Rumeli Hisari Concerts
Held over the summer in the magnificent Rumeli Hisari fortress, the open-air concerts bring some of Turkey's best-loved musicians to the stage. Situated on the European side of the city, the fortress was built in 1451 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II & offers stunning views over the Bosphorus & is a great venue in which to listen to Turkish music.
Themes: Music, History
International Istanbul Jazz Festival
Each year the International Istanbul Jazz Festival treats music lovers to a packed two-week programme of jazz concerts. Taking place in various venues around the city, the festival always attracts large crowds made up of jazz fans from Turkey & beyond. Each year, the festival awards a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' to one of the old jazz masters for their contribution to the world of music. Over the years, the festival has welcomed many jazz legends to the stage with past performers including such greats as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stan Getz, Ornette Coleman & Youssou N'Dour.
Rock n Coke Music Festival
Rock'n Coke is a member of the European Festival Association. Every summer, the Hezarfen Airfield is used as a venue for a 4 day chain of concerts, with both national & international performers featured. Although mainly rock-oriented, Rock'n Coke also hosts other music genres. While the main stage is generally reserved for rock & its subgenres, the DJ Arena (now called Burn Stage) is reserved for styles such as house music. In 2005, the festival grounds were large enough to support two stages, a mini-amusement park, two large food areas, a shopping area, several sponsor attractions, 400 outhouses & a large camp site for people with two-day tickets. The total area used by the festival was around 60 acres.
Themes: Music, Entertainment
Victory Day (Zafer Bayram)
Victory Day is a national holiday that is recognised on 30 August & is celebrated throughout the country. Its origins date back to a battle that began on 26 August 1922 when Greek troops invaded Turkey. The invasion was successfully repelled & the battle ended just four days later on 30 August. Although the day has now lost much of its military significance for the younger generations, it is still a day of national pride on which the country's armed forces lay wreaths at the Ataturk Mausoleum in Istanbul, acknowledging the role Mustafa Kemal Ataturk played in founding the country.
Themes: National History
Istanbul's main arts festival takes place in a variety of historic buildings & venues across the city. The aim since its foundation in 1987 has been to bring together artists from home & abroad to encourage a free exchange of ideas & inspiration. A showcase for contemporary art, the Istanbul Biennial has attracted leading exhibitors such as the British Turner prize winners Gillian Wearing & Gavin Turk.
Themes: Art & Literature, Exhibitions
Ramadan is the Muslim festival of fasting & is the most important festival in the Islamic Calendar which is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. The arrival of the crescent moon in the night sky signals the start of 30 days of fasting during which Muslims don't eat, drink or smoke during the day, eating all their meals before sunrise & after sunset. Consequently, many of Turkey's cafes & coffee shops throng with activity each evening during Ramadan as people catch up with one another & the day's news. Fasting is one of the pillars of the Islamic faith & reminds Muslims of the plight of the poor, sick & needy. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the 30-day fasting period & is a great celebration throughout the Muslim world.
Themes: History, Religion, Culture
Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon
The only intercontinental marathon which starts in Asia & ends in Europe. Open to participants over 18 years old, runners from all over the world are invited to join the Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon which starts from the Anatolian side of Istanbul, crosses the Bosphorus Bridge & ends on the European side of the city. Participants can also opt for a shorter Fun Run & both routes take in some of the most spectacular sites of this stunning city. The night before, participants are invited to attend a Pasta Party at the City Hall.
Themes: Spectacle, Sport, Entertainment
Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayram)
Republic Day is celebrated on 29 October & marks the day in 1923 when Turkey's constitution was changed, freeing it from the grasp of the Ottoman Empire, to become a republic. The day is a national holiday throughout the country & ceremonies & events take place to honour the founder of the republic & the country's first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Themes: National History, Exhibitions
Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayram)
The Feast of the Sacrifice is a religious holiday that is celebrated throughout Turkey & remembers the ram that Abraham sacrificed in place of his son Ismail (Isaac). During the four-day festival, lambs are still traditionally slaughtered & the meat distributed to the poor & needy. This is mostly done in professional abattoirs, but some of the ritual slaughters take place in public places. This is a major public holiday in Turkey & many businesses & shops close during the festival.
Themes: Religion, Food & Drink, History, Entertainment
Mevlana (Seb i Aruz) Whirling Dervishes
Konya & Countrywide, Turkey
The Commemorative Ceremony for Mevlana, the great Sufic saint (1207-1273), is one of the world's greatest spectacles. More than a million people descend on Konya, the ancient Seljuk capital, for the festival of the Whirling Dervishes. At the Mausoleum of Mevlana in Konya, mystical ceremonial dances are performed in honour of the great teacher & thinker.
Themes: Religion, Music, Performance