What’s on in Istanbul: February/March 2016 Source: Flickr/bass_nroll

What’s on in Istanbul: February/March 2016

Take in the fresh air and sunny days with exhibitions, shows and concerts galore as Istanbul steps into springtime

While it may still be winter according to the calendar, the recent spate of sunny, warm days has brought Istanbul back life – the streets are abuzz with activity. So now that dreary January is in our rearview mirror (and Istanbulites actually want to leave their homes again), it’s time to take advantage of the city’s superb arts and culture offerings.

Go to church with Hozier


The Irish musician Hozier has won a legion of fans since the release of his first EP, Take Me To Church, in 2013, followed by his eponymous debut album in 2014. His powerful voice shines on soaring tracks that meld blues, gospel and rock, and his beautiful and soulful lyrics will make you hit ‘replay’ again and again. It will be a treat to see him perform at Volkswagen Arena, one of the few indoor venues in Istanbul that is large enough for a star of his stature. 3 March, Volkswagen Arena, tickets available from Biletix

Drool over some precious gemstones

'Jewel Sadberk' at Hanim Museum'Jewel Sadberk' at Hanim Museum

Jewel: Enamelled and Jewelled Objects from the Sadberk Hanım Museum Collection is a feast for the eyes. The exhibition displays some of the best examples of Ottoman jewellery, adorned with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and other precious stones, and other exquisitely crafted enamelled artefacts. The luxury of these impressive objects is heightened by the stately surroundings – the Sadberk Hanım Museum is housed in a 19th-century Ottoman mansion on the shores of the Bosphorus. Until 31 March, Sadberk Hanım Museum, www.sadberkhanimmuzesi.org.tr

Listen to some jazz over a long, leisurely breakfast

sait halim pasha yaliThe Sait Halim Pasha Yalı

The Sait Halim Pasha Yalı, one of the many historical mansions lining the Bosphorus shore, has put a new spin on brunch: they’re offering a side of jazz to go with your menemen. Every Sunday in February (and one cheeky Sunday in March), you’ll be able to feast on all the best components of a Turkish breakfast and listen to some of the best jazz singers Istanbul has to offer, like the vocalist Sibel Köse, whose shows at Nardis Jazz Club are always packed. 7, 14, 21 and 28 February and 13 March, Sait Halim Pasha Yalı, tickets available from Biletix

Watch some of the best films from 2015

speed-sisters-2Speed Sisters

The !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival is celebrating its 15th year with a bang – even more films will be screened this year, including an uptick in Turkish films, and a number of extra events, like talks, workshops and concerts, have been added to the docket. While there are too many films to choose from the documentary Speed Sisters looks particularly appealing. It follows the first all-woman racing car team in the Middle East as they struggle to break into the male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. 18-28 February, Cinemaximum City's Nişantaşı, Cinemaximum Kanyon, Cinemaximum Budak/CKM, Beyoğlu Fitaş, www.ifistanbul.com

Camila-Rocha-Sefatoryum-Istanbul-ModernCamila Rocha Sefatoryum Istanbul Modern

The Istanbul Modern is hosting two exhibitions that explore nature, sustainability and our relationship with the planet. Its current photography show Habitat features the work of 13 young photographers who have varied perspectives on the spaces we live in. The main featured exhibition, Till It’s Gone, also addresses the questions of how humanity interacts with nature. There are a variety of works on display, ranging from paintings, sculptures and installations to photographs and moving images. Yoko Ono’s large-scale installation ‘Ex-it’, which Ono describes as ‘life as a continuation’ is one of the highlights. ‘Habitat’ runs until 22 May, ‘Till It’s Gone’ runs until 5 June, www.istanbulmodern.org

1 Hozier
2 Jewel: Enamelled and Jewelled Objects
3 Jazz at Sait Halim Pasha Yalı
4 Istanbul Modern