Salt Galata, Istanbul Featured

Explore the trendy, ultra modern art space in Istanbul's Karakoy district


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19 March 2012

Istanbul is one of the most dynamic cities you will find around the World. To live here means witnessing its constant transformation. The waterside neighbourhood of Karaköy – right down the hill from Ä°stiklal Caddesi – has experienced a state of influx for the past five years as artists, galleries, residences and restaurants move away from the hustle-and-bustle of BeyoÄŸlu, opting for a quieter environment. Salt Galata marks a definitive turn in the neighbourhood’s fate as hip Istanbulites flock here to revel in the goods it has to offer within its magnificent structure.

Salt Galata was originally built by Levantine architect Alexandre Vallaury in 1892 to house the first Ottoman Bank of the same name. The building’s architecture is unique in that its frontal façade has many neoclassical elements , as well as neo-Renaissance accents. In contrast, the rear part of the building overlooking the Golden Horn is built with orientalist intentions that feature detailed ornamentation. The difference between the two façades is representative of the historic position of the Ottoman Empire between the East and the West of the era.

Inside, Salt Galata is a glamorous complex that marries art and architecture with research, books and fine-dining. The handsome Italian restaurant Ca’ d’Oro is situated at the rear of the building’s ground floor, serving fine Italian dishes against the backdrop of a genuine Istanbul neighbourhood and the Golden Horn. Right across from Ca’ d’Oro, Istiklal Street’s upscale book store Robinson Crusoe offers a smart selection of Turkish and international art books. Near the entrance, Salt Galata’s own library offers the only public archive of Turkish contemporary artist portfolios – a number one destination for those who need extensive information on the subject.

Perhaps the most curious part of the building lies in the basement: the Ottoman Bank’s old vault room. Not recommended for those faint of heart, the old room is a labyrinth of rooms filled with safes, bank accounts, old banknotes, treasury bills, stocks and other archive material which tell the story of 19th century banking.

Higher floors in the building house temporary contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year. This season, Salt and Van Abbemuseum are collaborating on a series of exhibitions that bring together works from the Van Abbemuseum collection with Salt’s particular interiors. Planned to coincide with the 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands, the project aims to enhance and celebrate the growing cultural exchange between the two countries. The exhibitions consist of works by the likes of Mike Kelley, Douglas Gordon, Paul McCarthy, Juan Muñoz and Gabriel Orozco along with Turkish artists. Drop by Salt Galata for a bite to eat and stick around to explore a fascinating part of Ottoman history through a cutting-edge design space.

Modern art in Istanbul

Istanbul has a wealth of new contemporary art museums and galleries. Be sure to check out our recommendations to see works by local and international artists. Note: all local galleries and museums are closed on Sunday and Monday.

Istanbul Modern
Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi Antrepo 4,
Karaköy, Istanbul
Tel. +90 212 3347 300

Ä°stiklal Caddesi, 211
Beyoğlu, Istanbul
Tel. +90 212 2433 767

MeÅŸrutiyet Caddesi, 67/1
Tepebaşı, Istanbul
Tel. +90 212 2521 896

İstiklal Caddesi Mısır Apt. 163/4
Galatasaray, Istanbul
Tel. +90 212 2498 774

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