The 5 essential city festivals in Istanbul

1) IKSV Music Festival

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (which also hosts the renowned Film, Jazz and Theatre Festivals) has brought the world’s most prestigious orchestras, conductors, soloists and dance companies to Istanbul every year since 1973. The New York Philharmonic, Anne- Sophie Mutter and the Bolshoi Ballet are just some of the names.

IKSV Music Festival

Various locations

2) IKSV Istanbul Biennial

Held every two years since 1987 with a curator selected by an international advisory board, the Biennial turns Istanbul into a meeting point between audience and visual art from diverse cultural backgrounds. In the past, art installations have appeared on the streets, and historic private venues were opened to the public as exhibition spaces.

 IKSV Biennial

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3) Fotoistanbul

Turkey’s largest international photography festival, Fotoistanbul is known for its creative exhibition tactics that prefer to present photography out on the streets rather than in galleries. The festival exhibits works from local and international names, from the young to the established, as part of every day life, and open to all viewers.

photograph at Fotoistanbul festival

4) Filmekimi

One of the only opportunities to see independent and art house-style films at select Istanbul cinemas, Filmekimi has consistently brought film festival winners and new productions to the city’s ardent cinephiles. From Godard to Lanthimos, Akın to Wenders, October is all about films.

Filmekimi festival

Various locations

5) Istanbul International Literature Festival

The first and only international literature festival in Turkey, ITEF has hosted more than 400 writers from 48 countries since its inception in 2009. A bookworm paradise, the festival hosts a spectrum of events from panels to spoken word performances to poetry readings and much more at select venues all over the city.

Istanbul International Literature Festival

Various locations

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