Tucked away in the backstreets of Beyoğlu, Garaj is a contemporary performance art space – all exposed concrete and cold lighting. When I found out this place, I thought that it was very different and believe me, i was right. It has a ballsy manifesto, and holds events like performing arts festivals. There was one about dictators and corruption, called “political games”. But these revolutionaries like to have a good time as well. In a neighbourhood mostly occupied by bars and clubs, Garaj lets its hair down with events such as B-Boy competitions and concerts from visiting indie bands. You should check it out.
This huge former warehouse on the shores of the Bosphorus is the most prominent of Istanbul’s contemporary galleries. A permanent exhibition takes visitors through a history of modern Turkish art and there are increasingly important international shows. But you sometimes have to wonder if the main attraction for many is really the restaurant, and its incredible view of our old city across the water. I think it might be…
The main collection consist of Orientalist paintings, old weights and Ottoman tiles, but modern art fans should keep an eye on the Pera’s travelling exhibitions by the likes of Picasso, Botero and Chagal. There was the famous exhibition of Andy Warhol last year, for example. You experience the shows from top to bottom, working your way downwards over several floors of bright, white, well-polished museum space. It is pretty close to a place of style, romance and class and comfort. Yes I am talking about the Victorian hotel building; the famous Pera Palace Hotel. Address: Meşrutiyet Caddesi 65, 34443 Tepebaşi, Beyoğlu Phone: +90 212 334 9900, peramuzesi.org.tr, entrance adult 20₺ ($7,5). Tuesday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday noon-6pm, closed on Mondays