagen Arena
3 Galata Greek Primary School
4 Babylon Bomonti